Grave of Luther Burbank, Santa Rosa, California

Inspired by Darwin’s Variations of Animals and Planets under Domestication, Luther Burbank began to experiment by growing potatoes. By age 24, he’d developed the Burbank potato, which is the most widely grown potato in the United States. You’ve undoubtedly eaten hundreds as French fries.

Burbank moved to Santa Rosa, California, fifty miles north of San Francisco, in 1875. He opened a nursery, importing plants from Japan and Australia. His goal was to increase the world’s food supply by selectively breeding plants.

On Burbank’s death in 1926 he was buried near his greenhouse on the grounds of his home.  The Cedar of Lebanon tree that stood over his grave was one he had planted in his front yard, intending from the first that it would serve as his grave monument. These trees can live up to 300 years, but this one developed root disease and had to be felled in 1989.

Here’s the Cemetery of the Week on the subject.

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