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The historic Italianate Garden at Montalvo is situated across from the Villa and its sprawling Great Lawn. A testimony to the legacy of Senator James Phelan, the original design of this Italianate Garden was conceived by gardener George Doeltz with advice from John McLaren, Superintendent of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Dating back to the early 20th century, the Garden Conservancy and  The California Garden and Landscape History Society consider this to be an important historic garden worthy of preservation..

Montalvo Arts Center has long been a place where community has gathered to experience both the extraordinary setting and its arts programs. In coming together to rehabilitate the Italianate Garden, a committed group of Montalvo trustees, community members and volunteers gathered their passion for history and Montalvo to embark upon a collective effort that would be both transformative and inspiring. Forming a Garden Committee to lead their efforts, this dedicated group of people launched a long rehabilitative effort to bring back the original splendor of the garden and preserve it as a setting for visitors, garden enthusiasts, work by Montalvo artists-in-residence, and as an area of natural beauty for the Saratoga community and beyond.

As Montalvo nears the celebration of its centennial in 2012, this beautiful garden is a fitting tribute to the historic and artistic legacy of a California Senator who left the Villa and gardens at Montalvo to the people of California “…to be maintained as a public park … and for the development of art, literature, music, and architecture…"


The Italianate Garden has undergone major rehabilitation in the past few years, and Montalvo has these sponsors, donors, and volunteers to thank for their tireless efforts to help maintain our beautiful landscape.

  • A Growing Concern
  • A. Silvestri Co.
  • Barrie Coate - Certified arborist and horticultural consultant
  • Creekside Landscaping, Menlo Park
  • Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery
  • Foothill College horticultural department
  • Individual volunteers
  • Melissa Thompson - Fine Gardening
  • Nuccio's Nurseries
  • Weeks Roses: for donation of Pillow Fight roses
  • West Coast Tree Care
  • Wheeler Farms, organic compost