While the primary focus of Pacific Horticultural Foundation’s work is the publication of Pacific Horticulture, garden and natural history tours are an important dimension of our mission. Most of our tours are to regions with climates similar to those of the West Coast, and to places where many of our garden plants originate. By comparing and contrasting experiences in our home gardens, we learn a bit more about what gardening means here in the West. Along the way, we expand our community of gardening friends.
On a Waterscapes in Spain tour last June, we saw how water—always a limited resource in southern Europe—has been effectively used in gardens and landscapes from Roman times to the present. A highlight was a visit to Expo, in Zaragoza, which addressed issues of water and sustainable development. With water restrictions just announced for California, the importance of water was much on our minds as we explored the thematic plazas and pavilions of this international exhibition.
Meanwhile, on a Santa Barbara tour, landscape architect and tour leader Chip Sullivan discussed the relationship of the architecture of the gardens to the climate, as he gently guided us in the recording of our observations in pencil, ink, or watercolor.
Gardening under Mediterranean Skies symposia represent another aspect of our mission, with a clear focus on water-conserving plants and gardens. The sixth in the series took place in October 2008 in Monterey, presented in association with the Mediterranean Garden Society. Planning is already underway for the seventh edition, to be held next September in Santa Barbara.
With our new partner, the California Native Plant Society, and the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley, we are finalizing plans for Growing Natives, a two-day symposium in Lafayette and Berkeley in late March 2009. Other programs are continuing with the Garden Conservancy. Through each of these educational programs, we hope to spread the message of responsible gardening in harmony with the climate and the environment.
Katherine Greenberg, president, Pacific Horticultural Foundation