Best Octopus' Garden 

Marcia Donahue's Garden

Marcia Donahue's Berkeley garden is no hangout for cephalopods, but, wandering around her backyard, you get the same goofy dazed joy that the Beatles' song inspires. Donahue, a gifted sculptor and an enthusiastic gardener, has traveled widely, and the results of her peregrinations can be seen in the visionary garden she's been creating for thirty years. The plants that called her name include bamboo, kiwi vine, cryptomeria, weeping redwood, and Italian cypress, some more or less natural, some coaxed into fantastic shapes; they are paired with egg-shaped rocks, statues of earth spirits and Buddhas, Chinese anchor stones, tombstones, a large bottle tree (bur glass bottles set high in the branches), and old bowling balls used as humorous retaining walls. Thematically, it's a glorious hodgepodge, but every inch of the place seems both considered yet surprising, and delightfully right — including the chicken pavilion, the koi pond, the tadpole hatchery, and the fanciful metal figures by artist Mark Bulwinkle that perch above, comical tutelary spirits. Most Sundays, 1-5 p.m.; calling ahead is recommended.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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