A Visit to Sandra Jordan's Farmhouse and Gardens
Interior decorator Claudia Juestel visits home furnishing designer Sandra Jordan’s 1916 New-England-style farmhouse in Healdsburg, California, with artichoke and cactus fields, escargot farm, and expansive fruit and flower gardens.
We're running regular posts with inspiration and gardening tips from our advisory board throughout the year. (Check out Frances Palmer's post about planting dahlias and Sarah Ryhan's post about her container cutting garden.)
Garden Design Advisory Board member and interior designer Claudia Juestel visits fabric and home furnishings designer Sandra Jordan’s 1916 New-England-style farmhouse in Healdsburg, California and writes about how she was inspired by Jordan's gardens.
My friend and fellow interior designer Matthew MacCaul Turner and I travelled north from San Francisco to attend a garden party Sandra Jordan hosted for VIDA (Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance), and we arrived fashionably early to leisurely stroll through her wonderful gardens.
Spring seems to have finally arrived in Northern California on this warm sunny day. Jordan may design for the interior, but much of her daily life is spent in her garden. Her garden has manicured lawns, hydrangeas, and bay leaf bushes surrounding the house, as well as an old-growth forest, a hill orchard interspersed with flowers, rose beds, several vegetable patches, and a cactus field.
Living in San Francisco, we really appreciate visiting this little oasis, and we took our time as we made our way through the forest area and across a small bridge leading to a path surrounded by old redwood trees.
I was particularly intrigued by the amazing texture of the bark of this tree. It gave me all kinds of design ideas.
We could not resist some of the delicious gifts this garden has to offer including some peaches from the orchard.
Beds of various flowers are planted in between the various fruit trees.
On our way down towards the barn used as a showroom by Jordan, we passed by another barn, which is used for large dinners and has many amenities including a fireplace, a full kitchen, and a wonderful balsamic vinegar cellar.
The property has many barns for various functions.
The vegetable garden includes giant artichokes, a California favorite.
Sandra says her gardeners kept planting prickly pear cactus, also known as Opuntia, in between her flower beds, so she decided to give them their own space.
The garden’s bounties are both delicious and beautiful, but most importantly the garden also expresses Sandra’s legendary compassion and generosity. She built two factories in her native Peru to expose local talent to the rest of the world and to create jobs, she has also opened her home to countless charities over years, among them the Strybing Arboretum and the Santa Rosa Symphony.
Nature photographer Greg Kareofelas has been studying the butterflies at Sandra’s home. Here, the Battus philenor (pipevine swallowtail), a California butterfly with tropical roots whose only host plant is the Aristolochia californica (California pipevine).
The California pipevine grows around Rhus diversilobum (better known to most people as poison oak). Sandra told us that she has much more fondness for poison oak since discovering this; I so appreciate acquiring new knowledge when visiting a passionate gardener’s home.
The garden provided a beautiful backdrop to an event meant to highlight the important work of a deserving charity. As an interior designer I always feel that one of the most important aspects of a home is its hospitality, and the same goes for a garden. Sandra Jordan’s garden fits that philosophy in every way.