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The gardens of Corkwood. 

Autumn Skies Landscapes received top honors at the California Landscape Contractors Association’s State Trophy Awards in Scottsdale, Arizona on Nov. 17, where they were awarded the “Best of Show – Stewart J. Sperber Memorial Sweepstakes Trophy Award” for Corkwood, a residential installation in the Napa Valley.

The St. Helena firm owned by Rodney Rose, also won the First Place Award for Lighting for the same project.

Last June, Autumn Skies Landscapes won the Installation Sweepstakes Award for Corkwood, as well as two first- place maintenance awards at the North Coast Chapter CLCA Achievement Awards in Santa Rosa.

In this local chapter, they were competing with landscape contractors from Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. Winning these top awards prompted them to enter Corkwood in the state competition.

The award-winning project, Corkwood, named because the property contains one of the largest cork oak trees in the Napa Valley, was designed by landscape architect Bill Williamson of Seattle, Wash.

“This was the last entry out of 88 that we visited. We figured that we already knew which project had won the top award until we saw Corkwood,” Judge Jay Tripathi said.

“The attention to detail was astounding. We could not find anything wrong with any aspect of this project,” the judges said at the awards dinner in Scottsdale.

The Corkwood gardens boast more than 200 varieties of plants and trees on the property of just over an acre. Other features include a small vegetable garden with boxes made of horizontal form-board concrete; a high-tech greenhouse; a replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth with a free-standing, hand-carved limestone Tryptic of Christ; custom Murano glass religious iconography installed in the hand-hewn stone walls that surround three sides of the property; a contemporary steel water feature with a white marble statue, Reflections, that appears to be floating in contemplation; the sculpture, Crush, on a stone pedestal near a fire pit; another sculpture, Amaryahu with Cat, under a steel arbor by the bocce court; 75 custom Ore planters placed throughout the property; custom-built gates, steel work, and signage by St. Helena metal artist, Chase Alstott, with all areas lit by 176 landscape lights.

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Rodney Rose, owner of Autumn Skies Landscapes, is a lifelong Californian who began his career as an estate gardener in the early 1980s. In 1992, after 7 years as head gardener for the Bohannon Estate in Woodside, he was chosen for the same position at the Rutherford estate, Clos du Montagne, by landscape architect Mai Arbegast. Rose obtained his California State Contractor’s License in 1995 and began working with Arbegast. Rose has worked with several other landscape architects during his 22 years as a Napa Valley contractor, including St. Helena landscape architect, Steve Arns.

“I do a lot of design and installation work in and around the Napa Valley,” Rose said. “Most rewarding, however, is the work I do with landscape architects. I love doing design work, but working with landscape architects and seeing their vision and creativity is so stimulating to me. Over the past 10 years, our company has won 25 awards both for my designs and those of the fabulous architects whose designs I have been privileged to install. These multiple awards are truly a testament to the people on my team as well as the clientele who select us to bring these beautiful landscapes to life.”

To see more from Autumn Skies Landscapes, visit

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