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Bonfante Gardens
By chateaugrief   |   Watch
1K 81 6K (1 Today)
Published: August 22, 2018
© 2018 - 2019 chateaugrief
This is Bonfante Gardens, which I guess is now called Gilroy Gardens. It used to be the employees-only retreat of one of the most employee-centric employers I’ve ever heard about: the Rayley’s supermarket chain Nob Hill Foods (are there any of these stores outside California?). The Bonfante family were (and still are) very keen on giving their employees access to a culture and club of their own…so I believe the Bonfantes started their own union to negotiate against themselves on behalf of their employees, they built a couple of huge indoor swimming pools for them, a gymnasium, baseball fields, events center, parks, a private athletic club, basketball courts, spa, and of course, their own theme park. There’s about 14,000 Rayley’s workers today, and I believe the majority of these listed amenities are still private-access for them. However the theme park proved to be kind of difficult to keep a handle on and the Bonfantes sold it to the City of Gilroy in 2008, hence the name change.  

The crown jewel of the Gardens are the world-famous Circus Trees - which is what you get if Dr. Frankenstein had been a botanist instead of a surgeon. And by ‘Doctor Frankenstein’ I mean his name was ‘Axel Erlandson’. “See the World’s Strangest Trees” he advertised when it was a street sideshow in Scott’s Valley in the 1940’s. Trees with their trunks interwoven like a checkerboard, or two trees growing together as one in an arch, trees with their trunks doing loop-the-loops in swirly designs. This took the art of topiary to a whole different level. There’s a telephone booth tree:  a weird swirly tree: arch tree and square knot tree:  (that’s not actually a square knot he tied it wrong) basket tree:  this kind of nonsense: and what I like to call the ‘what were you thinking tree’:  

He was a man with a unique vision, and once he died, other champions arose to protect the freaky trees from getting bulldozed. They needed to be moved from their location…and who better to take on the challenge than the Bonfantes, who were operating the largest plant nursery in the area at the time. The greengrocers with the green thumbs. Here they are: www.bonfantespecimentrees.com/ 

Xander’s family has a history in Santa Cruz that intersects with the circus trees. That is not at all relevant, but there it is.  
Image size
4000x2667px 1.85 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Software
Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 (Macintosh)
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Comments (81)
xHelloBeautifulx's avatar
Holy, exquisitely sensational! This Wondrous Bonfante Gardens Landscape is stunning and The River looks incredible. The designs, chateau, forest, circus trees, flowers, bushes, brush, leaves, branches, stems, roots, Gilroy gardens, trees, water, ripples, waterfall, reflection, boulders, bridges, gates, tree lights, sky, clouds, wind, gleam, glow, shadows, pathway, terrain, dirt, transparency, realisticness, perspective, atmosphere, textures, hues, composition, concept, uniqueness, lighting, colors, style, and other details are also outstanding. Amazingly Beautiful work! :iconfantasticplz:
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lonermade's avatar
lonermade|Hobbyist Photographer
Another nice painting of interesting place in California. Would be nice if there were more employers that understood the value of their workers as it sounds Bonfantes did. In Michigan there is large family owned grocery/retailer that supports community but I have not heard of them being generous with the employees.
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  I'm not sure how the Bonfantes are pulling this off as a business, but that's what it's looking like.  I've never heard of someone fostering a union to like...unionize against them...before.  They've got money for sure, but how is the whole business structure supported?  Locally you can tell the pieces of property owned by Bonfante family guys though...they're surrounded by impenetrable 60ft high walls & hedges of trees. no gaps. lol.  such green thumbs. :D
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ShcheglovNerefete's avatar
ShcheglovNerefete|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, so this place really exists ? Nice work
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
thank you! It does indeed exist, and I cannot do it justice. It's a beautiful place
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Vixenkiba's avatar
Vixenkiba|Hobbyist General Artist
At first I was going to spontaneously comment "Wow, what a beautiful garden!", and then upon looking closer I noticed all the "Frankenstein" trees xD Now I want to visit the gardens even more! :D

I love this scenery, the light effects are so nice. Especially in the water, and on the tree barks!
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  yes they're all real trees!  what a fun thing to build a theme park around!  
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Sabz0r's avatar
Sabz0r|Hobbyist General Artist
Gorgeous scene ! Heart 
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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LeaWiggins's avatar
A lovely image!  I was especially interested in your description.  Thanks for all the information!  I love trees and found the photos quite whimsical and fun. 
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  I tried to find some more modern photos of the trees...they've grown beautifully, though I guess some have died too.  I hope the gardens are still grafting interesting tree shapes to continue the collection!  
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LeaWiggins's avatar
It would be a wonderful place to visit!  my pleasure!
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Gnoll-El's avatar
Lovely work, but dang, the planned road trip just got longer. :D
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
haha!  It's a great little garden, quiet, no mega-disneyland-corporate vibes at all, just some beautiful parks and greenhouses and some fun little rides.  well worth it.  
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Gnoll-El's avatar
Sounds like my kind of place.  You are a wonderful tour guide for these hidden gems. 
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AimForrest's avatar
AimForrest|Hobbyist Digital Artist
This makes me happy to look at ^v^
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
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AimForrest's avatar
AimForrest|Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome :)
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GokuMartin's avatar
Where is this place?
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
Gilroy California :)
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Ilmu011's avatar
May I use this to create a custom Magic The Gathering card to share it on reddit? You will be fully credited.
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
if it's personal non-commercial use, sure! send me a link to the card when you finish it, I'd love to see.  commercial stuff please buy a license from me...I need to eat and pay rent too!  
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Nokutaan's avatar
Nokutaan|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice. It's got a very chill feel. The small waterfall looks especially nice. aaaah
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chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugrief|Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  
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anonymous's avatar
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