Kids visiting Berkeley Hort sometimes discover an interesting spot that many adults miss—the big rock at the southwest corner of the nursery. The rock, a chunk of Franciscan sandstone, anchors the roots of a large Monterey Pine that sprouted in the 1930s and is still making welcome shade. Originally, native wildflowers and coastal prairie grasses grew around the rock. When George Budgen purchased the land for the nursery in 1922, the rock was surrounded by pasture plants brought to the Bay Area by settlers from across the globe.

Since 1922, waves of horticultural fashion have swirled around the rock—Fuchsias, Vireya Rhododendrons, Hollywood Junipers, and Camellias, to name a few. Today the rock is a backdrop for the nursery’s ever-changing stock of shade-loving California natives, including Western Sword Fern, Yerba Buena, Redwood Sorrel, Huckleberry and Thimbleberry, etc.

Next time you visit the nursery, consider taking a stroll down to see this veteran of the Mesozoic. It’s just as old as that other Rock in the middle of the Bay, and there’s no escaping that it’s easier to walk to.