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, February 08, 2016
    • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

    Dave Ericson
    Think Outside the Box: Thirty Design and Horticultural Techniques for Creating Perfect Pairing, Focal Points and More…

    Dave Ericson, horticulturist, landscape designer and mentor, shares his experiences designing creative landscapes throughout Southern California for over 40 years.

    Thinking outside the box will be the primary focus of Dave’s presentation. Drawing from his lifelong experience in landscaping and gardening, Dave will present thirty different design and horticultural techniques, covering topics ranging from irrigation and drainage design to advanced design and maintenance techniques. 

    Dave attended Cal Poly Pomona where he studied Ornamental Horticulture. He has been self-employed in gardening and landscaping since the age of 10, from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and says, “My hobby is gardening, my future is gardening, and I expect to die in the garden where my ashes will be spread.” His mentor was Chuck Kline, former Director of Horticulture at SeaWorld, where he and Dave spent many days walking the gardens. Dave feels one of his greatest contributions to horticulture is, in turn, mentoring many others in the business. He recently shared his knowledge in a popular San Diego Horticultural Society workshop. For the past two years, gardens he designed have been included in the Garden of the Year issue published by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine. He now lives in Canyon Lake, near Temecula.

    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, March 14, 2016
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

    Stephanie Shigematsu, Danny Simpson, Christy Powell  & Michael Letzring
    100 Years of Zoo Horticulture 


    Don’t miss this special presentation by the San Diego Zoo Horticulture team on 100 years of zoo horticulture.

    They will discuss the many landscape changes and developments in the last century that contributed to the San Diego Zoo being named in 2015 the number one zoo in the world by the TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Awards!

    The presentation showcases the significant horticulture events, starting in 1916 with the founder  Dr. Harry Wegeforth's dream to create "a capacious sylvan zoo with a luxuriant growth of trees" to today's accredited horticulture collections and far reaching conservation efforts.  The speakers explore the zoo’s early history, significant horticulture events, showcase the extensive plant collections, the critical browse program (growing plants for animal health and welfare), and review their involvement in international plant collaborations and conservation efforts, illustrating how the San Diego Zoo still flourishes after 100 years.

    The evening’s speakers:

    Stephanie Shigematsu, San Diego Zoo Curator of Horticulture

    Stephanie has over 35 years of professional horticulture experience. For 18 years she was the director of horticulture at SeaWorld before joining the horticulture management team at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2012. In January 2015 she became the curator of horticulture at the San Diego Zoo. Of the numerous projects and garden installations she has been involved with, she is pleased to have been part of the Tull Family Tiger Trail project team at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park; an outstanding immersive exhibit that won the Association of Zoos and Aquarium top awards in 2015. Stephanie's passion for learning about plants and native habitats, designing natural settings, and implementing conservation plans was first inspired by her dear friend and early mentor Chuck Kline, the first SDHS Horticulturist of the Year recipient.

    Danny Simpson, San Diego Zoo Horticulture Manager

    Dan began working at the San Diego Zoo in 1971. Starting as a tree trimmer he climbed and pruned the zoo’s big trees and also salvaged useful limb materials for exhibit use. Currently, he is an ISA certified arborist and a manager in the Horticulture Department. He oversees a four person tree crew and an eight person crew of horticulturists who produce tons of dietary foliage per week to support the zoological collections. During his long career he has consulted and traveled to a variety of countries for a variety of zoo related assignments. He is an author and contributor of many articles and photos to Zoonooz Magazine. Dan has served on the Professional Tree Care Association Board since the 1990's, has served several terms on the City of San Diego Community Forest Advisory Board, and was an adjunct faculty member of Cuyamaca Community College for over 20 years, teaching arboriculture and related horticultural fields.

    Michael Letzring, San Diego Zoo Senior Plant Propagator

    Michael G. Letzring, born and raised in San Diego,  graduated from Mesa College with a degree in ornamental horticulture.  He has been pursuing this career with a passion since 1981, first as a foreman on commercial projects, then as owner of his own landscape business, and later in various leadership roles at the San Diego Zoo since 1996. As a collection specialist and Senior Plant Propagator, Mike has become an expert in Hawaiian native plants, Erythrina, cycads, palms, Madagascar plants, caudiciforms and other succulents, and many other plants and accredited collections at the Zoo. His fervor for unique plants and naturalist displays that best showcase our conservation efforts is evident in many areas of the Zoo.

    Christy Powell, San Diego Zoo Horticulture Manager

    Christy Powell began her career as a plant propagator at the San Diego Zoo in 2002. In that role, Christy was responsible for diversifying and broadening the Zoo's botanical collection and browse program by employing multiple methods of propagation.  In 2007, she became focused on Erythrina species (coral trees) and became the specialist for that collection. Christy was promoted to Horticulture Supervisor in 2015 where she oversees nursery and propagation operations, botanical records and collections, pest control and special events. She is a certified Zoo Horticulturist and has been involved in the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH) for 9 years, serving as the Chair of the AZH Conservation Committee. Christy has participated in multiple facets of conservation science including micropropagation, seed collection and storage, plant care, recording keeping, DNA barcoding, importation /exportation, collection management and field conservation projects in California, Hawaii, and Palau. Christy received her BS in Horticulture Science from Purdue University, and her MS in Agricultural & Extension Education also from Purdue.

    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

    Please note that this outstanding presentation will run a bit longer than our normal program.

    Members free
    Guests $15
    Parking free for everyone

    • Mon, April 11, 2016
    • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

    David Fross
    Perspective, Forty Years Among the Natives      


    Our speaker, David Fross,  is founder and President of Native Sons Wholesale Nursery, specializing in plants from Mediterranean regions of the world that flourish in a climate defined by moderate winter rainfall and warm dry summers.

    The perception of native plants has seen remarkable change, and what was once a niche market in the nursery industry is now mainstream. Native plants are commonly encountered in urban and suburban landscapes as hundreds of new cultivars have been added to a rich and growing palette of available plants.  Reflecting on forty years with California native plants as a grower, teacher, and gardener, David will discuss the changes that have occurred during this period. He will present some of the gardens and landscapes that demonstrate these changes and identify some of the challenges that remain.

    As founder and President of Native Sons Wholesale Nursery since 1979, David has seen his business grow in size and scope to include plants from other Mediterranean regions of the world - Mediterranean Europe, Southwestern Australia, South Africa and Chile - as well as California natives. Through his travels, he has added appealing new species and cultivars to the collection, and he continues to pursue and develop new selections with the intention of adding a sense of discovery and exploration to California gardens. He taught horticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for twenty-five years and is the co-author of Ceanothus, Reimagining the California Lawn, and California Native Plants for the Garden.

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

    Dennis Cathart


    Dennis Cathart of Tropiflora Nursery talks about bromeliads. Dennis always the dreamer and adventurer, he 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 for evermore. Collecting and exploring were always his first interests in the plant world and over the years he and Linda have visited over 25 countries on more than 100 trips and expeditions. 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.

    Check back for more information. 

    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
    • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Surfside Race Place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

    Night at the Fair
    SD County Fair Display Gardens   


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

    Check back for more information.


    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

Past Meetings

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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