The weathered stones in the limestone wall that frames this garden were once part of the Cistercian Monastery in Santa Maria de Ovila in Spain.
1188 The monastery was founded, and for over six centuries it dominated its surroundings near the Tagus River 90 miles northeast of Madrid.
1835 The monastery was one of about 900 that were closed by the Spanish government. It was then sold to private owners and fell into disrepair.
1930 With the approval of the Spanish National Art Commission, monastery buildings were bought and disassembled for William Randolph Hearst, the prominent publisher. The stones were marked to aid reconstruction and were shipped to California. Hearst planned to have the stones reassembled as part of a retreat in Shasta County, about 250 miles north of San Francisco. However, the stones were left in a San Francisco warehouse due to Heart's financial setbacks during the Depression.
1941 The city of San Francisco purchased the monastery stones for the cost of storage, with the plan of reassembling them as part of the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The necessary funds could not be raised, and the crates of stones were stored near the museum. Unfortunately, fire and weather erased most of the identifying marks, limiting future plans for reconstruction.
Since the 1960s, Stryling Arboretum has used the stones for walls in many locations such as the Succulent, Fragrance, and California gardens.
2000 The wall of the Liberty Terrace Garden was created from arch stones and decorative column pieces among more regularly shaped blocks. Several stones are placed to show historic markings that were incised by the medieval stone-masons. Geometric incisions were cut as carving guides for fluted column pieces. The salvaged stones contribute a special sense of history to this part of Strybing.