Luther Burbank was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1849. In California, his birthday is celebrated as Arbor Day and trees are planted in his memory. The famed horticulturist made his home in Santa Rosa for more than 50 years and it was here that he conducted plant-breeding experiments that brought him world renown.
One of Burbank's goals was to manipulate the characteristics of plants and thereby increase the world's food supply. Burbank developed an improved spineless cactus which could provide forage for livestock in desert regions. During his career, Burbank introduced more than 800 new varieties of plants -- including over 200 varieties of fruits, many vegetables, nuts and grains, and hundreds of ornamental flowers.
Burbank was a friend of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and both men visited at the Burbank home. It was Burbank's legacy that cast the City of Santa Rosa as the City Designed for Living and inspired the annual Rose Parade which celebrates Burbank's memory and showcases the people and talents of the community.