Green World All Around Us: New art in the Gardens — the Odyssey of Earthstone

EarthstoneAnnually, as temperatures rise, gardeners lose the ubiquitous gardening spring fever that hits us all in earlier, cooler days of the year. Here at Turtle Bay’s McConnell Botanical Gardens there are other dimensions to thrill the senses besides plants, peace and shade: such as art in the Gardens.

The newest art to grace Turtle Bay’s McConnell Botanical Gardens is the monolithic piece named Earthstone. Earthstone was created by local artist Colleen Barry* and commissioned by patron Lawrence Dillon in honor of his partner Donald Ostreicher, a life-long supporter of the arts. In a whimsical way Earthstone is vaguely reminiscent of Stonehenge and predominately composed of calming earth tones. It is also a lively and completely unexpected piece. The site surrounding Earthstone is planted with California native trees and plants and is on the north edge of the Gardens (see below).

Earthstone map

Earthstone has had a four year odyssey from beginning to the grand opening on June 13th of this year. At the helm of the project was patron Lawrence Dillon, a very creative, ingenious person in his own right. At every step of the way Lawrence’s contagious enthusiasm fueled the project. From first steps, to the perfect placement, to the garden that surrounds Earthstone, to even boulder and signage placement; no detail was unimportant in Lawrence’s eyes.

Earthstone delivery
Delivery of Earthstone with artist Colleen Barry and patron Lawrence Dillon – May, 2014

The Horticulture staff loved working with Lawrence on Earthstone’s garden. In Lawrence we found a compatriot; he understood how important all of the minor details are to the whole garden. Planting (a bit of which will be finished in fall 2015), mulching, irrigation, etc., all crucial elements and all fascinating to not only Horticulture staff and visiting gardeners; but also to Lawrence, a patron of the arts.

Earthstone has had a true odyssey: from first steps, to its regal, but unceremonious journey through the Botanical Gardens, to its garden planning and planting, to its recent grand opening. It was a labor of love by Colleen Barry and Lawrence Dillon and is beloved by everyone here at Turtle Bay.

*Colleen Barry is a world-renown artist who lives and works in Redding. She has created other permanent pieces for Turtle Bay, including: Mosaic Oasis in the Children’s Garden, Frog Island and Slow Turtle Crossing outside the Museum.

Enjoy these two videos from the day Earthstone arrived at Turtle Bay!


Happy gardening and garden enjoyment everyone; from the Horticulture staff here at Turtle Bay!


Email Turtle Bay’s Horticulture department at for more information and/or questions.

Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery:                                                                                                         Drought-tolerant plants, including a selection of California natives and others, are available at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery, now open year-round Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Visit our interactive Nursery inventory list at . Green dot sale on specific plants. Look for the plant signs with green dots for 50% discounts!