The Gardens of Stonepine, Carmel Valley, California

Chateau Noel
Members of the walking tour start their grounds & gardens odyssey at the Chateau Noel entrance gates where they are greeted by “Chess,” a 12 foot bronze replica of a Liberty Horse utilized for commercial filmings at Stonepine Equestrian in the 1990s.

The Entry Gardens
Once through the gates, Tear Drop Olive trees line the right side of the drive way. Camellias, Rhododendriums, Azaleas and Impatiences create a planting tapestry in this elongated garden. Aquarium pea gravel and speckled California granite walls lead to the 1920’s estate house front door, which is flanked by two Rolls Royces; one a classic 1962 Phantom V, the other a more contemporary 1988 Silver Spur.

Olive Trees.

Reflection Pond

40 foot Yew.

Courtyard Viewing Platform

Animal Topiary
This whimsical Topiary is the first garden past a phalinx of hydrangeas on the west side of the Chateau. Here animals that are natural to Carmel Valley are memorialized in Ivy including bear, deer, quail, mountain lion and rabbit. A fanning peacock and a laborious beaver will soon join the eclectic collection. Continuing south on the meandering walkway leads to a truly splendorous discovery.

Zodiac Sculpture

Boxwood Hedges and Ivy Animals

Topiaried Privets & Sentries


Rose Garden
Helen Crocker Russell’s pride and joy was her 1930s Rose Garden of hybrids. Running along the Westside of the manor on an elevated walkway the path passes weeping birch and Ginko specimen trees toward a red and white rose arbour. There a romantic bench allows for a respite while contemplating the human scaled lawn chessboard on the upper lawn.

Rose Arbour.

Birch and Ginkgo.

Rose Beds

Chess Set


Perennial Garden
Turning the corner from the Rose Garden on the South side of the Chateau three tiers of perennial gardens step down under 80 foot high Italian Stone Pines. Agapanthus, Snapdragons, Ichium and Elysium border the back walls of the garden. An antique European Wishing Well and a stone balustrade terminating at a viewing perch featuring a magnificent flowering Crabapple tree provide highlights to the back of the Estate house.

Ichium Flourish

North Italian Wishing Well

Australian Tea Hedge

Forty Foot High Yew Sentries

The Walled Gardens
Venturing between two guardian yews to the Loggia Lawns behind the Chateau, three hidden gardens are yet to be discovered. The Zen Garden complete with a 60 year old Japanese Maple, Bamboo, and strategically placed meditation stone gives way to the Stanton Rose Garden surrounded by four giant 40 foot yews and a “lovers” fountain for the Estates smaller more intimate weddings. Adjacent to this hideaway through a wrought iron gate lies The White Gardens of the Don Quixote Suite with White Roses, Silver-grey Dusty Miller and edible figs.

Don Quixote White Garden

Stanton Rose Garden

Loggia Lawns.

The Zen Meditation Garden

Waterfall Pavilion & Practice Golf Course
Before leaving the back of the Chateau, one should look South across the Stonepine four-hole practice golf course to the Waterfall Pavilion . Two waterfalls connect three ponds creating an idyllic setting for a “Dream Wedding Reception” or a symphony under the stars. A 150 person Mother Teresa Chapel is currently under development just past the forth golf green, with its own St. Francis Sanctuary. The grounds on the golf course perimeter are framed with multi-color Oleander and English Ivy as well as significant stands of Dutch Elms and European Aspens.

Aspen Stand on Golf Course

Waterfall Pavilion

Mother Teresa Chapel

Four Hole Practice Golf

The Wedding Garden
The East side of the Chateau is dominated by the neo-classical Wedding Gardens featuring a Grand Staircase connecting the Wisteria Terrace Patio above to the Cherub of the Swan Fountain below . Pollarded Sycamores line a graveled walkway past a maze of Dwarf Myrtle hedges toward a 1920’s style raised swimming pool ala Hearst Castle. The Magnolia trees, Camellias and Roses by the fountain give way to the Citrus and Olive trees poolside with the European urns and clay pots providing terminus for each plantery experience. Visions of a red carpet runner covered with rose petals and a string quartet playing on the Venetian Suite Balcony make for the idyllic Wedding Vows Celebration.

Magnolias & Camellias

Dwarf Myrtle Hedge

Cherub of the Swan Fountain

Upper Staircase


The Azalea Garden
Central to the Azalea Gardens is the Noel Foundation Statue “Life” designed by Wu Hui Ming, a Chinese sculptress. It symbolizes both the concept of women working together in support of a better world and one woman balancing her many roles in life. This work of art was brought out of Shanghai before the tensions of the cold war ended. It was initially placed in the United Nations New York Statuary Garden in 1992 after a replica was given to Margaret Thatcher at a joint ceremony of UNIFEM and the Noel Foundation. It now has its permanent home at Stonepine, where a multitude of plantings surround the bronze under a canopy of California Oaks. .

Upper Statue Close-up

Path looking back to Stonepines

Landscape Planting Sheds & California Oak

Upper Staircase



Cutting and Vegetable Garden
Every Estate needs a Chef’s Garden to grow its own vegetables, fruits and herbs on property. Tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes and beans intermix with strawberries, cherries, pears and apricots, not to leave out the basil saffron, lavender and rosemary. A three foot high octagonal central platform complete with antique fountain provides a perfect opportunity for a cappuccino or espresso interlude while exploring the serenity of the gardens.

Potting Beds

Cutting for Interior Displays

Chef’s Herbs and Vegetable Garden

Antique Fountain



Destined to be a house for a prized Hawaiian Orchid collection the Greenhouse served as a potting and display facility for citrus trees including Kaffir Lime, Fingered Citron and Grapefruit. It is also utilized for garden tour lectures as well as catered luncheons. Beyond the bronze amillary at the Greenhouse entrance a croquet lawn, formally the Estate Helipad, a Tennis Court, and a Soccer Field offer diversions for the more active Estate quests.

Garden Club Lectures

Croquet Field .

Tennis Court .

Soccer Field


The Fern Garden
Still under development the Fern Garden represents a change of pace from the more sun tolerant planting areas preceding it. The Oak Lawn Canopy on the Northeast side of the Chateau. Just steps away from the Estate garages, workout room and quest bicycle stations can be a welcome cool down location on a hot Carmel Valley afternoon.

Low Fern Garden

Walkway to Garages



The Stone Garden
While most of Chateau Noel Gardens are European by nature the Stone Garden feature drought tolerant plantings more common in California. Goreville's and Breath of Heaven line walkways through pods of Junipers. An eight foot Oleander hedge separates this area from the adjacent Soccer Field

Close-up of Juniper Beds


Tennis Court

Walking Path


Woodland Gardens
The last of the twelve gardens can be reached by passing the entry Reflection Pond with its Stonepine Estate Crest Compass .The Woodland Garden is overflowing with Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Dogwood, Lilacs and Japanese Maples. A short set of stairs takes you back to the Motor Court before returning down the long Stonepine driveway to the entry gates.

Woodland Gardens

Woodland Gardens Path

Stonepine Compass

Gardens by Motor Court

Stonepine Garden Summary
When Gordon and Noel Hentschel purchased Stonepine from the Charles and Alice Russell Estate, then the Double H Ranch, in 1983, they saw it as a life time commitment to preserve its heritage and grandeur. While others have succumbed to subdividing and redevelopment pressures, their family continues to enhance and expand the magnificence of a “one of a kind” opportunity.

150 East Carmel Valley Road
Carmel Valley,California 93924 USA
Telephone: 831.659.2245
Facsimile: 831.659.5160

Photography by Hella Rothwell