Continuing Ed: Garden Style

Photo: Tracey Byrne

Photo: Tracey Byrne

Our changing environment—increasingly crowded, mostly urban, and drier—presents unique challenges for West Coast landscapes, and consequently for those of us who tend them. But if I know anything it’s that our gardening community is resourceful.

This issue is ripe-to-bursting with learning opportunities. Read about a community gathering place in San Francisco with hands-on garden classrooms; a vegetable garden in Mendocino that demonstrates how to tend crops in cool coastal conditions and provides an abundant harvest for the neighborhood food pantry; and plantings in a Pacific Northwest park that illustrate a variety of landscapes even new gardeners can tackle, organically, and with little-to-no supplemental water. Even a productive desert landscape on the other side of the world has a message for drought stricken landscapes here in the West.

Busy gardeners looking for solid answers to landscape conundrums or wanting to expand their skill set can now turn to an innovative video learning platform, a social network in support of native bees, or an extensive online plant catalogue. All of which provide accurate information and expert advice that can be accessed at any time, and as they say, on any device.

Curious naturalists open our eyes to butterflies (and flies), a passionate plantsman celebrates all things succulent, and garden artists explore the aesthetic potential of a crumbling stairway, bold planting compositions, and the lyrical consideration of green.

Finally, “Browning of the Greensward” first ran in the Fall 1977 issue of Pacific Horticulture. Published in response to the then-extreme drought conditions in California, author Russ Beatty, an articulate landscape architect and thoughtful educator, offered a historical perspective of California’s climate and encouraged a vision for landscapes in sync with the environment. The piece reads as relevant today as it did nearly 40 years ago.

Some lessons bear repeating.