Just As I Thought

Walking into the Sunset

Yesterday, I had an interview for a contract job at Sunset Publishing, which — among other things — publishes Sunset magazine, a kind of lifestyle mag for the west, along the lines of Southern Living. Their various books and magazines focus in equal parts on spectacular houses, amazing grill ideas, and stunning gardens. And they practice what they preach.
Approaching their office from the outside was nothing special — a low building at the corner of a busy street in Menlo Park. But once through the huge wooden doors, things are different. The lobby is a cathedral to western architecture, a cavernous room with terra cotta tiles and huge exposed roof beams, filled with comfortable furniture and Indian art. But the vistor’s gaze is captured by the glass wall opposite the entrance doors: a panoramic view of meticulously maintained, peaceful, and expansive gardens.
These gardens are where the Sunset editors test their gardening ideas before publishing them. It features different areas, each corresponding to zones of the West. Each climate zone garden features ideas and native plants from that zone.
It was renovated in 2000, but still features many of the original plants and trees from it’s founding.
Perhaps most amazing of all, these gardens are open — for free — to the public for self-guided tours between 9am and 4:30pm any workday.
If you’d like to visit the Sunset Gardens, stop by 80 Willow Road in Menlo Park, at the corner of Willow and Middlefield.

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