In the 1920s, Mr. and Mrs. Anson Blake purchased 22 acres north of Berkeley to house them. The garden was the property’s main attraction, and architect Walter Bliss commissioned a construction site to shield the gentle plants from Western sea life.The first plans for the garden were drawn by Mrs. Blake and her sister Mabel Sims.
The garden was split into sectors, each of which had its own terrain and microclimates, freely intertwined paths. Over forty years of work in the garden, Blakes has collected dozens of different species of plants, both local and foreign.
After the death of Edwin Blake in the 1950s, the garden was shrunk to 10.6 acres. After Mrs. Blake’s death in 1962, the garden was transferred to the University for use in the Department of Landscape Architecture. Landscape architect and Professor Knight Scott was assigned to revive the garden, which was eventually reduced. Scott developed a long-term redesign plan and, in collaboration with architect Ron Brocchini, changed the area. The garden continues to be a precious educational resource for the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning as a live facility for nearly 1,500 plant species, as well as guidance on surveying, plant identification, plant design and spatial relationships.