THE “UNDERSTORY” After searching for years for the right nursery in just the right location, I was struck by magic at Sonoma Horticultural Nursery. If you’ve been here, you know what I mean. If you haven’t visited yet, imagine strolling through an enchanted forest filled with rare shade plants, trees, blooming plants, and birdsong. I’m Mike Boss, the new owner of this magical forest nursery. We are a team of horticulturalists and plant enthusiasts devoted to the art and science of growing plants. We also are innovating new programs in edible plants, forest farming, and permaculture. Come by and visit sometime. I look forward to meeting you in person! MEET THE TEAM John Valenzuela is a horticulturist, consultant, and permaculture educator. He studied and practiced tropical permaculture while teaching in Hawaii to children, students, professionals, farmers, displaced sugar workers, owners and renters. He was a lead permaculture design course teacher at the Bullock Family Homestead in Orcas Island, Washington, for 10 years. He has taught in Costa Rica and throughout urban and rural California. His special interests are home gardens, plant propagation, rare fruit, food forests, agroforestry, ethnobotany, and native ecosystems. John has served as the chairperson for the Golden Gate Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers Association. While our name has changed, a few of the faces remain the same. Continuing the Sonoma Horticulture legacy, Armando (pictured above) and co-worker Salvadore have been stewarding the shade plants nursery program for the past 30+ years. Both men planted most of the trees that gradually rose up into this magical forest. They know every square foot of it. BRIEF HISTORY Sonoma Hort goes so far back, it would take a whole website to tell its story. In fact, we keep the old Sonoma Hort site active as a rich archive of plant life resources. In brief, in 1964, Stewart and Audrey Barber created what was known as the Azalea Farm, growing and hybridizing Exbury Azaleas. When Polo de Lorenzo and Warren Smith purchased the nursery in 1976, it consisted of the gardens by the house and the nursery area. At the time, the rest of the property was overgrown with blackberry and weeds. Over the years, the weeds were cleared away and the rest of the acreage planted to become the forest garden that exists today. In 2016, after 50 dedicated years, Polo was ready to pass the “magic wand” to someone with a vision as big as his seven-acre forest nursery. When Mike heard that the nursery was for sale, he wrestled it away from a real estate developer. Mike changed the name to “Hidden Forest Nursery” because that’s what it is! A nursery in a forest, off the beaten path, hidden at the end of a little lane in the Hessel Area of Sebastopol. There are now seven and a half acres of gardens and nursery with more than one and a half miles of pathways to explore and enjoy.