How It All Started
Garden Valley Ranch got its start in the 1880s by Harrison Mecham as a cattle ranch. He was a lieutenant of General Mariano Vallejo. General Vallejo was given a large land grant by the Mexican government for his services and in turn rewarded 4,000 acres to Mr. Mecham. The site now occupied with over 10,000 rose bushes was once the home to one of Mr. Mecham's three daughters, Isabel. A truly ornate three story victorian mansion was built here in 1888, but was ravaged by fire in the early 1980s. Many of the other buildings were saved or rebuilt and preserved to reflect the charm of an age gone by.
Rosarian, author and columnist Ray Reddell, and a group of investors, purchased the property in the 1980's with the intention of using the mansion as a bed and breakfast. After the fire, Ray turned to his passion for roses and began planting field grown cut garden roses for the floral trade. Today, we are one of the only growers in the United States to offer true, natural and chemical free cut garden roses with over 60 varieties including very fragrant English style, extrordinary Hybrid Tea and special Spray roses.
A wedding and event site was added later along with a retail nursery. The nursery specializes in the highest quality bare root (seasonal) and potted roses with usually over 1,000 varieties available year round.
A Working Landmark
Just 32 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Garden Valley Ranch is located in Petaluma, a town unequaled in Northern California for its preservation of pristine Victorian homes and authentic nineteenth century commercial buildings all spared by the 1906 quake. Several of the buildings constructed here at Garden Valley Ranch in the 1880's have earned National Historical Landmark status.
A New Beginning
In early 2005 Mark Grim purchased the gardens from Ray Reddell (who wished to retire). Many exciting changes have taken place under his ownership. One major feature is the new display border, measuring 220 feet long by 14 feet wide, and edged in beautiful local stone. This border contains not only roses, but perennials, shrubs and annuals arranged in color sequence, much like a Gertrude Jekyll-style border; from the cool colors on the ends to hot colors in the center.
Other portions of the grounds included in the tour are a 75-foot pond surrounded by lovely plants. The water containing Koi, Shibunun goldfish and the uncommom Freshwater Smelt is crossed by a restored bridge. Not to be missed is the Fragrant Garden featuring Bay, Yew, and English Boxwood hedges. This garden is filled with enchanting fragrant plants year around. We also offer a woodland garden and Hydrangea border along with the abandoned Petaluma-Santa Rosa rail line. No visit could miss the rose fields! This is truly a sight to behold for rose lovers. The best times to view the roses in bloom is early May through October.