Tour of Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center (continued)

Tour of Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center (continued)

There are two entrances to the park, but only the main entrance on Roscoe Boulevard is open to the public. Be sure not to miss the 700-year-old Oak tree with a circumference of 33 feet at the back entrance on Justice Street near the Dayton Creek bed. Before Mr. Orcutt acquired the property there were beautiful Valley Oaks and Coastal Live Oaks growing tall and thriving among the native California wildlife along with a creek that runs through the property.

Scattered among the trees, citrus groves, and flowers are stone statues, brick walkways, grottos, urns, benches, and stone walls. Quiet contemplation is encouraged with rest areas to sit and admire the true beauty of the area. Adding a finishing touch to the aesthetic quality of the gardens is a graceful Italian marble group of three muses, the focal point of the pergola overlooking the rose garden, the site of many wedding ceremonies today.

It is not difficult to find details that make this park truly original, from the arrowheads embedded in the brick work of the house, a veranda decorated with handmade Mexican tile and Indian peace symbols, and a sundial in the front courtyard. The inscription on the dial reads Carpe Diem, meaning, "Seize the Day." The architect from New York and Mr. Orcutt spent several nights under the stars to set the arm of the dial to point directly at Polaris, the North Star.

Over the years the main house saw many additions. A new front entrance foyer and a sun room were early additions. In 1938 a solarium was built and then a second wing was added to the house. The wine cellar depicted frescoes of the Bavarian Alps with dwarfs gathering grapes and making wine.

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