Cormier's Tree, with its 70,000 Christmas balls, blends with the sky.
The Cornerstone Festival of Gardens, on Highway 121 about five miles south of Sonoma Plaza in Northern California, is the first permanent gallery-style garden exhibit in the United States. It breaks new ground in the field of landscape design. Inspired by work in France, the nine-acre site shows a rotating selection of "avant-gardens" created by an international who's who of landscape architects.
The 15 gardens are on view through next spring and include Blue Tree by Montreal's Claude Cormier. A single pine tree is camouflaged with 70,000 sky-blue Christmas ornaments.
Break Out by Berkeley's Tom Leader draws on rural California culture and features walls of hay, 35 creaking screen doors, and tiny speakers broadcasting distorted fragments of Johnny Cash tunes.
Daisy Border by trendy New York designer Ken Smith tips its straw hat to the traditional by incorporating a daisy border. The catch? The 408 "daisies" are actually multicolored pinwheels that spin giddily in the wind. INFORMATION: (707) 933-3010, www.cornerstonegardens.com .
Photography by Catherine Karnow 
This article was first published in September 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.