Nepenthe's terrace was once graced with a beautiful old oak tree. It used to be the first thing you saw coming up the ramp through the gardens. It framed the view of the south coast beyond, and made you feel as though the restaurant and its surroundings were one.
An overzealous gardener and too much watering conspired to send the oak tree to an untimely demise.
Sculptor Edmund Kara came to the rescue with his version of the Phoenix Bird, Nepenthe's standard. He found the tree at the bottom of the Mule Canyon creek, and sculpted the bird in one piece, adding legs of bronze.
Aloe Vera were planted around the base adding a touch of fire. On Chinese New Year in 1976, the bird came to land on the base of the old oak tree, where is has roosted ever since.