Meetings are on the second Monday of the month from 6 to 8:30 PM in the Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Meetings are free for SDHS members and $15 for non-members. Parking is free.

Upcoming Meetings

    • Mon, May 09, 2016
    • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

    Dennis Cathart
    Bromeliads in the Wild   

    Join us for an overview of what bromeliads are, how and where they live and a better understanding of how we can use them in our gardens and conservatories.

    Bromeliads are found only in the New World and occur in the U.S. from Virginia along the coast to Texas and in all other countries from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean and even the Galapagos Islands.  Extremely adaptable; bromeliads fill nearly every niche over their range and from sea level to above 12,000 feet.  The greatest majority of bromeliad species occur in the tropics, however they also occur in sub-tropical areas such as Florida where there are 23 different species.  Bromeliads sizes vary from under an inch to over a ton and 25 feet tall.  They live in sun, shade, rainless deserts, cloud forests and some are even rheophytes; plants that live part of their lives in or under water!  Amazing diversity of plant forms (think Pineapple and Spanish Moss, both are bromeliads!) and seemingly limitless adaptations to special habitats make bromeliads fascinating to study and beautiful to look at. 

    Bromeliads are key elements in their natural environments and serve many functions in the natural ecology of a region.  Many provide water storage where animals can live or breed or find water to drink in areas well above ground level.  Some provide shelter for many creatures and some provide food sources.  A number of animal species are endemic to the tanks of bromeliads and even a few other plant species are only found growing in bromeliads.  There are several species of plants which require the tanks of bromeliads in which to germinate their seeds and their survival is dependent upon them. 
    Our speaker, Dennis Cathart of Tropiflora Nursery, started Tropiflora in the early '70s as an outgrowth of a bromeliad collecting hobby. A "hobby gone bad" he says. Following years of collecting reptiles and traveling the Caribbean and Latin America, he discovered bromeliads or they discovered him and the direction of his life was changed forever. Collecting and exploring in the plant world were always his first interests and over the years he has visited over 25 countries on more than 100 trips and expeditions. With his partner, Linda, together they have made travel, adventure, plant exploring, speaking, writing and the nursery business a way of life. He and Linda are now passing their passion for plants on to their children, to take Tropiflora into the second generation.

    Doors open at 6 PM.  Shop our vendors, renew your membership, check out the plant forum table or mingle.

    The presentation starts at 6:45

    Members free
    Guests $15
    Parking free for everyone

    • Mon, June 13, 2016
    • 5:30 PM - 7:45 PM
    • Garden Show the San Diego County Fair. Park in main lot and follow the signs to the entrance.

    Horticulturalist of the Year Presentation
    Night at the Fair 

    Join us at the San Diego County Fair Flower and Garden Show stage to honor SDHS 2016 Horticulturist of the Year, San Diego Zoo Horticulture Department - past and present

    Society members have exclusive access to the San Diego County Fair Flower Garden Show exhibits to enjoy the display gardens created by some of our finest local garden professionals. 

    Playing off the theme for the Garden Show theme, Wonderland, the SDHS waterwise exhibit is a tribute to Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.  

    With a climate and geography that mirror that of Southern California, the garden will feature the Wonderland plants that originate in South Africa. San Diego is at the 33° N latitude, whereas the Cape of Good Home in South Africa is at the 34° S latitude and mirrors our location in the Southern Hemisphere.  Like Southern California the climate and terrain are similar with a strong maritime influence at the coast with hills, mountains and plains and deserts inland.  The climate is that of the Mediterranean with wet winters and hot, dry summers.  And like our own chaparral plant community, South Africa has evolved a similar shrubland community called fynbos.  While the chaparral and fynbos plant communities have evolved to succeed in similar climates, the individual plants are entirely different. The fynbos biome, which makes up the majority of the area and plant life in the Cape floristic region, one of the six global floral kingdoms, is located in a region of the Western Cape and contains more than 9,000 of those species, making it among the richest regions on earth in terms of plant diversity.

    Californians have become some accustom to growing many plants from this region that so easily adapt to Southern California but many are unaware of their South African origins.  Our garden will showcase the Wonderland of plants from South Africa that homeowners can so easily grow in Southern California put together in colorful and inspiring garden setting.  


      Our exhibit is sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority. SDCWA also sponsored our gardens in 2011, 2013 , 2014 and 2015. We are grateful for their financial support, and for the opportunity to help educate San Diego homeowners that low water gardens can be both functional and beautiful.
        Check out their WaterSmart webpages to learn how to conserve water in your home.
    • No Host Bar
    • Free celebratory cake for everyone!

    The presentation starts at Garden Show Stage at 6:00

    Members free 
    Guests $15 - Pay at checkin
    Parking free for everyone

    • Mon, July 11, 2016
    • 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    • San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park
    Registration is closed

    A Very Special Event- Celebrating 100 Years
    Horticultural Evening at the San Diego Zoo     

    Save the date! You won't want to miss this special evening with the Horticultural Society at the San Diego Zoo.

    The zoo celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.  The zoo has become world famous not only for the animals but also its outstanding plant collections and gardens.  So much so, that the San Diego Horticultural Society has named the past and present horticulturists at the zoo as their Horticulturist of the year. 

    Highlights of the evening:

    • 20% off zoo entrance tickets. 
      • Event registration required to receive discount coupon via email.  
      • Coupon is valid for online purchase July 1 to July 11 and at the zoo ticket booth on July 11.
      • You may purchase up to 6 tickets.  
      • Tickets purchased are good for one year after purchase date.
    • Free (with advance registration) 35 minute long horticulture bus tours of zoo's botanical collections.
      • When registering select bus tour time, 5:30 or 6:00. 
      • If you are a zoo member, registration is still required for the bus tours.
      • If you are bringing a guest, please include them as guests when you register for a bus tour.
    • Meet and greet the horticulturists and tour the zoo botanical nursery and orchid house. They will also be located at the plant collections and themed gardens to answer questions.
    • Self-guided tours of the San Diego Zoo's spectacular gardens and plant collections any time you choose.
    • Click here to download brochures of the various gardens and botanical collections.  Printed brochures will also be available at the SDHS check-in desk.

    Event registration opens after June 1st. 

    Register to receive 20% zoo discount coupon via email and reserve your spot on one of the free bus tours. 

    Check-in for SDHS attendees to the south (left) of the main entrance gate from 5 to 7:30 PM.  If you registered for a bus tour, pick up your pass at the registration desk. However, you may come earlier in the day and enjoy the zoo at your own pace before the evening activities. Zoo closes at 9 PM.

Past Meetings

Mon, April 11, 2016 April - Perspective, Forty Years Among the Natives
Mon, March 14, 2016 March - Botanical Collection at the San Diego Zoo
Mon, February 08, 2016 February - Think Outside the Box: Thirty Design and Horticultural Techniques
Mon, January 11, 2016 January - Contemporary, Expressive and Sustainable Southwestern Gardens
Mon, December 14, 2015 December - Waterwise Lessons from theGarden
Mon, November 09, 2015 November - Designer Panel: Small is Beautiful
Mon, October 12, 2015 October - Hot Colors, Dry Garden
Mon, September 14, 2015 September - Refresh Your Garden Design
Mon, August 10, 2015 August - The Ecology of California Garden Bees
Mon, July 13, 2015 July - Rush to Restios
Mon, June 08, 2015 June - Night at the Fair
Mon, May 11, 2015 May - Palms for San Diego
Mon, April 13, 2015 April - Jon Rebman
Mon, March 09, 2015 March- Eucalyptus: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Mon, February 09, 2015 February- Plants with Benefits
Mon, January 12, 2015 January - Under the Spell of Succulents
Mon, December 08, 2014 December - Centennial Celebrations: Remembering and Commemorating the 1915 Panama-California Exposition
Mon, November 10, 2014 November - Holiday Marketplace
Mon, October 13, 2014 October - Lawn Gone: Landscape Designer Panel
Mon, September 08, 2014 September - Randy Baldwin of San Marcos Growers
Mon, August 11, 2014 August Meeting - Creating Paradise Wherever You Live
Mon, July 14, 2014 July Meeting - Scent-sational Plumeria
Mon, June 09, 2014 June Meeting - Night at the Fair
Mon, May 12, 2014 May Meeting - Stuck on You! Indoor and Outdoor Projects with Succulents
Mon, April 14, 2014 April Meeting - Oaks of San Diego County
Mon, March 10, 2014 March Meeting - Tried and True or Brand New: Citrus in Today’s Gardens
Mon, February 10, 2014 February Meeting - The Wild World of Succulents
Mon, January 13, 2014 January Meeting - Native Plants of Chile
Mon, December 09, 2013 December Meeting - The Drunken Botanist
Mon, November 11, 2013 November Meeting - Holiday Marketplace
Mon, October 14, 2013 October Meeting - Trends in Contemporary Landscape Design
Mon, September 09, 2013 September Meeting - Right Plant for the Right Place
Mon, August 12, 2013 August Meeting - Drip is Hip
Mon, July 08, 2013 July Meeting - Succulents Simplified
Mon, June 24, 2013 June Meeting - Night at the Fair
Mon, May 13, 2013 May Meeting - Seriously Funny - The Business of Plants
Mon, April 08, 2013 April Meeting - Writing the Book on Natives
Mon, March 11, 2013 March Meeting - Growing on Air: Amazing Tillandsias
Mon, February 11, 2013 February Meeting - The Future of Roses in Today's Gardens
Mon, January 14, 2013 January Meeting - Exotic Bulbs for Southern California
Mon, December 10, 2012 December Meeting - Bring me Slow Flowers
Mon, November 12, 2012 November Meeting - The Edible Front Yard - Special Meeting!
Mon, October 08, 2012 October Meeting - A Californian's Guide to the Trees among Us
Mon, September 10, 2012 September Meeting - Welcome to Club Med
Mon, August 13, 2012 August Meeting - The Revolutionary Yardscape
Mon, July 09, 2012 July Meeting - Not Just for Show
Mon, June 11, 2012 June Meeting - Night at the Fair
Mon, May 14, 2012 May Meeting - Small is the New Big
Mon, April 09, 2012 April Meeting - Fitting CA Native Plants in CA-style Gardens
Mon, March 12, 2012 March Meeting - From Seed to Skillet
Mon, February 13, 2012 February Meeting - Trees of Ill Repute
Mon, January 09, 2012 January Meeting - A Rollicking Trip into the World of Cactus and Succulents
 Our Mission  To inspire and educate the people of San Diego County to grow and enjoy plants, and to create beautiful, environmentally responsible gardens and landscapes.

Our Vision  To champion regionally appropriate horticulture in San Diego County.


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