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About Urban Saratoga Gardening from the Editor:

This web site is dedicated to the many gardeners in Saratoga, California, an area whose agricultural heritage includes everything from commercial trees for logging to French prunes and Paul Mason's wine grapes.

Settlement around Saratoga area of Northern California began in 1848 with the building of a sawmill to process trees harvested from the Santa Cruz mountains. The town was originally called Campbell's Gap, after the founder of the sawmill, then Toll Gate and in 1855 McCarthysville. The sawmill brought industry to the region and soon both a furniture and paper factory, mill and tannery were in operation. And the name changed again to Bank Mills. The town became Saratoga in 1865 after local springs were found to contain similar mineral content as the famous springs of Saratoga Springs in New York. To this day, the two towns are confused (try googling Saratoga) and tourists frequently ask about connection to Saratoga Springs.

As the city grew:

industry in Saratoga gradually gave way to fruit orchards and vineyards. From cherries and apricots to French prunes, Saratoga’s bountiful fruit harvests made it a popular trading post. In 1890, renowned winemaker Paul Masson opened his Mountain Winery in Saratoga, planting French champagne grapes in the rich California soil.

Saratoga’s identity continued to transform throughout the 1900’s, as orchards were replaced by homes and the palatial estates of the valley’s wealthy businessmen and politicians.

The valley’s shift towards suburban and urban living in the years after World War II cemented Saratoga’s status as a residential community and its reputation as an excellent place to live. (from the city of Saratoga web site)

When the city incorporated in 1956, local historian Willys Peck recalls the motto was "Keep it rural," according to the wikipedia article on Saratoga. While there are a few townhouse and condominium projects within Saratoga, most Saratogans have lots above a quarter acre and many areas require a 1 acre minimum lot-size. And these days the Masson's Mountain Winery is still well known, but now as summer destination for music and outdoor concerts. And wine making both commercially and at the hobbyist level flourishes. As a result, a walking tour of Saratoga turns up lovely gardens. And as true of many California residents who've originated elsewhere, they seem to love to get out and dig in the dirt and plant a garden, if only for a few rose bushes or tomatoes each summer. Or if space permits, a row or two of wine grapes.

On this web site, I'd like to share how we Saratoga residents have continued our agricultural heritage in photos, discussion and how to articles. My hope is that other Saratoga residents will share their gardening joys and challenges. And of course, photos are very welcome and can be uploaded via the comments section of the contact page.

So let's get gardening!

Urban Saratoga Gardening Editor