Stroll the grounds and admire the 50 varieties of camellia plants that give our Sonoma Lodging its name, then enjoy a dip in the villa-style swimming pool or lounging on the water’s edge.
Camellias at our Sonoma Lodging
Many of these beautiful camellias were already here and flourishing in our Healdsburg gardens in 1981 when the Lewand family purchased the home to convert to an inn. They were what made the Lewands decide to call it the Camellia Inn. More than 80 plants bloom throughout the winter on the inn’s landscaped grounds.
Sonoma County was home to American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science Luther Burbank. We understand that Luther Burbank knew Dr. Seawell, who lived and worked in the building that is now the Camellia Inn, and that Burbank was responsible for working with the doctor and his wife on the planting of many of the camellias that make up our Healdsburg gardens.
Sonoma Lodging Garden Tour
Enjoy a little journey though our gardens to view and learn more about some of our favorite plants and garden features. When you come to visit, we invite you to take a self-guided Healdsburg garden tour of the gardens. Info tour sheets are available at the inn and a systematic guide to touring the garden is also available here. In the meantime, enjoy a shorter visual journey below.
Starting at the Fish Pond patio, and facing the tree-lined North Street you’ll see our light and airy Evergreen Dogwood on the left. It is a very rare variety. Lucy Lewand’s sister Chris grew it from seed. Also nearby is the old Oriental Magnolia (Tulip Tree). When Dr. Seawell used the home as the town’s first hospital, his patients delighted in seeing the tree’s cheerful blossoms in the spring, it’s an heirloom dating to the 1820s. Crossing over the brick patio to the right are some of the old Camellias at the Camellia Inn planted by the doctor and his wife. The Lewands have added more than 40 additional varieties of camellias since starting the Inn. Many of the later additions were purchased from or donated by the late Jim Smith, a local artist. He tenderly grafted numerous plants. Some are more than 30 years old. The Japanese Maple was added in 1988 as shade for the camellias.
The Goldfish Pond lies in the center of the patio; a focal point and favorite spot for guests. Peek around the water lilies, to glimpse the glittering scales of goldfish. Built in 1927, the tile and frogs are from the famous Rookwood art pottery company in Ohio. This was the first fishpond in town. All the neighbors attended Mrs. Seawell’s grand unveiling party. A Blue Spruce is just in front of the Fish Pond. Close by is the Sasanqua Camellia with its distinctive serrated leaves and small flowers.
Fragrant rose bushes line the sidewalk, blooms are best March to July. Two dogwoods at the sidewalk’s edge greet guests as they arrive. One is a white Western Dogwood and the other a Pink Flowering Dogwood. Towering next to the house is a Cedar of Lebanon tree that stands about 65′ tall. This giant was planted around 1870. To the east side of this giant is a graceful Dwarf Japanese Maple.
Along the east boundary of the property a delicate peony grows and next to them is our Prince Albert Camellia. Mrs. Seawell purchased it in the 1940s from a local nursery. A sun-loving rhododendron garden lies in the middle of the front yard. Smaller azaleas add accent. Growing lavishly on the wooden overhang next to the house is a fragrant white wisteria. To the left of the steps you’ll note a series of pink, white and red Dolores Hope Camellias. They are camellias with exclusively very large blooms (more than 5 inches). variety. They are the most common camellia and are noted for their dense foliage and many different flower shapes.
In the rear of the inn, the pool area is surrounded by stunning flower gardens and trees including a pomegranate tree, lilacs, wisteria, and two tall oaks. Next to the pool there is a grand crape myrtle and spectacular azaleas lining the fence. Surrounding the pool are bountiful displays of roses and camellias. Looking across from the pool you’ll see trumpet vines creating a beautiful backdrop. Tuberous begonias, and ferns also grow along the pool wall, as well as a dwarf navel oranges and apple trees.