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Garden Design:You moved to the West Coast 30 years ago with the plan to stay just a few years. What happened?
Andrea Cochran: When I first came here, someone asked what I did and it was the first time I had ever told anybody I was a landscape architect when they didn’t say, “My holly bush has dots on the leaves.” I didn’t have to explain that I design gardens; I’m not a horticulturist. This was the culture of Thomas Church and Sunset magazine, where people could name a landscape architect. Coming to the Bay Area was very freeing; I realized I’m able to do more here. I don’t think it’s an accident that Silicon Valley or Berkeley in the ’60s happened in California. There is a culture of innovation here. Combine that with a climate where everything grows and where people spend a lot of their time outside: They’re invested emotionally in their landscape.
Left: Cochran’s ability to blur the line between natural and man-made environments is evident at Stone Edge Farm, a Sonoma residence, olive grove, winery, and garden.