Silver Lake

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.

Silver Lake in the High Sierra was the inspiration for Mr. Hand's garden in El Cerrito. 52 miles east of Jackson on Highway 88, on the Kit Carson Immigrant Trail, this was Mr. Hand's favorite place in nature, the "most thrilling, intimate, and puzzling space" he had ever experienced. He described the lake as "a deep blue arabesque sunk in swirling masses of pale gray granite. By the lake were granite-floored 'rooms' with shelves, benches, and boulders from which sprung trees gnarled by the alpine winds. Shrubs and flowers crept between the granite slabs, forming natural rock gardens."

Sierran Inspiration by Pamela Harper. Reprinted by permission of American Horticulturist, June 1986

Courtesy Jonathan Wright

Harland Hand at Silver Lake - courtesy Pamela Harper