The House of Flowers landscape bridges the Russian River Valley location and the Flowers vineyards along the rugged bluffs of the Sonoma Coast, where the story of Flowers Winery itself originates. The landscape embodies the distinct iconic California ecologies of this transect, native plant communities that have evolved to respond to specific micro-climates prescribed by elevation, soils, humidity, and other environmental factors between these two geographic points. This transitional journey inland is re-imagined in the tiered planting strategies – Redwood Grove, Oak Woodland, and Chaparral environments, with the low-lying vineyard landscape and riparian corridor framing the vibrant cultivated flower garden at the heart of the House of Flowers.
Coming into the project, the Landscape Architects were inspired by the existing qualities of the site, including mature Redwood trees, rammed earth walls forming a terraced descent towards the valley, and the striking views across the site. From this point, the design team was motivated to not only preserve these elements, but to celebrate and highlight them, and seamlessly integrate new site elements.
Arriving on site, visitors are greeted by towering mature Redwood trees in the grove. The surrounding planting scheme augments the scale of the Redwoods with a native understory shrub layer of Rhododendron occidentale ‘Irene Kolter’, Ribes sanguineum, and Woodwardia fimbriata, and woodland groundcover of Huechera ‘Rosada’, Polystichum munitum and Oxalis oregana. From there, visitors approach the Upper Terrace, anchored by the pavilion and movable seating area under the shade of three large Valley oak trees. The planting of the Upper Terrace references the surrounding Oak grassland habitat, with two dozen mixed oak species providing structure and shade over a ground cover of mixed grasses (Muhlenbergia dubia, Muhlenbergia rigens, Carex pansa). Beyond, the cultivated garden is designed as a tapestry of flowering perennials, intended to be viewed from the Upper Terrace above and explored on paths of crushed stone paths. This garden is bound by the existing rammed earth wall to the north, and a Teuchrium hedge to the south.
Throughout these distinct experiences on site, regional shrubs – including Rhamnus californica, Arctotaphylos, Carpenteria californica, and Ceanothus – reenforce the structure provided by a series of rammed earth and concrete walls. This approach creates a series of intimate tasting rooms throughout the site, that allow for diverse range of experiences related to the adjacent plant communities. A series of water features and rills runs throughout the rooms, guiding the visitor’s journey and providing a dynamic element to the otherwise serene environment. From each terrace, a view of the agrarian valley beyond reenforces the productive narrative underpinning the winery. Sustainable agricultural practices are carried through the landscape design through a strategic plant palette that supports pollinator species and the utilization of low-impact maintenance strategies.
Architecture offices involved in the design: Walker Warner Architects
Project location: 4035 Westside Road, Healdsburg, California 95448, United States
Design year: 2016 – 2019
Year Built: 2019