Sonoma County Bucket List – Cornerstone Sonoma

One of the goals of the blog was to inspire me to ramp up my exploration of the North Bay and to be able to put check marks next to the items on my Sonoma County “bucket list.” Stopping at Cornerstone Sonoma had been on the list for some time (Ok, years to be exact). My excuse is that I’m always anxious to get to the cottage, so stops are not usually on my agenda.

I’m paraphrasing here, but many years ago there was an intriguing sign in front of what is now Cornerstone that read, “Soon, you won’t just drive by.” My “soon” took several years, but I did recently stop in at Cornerstone and was delighted by its nine acres of gardens, shops, food and endless inspiration.

One of my favorite areas at Cornerstone Sonoma was a flower garden in the center of the property and I initially wandered into the space drawn to the colors and to the composition of the plants.  I immediately found myself enthralled by the spontaneous, but almost seemingly choreographed, dance of hundreds of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds dipping in and out of the petals. I was reminded of “the waltz of the flowers” orchestra piece by Tchaikovsky in the Nutcracker ballet. The difference is that I was watching music with my eyes instead of hearing it.

My foray into blogging has included many undeniable synchronicities or “meaningful coincidences” that I interpret as signs to keep exploring, writing about and sharing Sonoma County with others. One example was having two people in the same week tell me that I had to learn about world class garden designer Kate Frey. Both insisted that I blog about her gardening style and her many successes, including winning multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in England. Just as I finally stopped to take some photos of this breathtaking garden, this is the sign I saw:

Kate Frey Pollinator Garden sign at Cornerstone Sonoma
Kate Frey Pollinator Garden Sign at Cornerstone Sonoma – Synchronicity!

Kate Frey’s website says that she aims for gardens with “a profusion of flowers filled with the busy forms of insects and birds… vibrant spaces that express joy to the viewer.” What an incredibly perfect description of what Ms. Frey has accomplished at Cornerstone! Bravo!

Kate Frey Pollinator Garden at Cornerstone Sonoma
Kate Frey Pollinator Garden at Cornerstone Sonoma
Another view of the Kate Frey Flower Garden at Cornerstone Sonoma
Another view of the Kate Frey Flower Garden at Cornerstone Sonoma

Another enchanting exhibit was “Bai Yun” or “white cloud” by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot of Cao Perrot Studio. The “clouds” in this installation are the juxtaposition of simple chicken wire forms paired with thousands of sparkly, light-reflecting crystals. The clearest blue sky imaginable made the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous clouds as you can see here:

Cao Perrot Clouds at Cornerstone Sonoma
Cao Perrot Clouds at Cornerstone Sonoma with a backdrop of vineyards
Cao Perrot Clouds at Cornerstone Sonoma Up Close!
Cao Perrot Clouds at Cornerstone Sonoma Up Close

Looking through my photos from our few hours at Cornerstone it’s clear that a second post is needed to highlight the many other charming sights and vignettes. I’ll leave you with two more photos but stay tuned for Cornerstone Sonoma, Part Two.

The gardens and art installations do change and evolve – so be prepared to see new sights when you visit!

Kate Frey Garden with Barn and Sonoma Hills in the Background
Kate Frey Garden with Barn and Sonoma Hills in the Background

 

Cornerstone Sonoma Whimsical Wind Spinners
Cornerstone Sonoma Whimsical Wind Spinners

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2 thoughts on “Sonoma County Bucket List – Cornerstone Sonoma

  1. I love hearing about new things to see in Sonoma and I was especially intrigued by your photographs — which, by the way, are beautifully composed. I wish my garden looked like Kate Frey’s!

    1. Every garden should look like Kate Frey’s! Even those who are terrified of bees would have nothing to worry about – you could walk right up to the bees and the hummingbirds and they were so drawn to the plants that you knew they weren’t interested in people. I have many more great photos of Cornerstone so another post is in the works! Thanks for reading, Paula!

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