Big Boulder Island

Harland Hand [1922-1998], inspired by the principles of fine art and rock formations in the High Sierra, designed this hillside garden with breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay.

Using concrete, curving lines and dramatic color combinations, Hand created an emotionally evocative space that houses an extraordinary plant collection.

A large boulder with three ponds around it holding hundreds of plants, this rock out-cropping is serpentinite, the California state rock. In the winter, huge sprays of white cymbidiums sprout from the boulder and turn it into a giant wedding cake. In the summer, the sun sets through the red foliage of maples and Cotinus 'Grace.'

At the bottom of the Dry River, a small pond marks the start of Big Boulder Island