Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. Old Palo Alto, California

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is a historic home and garden located in old Palo Alto, California. The story of how this lovely home became a historic home and garden can be credited to Ms. Elizabeth Gamble who lived in Palo Alto with her family.

Elizabeth’s family – the Gamble family moved to Palo Alto back in 1902 and had four children:  James, George, Elizabeth Frances, and Launcelot.  Palo Alto at that time was a little town with a population of a mere 3000.  One of the kids Elizabeth, decided after college to spend the remainder of her life in the Gamble family home on Waverley Street in Palo Alto.


Here she cultivated her gardens which became well known throughout the community, and she shared it generously with everyone.  Elizabeth Gamble eventually gave the estate to the city of Palo Alto with the stipulation that she and her brother George could live there throughout their lives. George died in 1972 and Elizabeth died in 1981 at the age of 92.  Since then the city of Palo Alto has maintained the gardens and home as a free public garden for the community.


This beautiful garden is a wonderful representation of California cottage gardening at its best. It has everything a garden can boast about.  There is a vegetable garden, there are beds of iris, digitalis, roses, native California plants and grasses, wildflowers, and even a beautiful gazebo for some respite from the hot California sun.




With plenty of walkways that lead you in various directions in the garden, this is the type of nature walk one can happily and leisurely explore.



Little water features near the main house with boxwood hedges give the area closer to the home a more formal feel, while the main gardens are more carefree in nature.



Benches placed here and there invite people to sit and relax and enjoy the beauty of nature at this gem of a garden.



When I was strolling through the garden I came across the most unusual and spectacular plant the last time that I was here.  A gorgeous dark pink flower as tall as 7 feet!  It was covered in honeybees that were enjoying the nectar.

When I showed this picture to Hitesh he asked me what the name of the plant was.  Luckily I took a photo of the plant tag too 🙂  It’s called Echium wildpretti “Tower of Jewels.”

Annie’s Annuals

The pictures I saw on the web of this flower were stunning!  This is one gorgeous flower.  According to Annie’s Annuals this is a biannual flower that can grow up to 8ft.  This flower self sows and multiplies, and is drought tolerant.  Perfect for our west coast climate!

Tower of Jewels

Over 300 volunteers maintain the Gamble garden.  Many of them are senior citizens who love gardening and are eager to share their knowledge of garden know-how with visitors.

What I really love about the Gamble Garden is how approachable it is.  It’s not a stately mansion with grand grounds, but rather a more informal garden with touches of elegance.



The plants in the Gamble Garden are mostly California natives, and regular flowers and plants that you can find at your local nursery. This makes the entire experience of exploring the Gamble Gardens more relateable.  You get a pretty good idea of what is possible in your own backyard.


The Gamble Garden is part of an old Palo Alto neighborhood where homes are swank and elegant, and their gardens are just as exquisite.  Homes here range in architecture from Tudor, to Modern, to California Mission, to Italian, and other unique architectural styles. What all these homes have in common is character.  Each home is tasteful in design, and their gardens reflect this.




This quaint neighborhood is lined with beautiful mature trees, and even the sidewalks are covered in roses and all sorts of fun and interesting plants.




Where homes have gates and fences, these features are unique and eclectic adding to the charm of this old neighborhood.

In this exclusive enclave, The Gamble Garden and the surrounding community host a Spring Tour of select gardens in the area.  Every year on one weekend in April a few homes open their gardens to the public.  The Gamble Garden has successfully hosted this Spring Tour for over 34 years.  All proceeds from this event go back to support and maintain this historic home and garden.  Gamble Garden 2017 Spring Garden Tour

This year’s Spring Garden Tour of 5 private gardens in Palo Alto occurs on Friday, April 28 & Saturday, April 29th.  For more information and to purchase tickets for this event take a look at this link  Gamble Garden 2017 Spring Garden Tour.

If you are in Palo Alto and have an hour to spare, stop by the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in this lovely nook of Old Palo Alto.


For more information on Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden here is the link to their web site. Gamble Garden


3 thoughts on “Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. Old Palo Alto, California”

  1. I have been to this place couple of years ago. It is beautiful! And it is maintained by volunteers. Like you said the neighborhood is beautiful.
    The houses have character. I used to go for walks there.
    Have to go again sometime.

  2. great post, kalpana – it’s such a beautiful garden and your photos are gorgeous! looking forward to seeing what’s in store for next week’s tour 🙂

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