The enormous Blaksley Boulder sits at the symbolic center of the Botanic Garden. The boulder, like the early Garden itself, was dedicated in 1926 as a memorial to Henry Blaksley, our founder’s father. The main structural axis of the Garden’s landscape design is aligned with the boulder. The view north from the Blaksley Library is centered on the boulder, as is the view west from the original entry steps.
The Blaksley Boulder is just one of many huge boulders in the Garden. These boulders are composed of sandstone from the Santa Ynez Mountains. Many wonder how they got here. Amazingly, it seems that they floated here in prehistoric debris flows that likely occur every few thousand years. After torrential rains, and possibly earthquakes trigger massive landslides, the boulders float like corks on top of a high density mixture of water, fine sediment, and rocks. These catastrophic events are recorded in the exposed walls of the canyon where layers of rock and sediment can be seen piled 60 feet high.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California's native plants through
our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices