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  • Mon, June 12, 2017 11:22 AM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the display garden winners of our Excellence in Horticulture awards.

    The San Diego Horticultural Society is proud to give seven awards to display gardens at the Fair. These awards recognize the exceptional efforts of the many people who design and install the demonstration landscapes that are a highlight of the Fair. Each award includes a cash prize ($100 for the first six, and $500 for the Most Outstanding Exhibit) and a one-year membership in SDHS.


    We thank our very thoughtful judges for the hours they spent judging all the display gardens. It is a demanding task requiring both a good eye for design and a significant depth of plant knowledge.\


    • Nomenclature Accuracy – San Diego Floral Society
    • Bill Teague Memorial Award for Creative Use of Unusual Plant Material – Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society
    • Best Youth Garden - San Pasqual High School FFA
    • Best Expression of Garden Education – Bonita Organic
    • Best Planted Container – Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society
    • Best Use of Native Plants – Jorge Robles
    • Don & Dorothy Walker Award for Most Outstanding Exhibit – Ramon Montes
  • Mon, June 12, 2017 10:57 AM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Our garden won ten awards!

    San Diego County Fair Awards:

    2017 Paul Ecke, Sr. - Best overall landscape exhibit awarded in memory of the Father of Commercial Floriculture in San Diego County

    2017 Paul Ecke, Jr. Garden Show Theme Third place  - for landscape exhibit best representing the Garden Show theme, “Happy Trails”

    Edgar Engert Educational Merit Landscape - exhibit incorporating outstanding educational information and creative use of plant materials to encourage and inspire the home gardener

    Noteworthy Plant Specimen Green Ribbon for Friendship Sage (Salvia ‘Amistad’ PP23,578)

    Donated Awards:

    2017 Kellogg Garden Products “Grow Your Own” Second place - for the garden that best incorporates edible components

    Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture - Best landscape display presentation in the drawn landscape plan

    Evergreen Nursery Green Leaf - Best use of plants in a home garden setting

    J.C. Associates Organic Garden - which best exemplifies the use of organic gardening practices

    Master Gardener Association Earth-Friendly Gardening Recognition - of a garden that best demonstrates Earth-friendly Gardening principles

    Thanks to the following for their contributions to the exhibit:

    Garden Design & Installation Team:

    Mannah Gbeh

    Terry Chamberlin

    Greg Hunter

    Karen Krugman


    Pat Kroll

    Georgana Winters

    Linda Canada

    Sponsors: We thank the generous support of the following San Diego plant nurseries:
            Moosa Creek   
    Evergreen Nursery

    Briggs Tree Nursery           

  • Tue, April 25, 2017 11:07 AM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Urban Homesteading

    By: Terry Chamberlin

    Where the West is Fun, the theme of this year’s San Diego County Fair, evokes images of cowboys, rowdy saloons, and backcountry adventures. While there will be plenty of similar thrills at the fair, the SDHS garden design team for the fair’s Garden Show exhibit aims to educate the public about urban homesteading.  Urban homesteading is a modern gardening movement which echoes the farming techniques of early pioneer homesteaders who flocked to the prairie and further west after the Homestead Act of 1862.  Moving to these unsettled lands presented a number of challenges, including the need to use sustainable practices to provide the basic necessities of life.  

     Creating an Urban Homestead Garden

    To address the fair’s western theme, SDHS garden exhibit designers Terry Chamberlin, Mannah Gbeh, Greg Hunter, Jason Showalter and Karen Krugman have created a modern urban homesteading garden with a rustic touch. A raised vegetable bed will demonstrates the principle of the Three Sisters Garden. According to Iroquois legend, the three sisters, corn, beans, and squash, are the physical and spiritual sustainers of life. Iroquois women mixed these crops, planting Corn (the oldest Sister) in a hill mound, surrounding the growing corn with beans, which contribute nitrogen to the soil, and using the cornstalks as bean poles. Between the rows of hill mounds, squash was planted to shade the ground, maintain soil moisture, and discourage weed growth. 


    The garden design will include California natives, pollinator-friendly flowers and herbs, as well as a selection of fruit trees and wooden structures sourced for free from old, weathered cedar fencing that was destined for the dump. Chickens and a beehive box will round out the display of urban homesteading agriculture practices, and a garden bed will highlight old roses that pioneering homesteaders may have brought with them to their new homes.  We could not have done all this without help from some SDHS sponsors. Su Kraus, from Moosa Creek Nursery, identified California Native plant options that would be in bloom during the spring and summer.  Evergreen Nursery, is loaning large trees for the garden and will deliver and pick them up at no charge.  Please join us in thanking them.

  • Fri, July 01, 2016 4:53 PM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    We have been meeting at the Del Mar Fairgrounds since 1994 and the facility works reasonably well most of the time.  However, recent announcements by the Del Mar Fairgrounds to replace the facility, coupled with increasing room rental, worsening traffic, and difficulties with setup and audio-visual equipment has led our board to seek a venue to ensure a quality meeting experience for all of our 1,200 members.  

    We are therefore excited to announce that beginning August 8th our meetings will be held at a state-of-the art meeting facility located in the UTC area at: 

    Congregation Beth Israel (CBI)
    9001 Towne Centre Drive
    San Diego 92122

    It is a beautiful space with a large auditorium-style room featuring padded seats, a proper stage and an excellent audio-visual system.  There is an adjacent room that will be used for a pre-meeting social hour where vendors and other tables will be set up.  Free coffee and tea will be available before the meeting and we have access to a kitchen for the occasional meeting that includes food.  In addition, there is a large courtyard -  planted with Mediterranean plants -  in front of the meeting room.

    The location is more centrally located in San Diego and has good freeway access.  Our central and south county members can avoid the “Merge” and our north county members have just a few minutes (5 miles) longer to drive. And for those that carpool, 805 South has a new commuter lane.  Best of all, there are many stores and restaurants in the area so you can make an afternoon of it or have an early dinner before the meeting. Ample free parking garage is available in the adjacent parking garage. 

    We encourage you to come early to the August meeting so you can enjoy pre-meeting refreshments and check out our new facility.  Doors open at 5:30.   Look for more information in the August newsletter and emails about directions, parking, and new check in process.

    Help us get the word out by telling other members and your friends.

  • Mon, June 13, 2016 4:41 PM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    By Donna Tierney

    The San Diego Horticultural Society’s annual event honoring outstanding horticulturalists was held on June 13th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Members and guests were able to view the many wonderful garden exhibits and talk to their designers on an evening not open to the public. Inspired by this year’s fair theme of “Through the Looking Glass,” many exhibits featured water wise plants combined with varying degrees of whimsy.

    SDHS’s own exhibit was sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and designed and installed by Linda Teague, with help from Mary Friestedt and Dave Ericson. It featured a gorgeous array of South African plants. Since South Africa is located on the same latitude as San Diego and has a similar Mediterranean climate, these plants perform very well in our local gardens.

    This year’s Horticulturalist of the Year Award was presented to the Horticulture Staff (both past and present) of the San Diego Zoo, which is celebrating its 100 year anniversary! Inspired by the vision of Dr. Harry Wegeforth in 1916, the zoo sits on 100 acres. Over the past 100 years its landscape has evolved from a small number of donated plants to the gem that is celebrated internationally today! This transformation is a direct result of the dedication and expertise of the many fine horticulturists who are currently working or have worked at the zoo over the years. The horticulturists representing the Zoo at the presentation had a combination of 125 years of experience! Congratulations to all for this incredible achievement!  

    At the end of the presentation, the honorees, members and guests enjoyed the traditional cakes provided by SDHS. Thanks to the volunteers and Fairgrounds staff (especially Cindy Benoit) who helped make the evening a great success, and to Carol Lane for organizing the event.

  • Fri, June 03, 2016 4:23 PM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Our garden won three important awards, the first two of which we’ve never won before! As it was in previous years, our exhibit was sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority, and we greatly appreciate their support. 

    • H. W. Buckner Cactus and Succulent Garden Award, First Place: Presented to an exemplary garden landscape that best demonstrates the use of these true xerophytes).
    • Edgar Engert Educational Award: Presented to the exhibit displaying outstanding educational merit and creative use of plant materials to encourage and inspire the home gardener.
    • Noteworthy Plant Specimen Award

  • Fri, June 03, 2016 3:17 PM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the display garden winners of our Excellence in Horticulture awards.

    The San Diego Horticultural Society is proud to give seven awards to display gardens at the Fair. These awards recognize the exceptional efforts of the many people who design and install the demonstration landscapes that are a highlight of the Fair. Each award includes a cash prize ($100 for the first six, and $500 for the Most Outstanding Exhibit) and a one-year membership in SDHS.


    We thank our very thoughtful judges for the hours they spent judging all the display gardens. It is a demanding task requiring both a good eye for design and a significant depth of plant knowledge.\

    ·        Jim Bishop, SDHS President

    ·        Lisa Bellora, APLD –

    ·        Marilyn Guidroz, APLD -

    ·        Susanna Pagan, Garden Designer, SDHS Public Relations Chair

    ·        Susi Torre-Bueno, SDHS Newsletter Editor



    The Bill Teague Memorial Award for Creative Use of Unusual Plant Material was given to San Diego Botanic Garden for their beautiful display with plants from many different parts of the world. Included in their “Un-Planted” Garden were an outstanding succulent rabbit and a very clever water feature. This garden has great appeal for all ages.

    Our award for Best Youth Garden went to a first-time exhibitor, Kailani Chung, the first time we’ve given this award to an individual and not a school group. Her Under the Sea Succulents garden featured the attractive use of succulents which was very colorful. We loved the large sculpted seahorse and thought Kailani’s design showed nice plant massing and a great sense of humor.

    The Nomenclature Accuracy award for 100% perfect nomenclature went to Green Acres Nursery for their Tea Time in RedderBetterland display. The individual plant labels were unobtrusive and easy to read, and they had a beautiful plant display.


    New exhibitor Aqua WISER won the award for Best Expression of Garden Education, with a very fun Mad About Water garden. They hit all the principles of water conservation and reuse. We especially loved the steampunk washing machine (which blew bubbles), papier-mâché sculpted characters, and a gentleman made of old piping in an outdoor shower. Theirs was a good interpretation of the Fair theme, too.


    The Best Planted Container award went to Vineyard Landscape, another new exhibitor, for their Garden of Wonder. It featured the excellent use of recycled wood for their large container wall. The judges loved the cutouts in the wall for windows, which were then partly filled with boxes of colorful succulents on many kinds. There was a nice vertical succulent garden on the back side of the wall. This was a wonderful garden with good scale and a very nice water feature.


    The award for Best use of California Native Plants went to Helix Environmental Planning for their vibrant display, titled Vernal Pool Inspired Landscape Design with Native Plants and Burrowing Owl Box. The garden had a beautiful display of a vernal pool section with a glass panel so you can see the internal pool structure. It was very educational in terms of native flora and fauna, especially about the burrowing owls.


    Our Don & Dorothy Walker Award for Most Outstanding Exhibit went to Pro Trees for their Repurposed Wonderland garden. The garden was inspiring, educational and creative, with great attention to detail. It shows good design and choice of plant material. The judges enjoyed the rain chain, and the tree rounds used for both planters and pavers. The design was practical and elegant at the same time. Outstanding job!

  • Tue, January 05, 2016 11:12 AM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Purchase Tickets

    Click Here to read about plants featured on the garden Tour

    Hawaiian Hilltop

    Anyone walking by this lovely home will immediately notice the attractively landscaped front yard.  They may also realize that instead of the typical hedge or fence to keep out animals and discourage foot traffic, the owner has installed a ribbon of lava rock filled with colorful succulents, bromeliads, and other plants.  But the treat for tour guests is being invited behind the double wooden doors to the jaw-dropping Hawaiian botanical garden sanctuary.  Inside the gates lies an outdoor room filled with orchids, ferns, cactus, bromeliads, succulents, flowering vines, and unusual palms, plumeria, and Chinese banana trees.  An imported teakwood wall, a koi pond, a fish aquarium, and numerous rare plants and exotic statuary are just some of the other elements in this artful courtyard masterpiece.

    This is a garden full of surprises.  There is a jasmine draping the outdoor fireplace, a petrified vine supporting air plants and orchids, and a brain-shaped succulent serving as the center piece of the outdoor dining table.  Wooden monkeys stretch out their arms to welcome the visitor; a Polynesian style stone god hides in the shrubbery facing the street.

    Along with all the beauty the owner has achieved a more than 30% water savings from an innovative irrigation system.  Water from rain gutters and buried spaghetti tube dribbler piping is recovered from three cisterns. Inconspicuous drains in the front yard direct the water to the cisterns through 3 inch pipes and plants easily find the water sources.  What appear to be thirsty plants on the south side of the property are actually surviving completely on this recycled water.

    The landscaping has been a joint effort of landscaper Dave Ericson and the owner.  For years Dave has worked closely with this creative homeowner to help him realize his evolving vision.  The result is an almost endless series of exciting vignettes which will surely stimulate ideas for your own garden.


    Horticultural Fantasy

    Expect surprises in this Certified Earth Friendly garden; this strikingly modern home has been enhanced by a garden filled with a wide variety of plants from countries of the Southern Hemisphere.  Viewed from the street, one sees plants gradually becoming more familiar to San Diego gardeners, such as Grevillea, Westringia and Vitex, charm those viewing the home from the sidewalk.  Entering the garden provides an eye-catching tour of what the Southern Hemisphere has to offer, including Hakea, Euphorbias, and Adenanthos.

    The “artist’s eye” of the owner, who once made and sold handcrafted jewelry, is evident in the carefully constructed palette that unifies the diverse plant collection.  The color scheme of rusty reds, oranges, and of course green is echoed in the plants, pots, and even in the bright orange wall of the upper deck.  

    The pleasure the owners take in this garden is evident in its unique features.  In particular, a custom staircase leading to the deck is under planted with succulents; the steps lift up and out allowing the plants to be watered.  On a trip to the Chelsea Garden Show the owners saw something similar featuring water plants; they returned home inspired, and created this succulent version, more suited to the San Diego climate.   Similarly, a striking bridge, now lushly covered with Dutchman’s pipe, was built by the current owners to create an inviting second floor entrance.   It also serves as a vantage point from which to view the diverse plant selection in the garden below.


    Entertainer's Delight

    Visitors approach this East Del Mar home, nestled in a woods of eucalyptus and pines, up a winding drive that was once bordered by lawn.  The lawn is no more; faced with the challenge of reducing water usage by 35%, the owner is transitioning to a drought-tolerant landscape.

    At the top of the drive, a large, level space, formerly filled with grass and other thirsty plants, is now home to a colorful field of poppies in spring.   A group of Grevilleas bring soft color and feathery texture.  Turning the corner brings you to a circular planter filled with a graceful Coral tree.  The front of the home is decorated with pots of shade loving plants.  In the rear, the owners entertain diner guests on a patio by a pool nestled beneath a giant Bird of Paradise.  From there, guests used to look out on yet more lawn, but now they can enjoy a view of a variety of orange-toned succulents surrounded by carefully selected matching boulders and set off by spikey Rush and colorful pottery.   

    Pause to enjoy the view over a forest of many shades of green stretching to the west, then continue meandering through a well-planted side yard to find the next secluded dining and seating area surrounded by numerous pots of blooming flowers. A newly installed meditation garden offers visitors a quiet retreat. Hardscape contributes to the beauty of the setting; vine-covered pergolas create texture and depth, and sun sail has been cleverly mounted to provide shade for the poolside patio.  

    Nature's Garden

    Tour-goers will delight in this Carmel Valley home, with a garden conceived by Chris Drayer, designer of many of the gardens at Rancho La Puerta, and installed by Steve Jacobs of Nature Design.  The Landscape Contractors Association recognized its beauty and significance by awarding it their Landscape Beautification Award.  One of the owners is a Master Gardener; over the years she has steadily enhanced and improved the property.  Today it is a certified Earth Friendly wonderland of diverse and drought-tolerant shrubs and trees.

    The property showcases 18 trees in 9 varieties, 27 different shrubs, and a wide selection of flowering vines.  The cleverly designed rear garden creates an illusion of space, with two separate covered seating areas, one located at the front end and one at the rear of the garden.  A staggered path takes the eye from one planting area to the next, each with its own unique character. 

    A stroll along the paths from front to back reveals a gurgling granite fountain, a collectors’ mix of succulents, a raised vegetable bed,  and fluttering yellow and gold butterflies attracted by plantings of Cassia and milkweed. Tucked around a corner of the house is a secluded meditation garden with a statue of Budda perched on a rescued tree stump.  In front a rose-covered arbor flanked by Leucadendron ‘jester’ welcomes visitors, while two olive trees are positioned to stretch across the drive.



    Palm Paradise

    Visitors will marvel as they enter this secluded garden sanctuary down a long, curving, driveway lined with palms and hibiscus.  Once inside, the street and the city vanish from view and San Diego seems far, far, away. At the end of the drive, a stunning gate and bamboo fence welcome guests to a palm-shaded patio, with a fishpond, stream, and infinity pool. 

    The previous inhabitant of this 1.1 acre property, which the owners purchased in 2012, was a palm and bamboo specialist and a longtime member of the International Palm Society.  Designer Steve Anthony re-landscaped the entire area for the current owners, moving the bamboo to the edges of the yard and planting many of the then boxed palms, some of which are rare species, in strategic locations around the patio and adjacent property.

    The result is a breath-taking wonderland of palms, bamboo, Mediterranean plants and multiple fruit trees.  Meandering down tree-lined paths reveals surprising elements such as a coop with clucking, egg laying chickens; a secluded meditation garden surrounded by bamboo; a small, private patio with waterfall; raised vegetable beds, rare plants from Madagascar and novel guavas.  Orange, pomegranate, and grapefruit trees provide shade and beauty.  Much to the owners delight, the state of the art irrigation system allows the seemingly lush landscape to flourish with relatively little water.

    The garden also includes a number of Cycad species including six large Encephalartos from South Africa.   



    Simply Succulent

    The owner of this meticulously-maintained succulent garden has created a jewel-box studded with succulents.  The front garden beckons visitors down a path lined with mounds of agaves, jade, aloes, barrel cactus, and variegated elephant foot, ending at the foot of a large palm.  A small inner court yard features tillandsias, schleffera, bromeliads and statuary.  In the rear garden a charming fountain is surrounded by copper colored jade, while a bed of more succulents, in a stunning variety of colors, surrounds a dry creek and carefully placed mounds of river rock.  The garden has an almost mosaic effect, reminding the viewer, in its structure and size, of a Japanese landscape.  In 2014, it won an award from the Union Tribune for its drought tolerant landscaping.

    In addition to its lovely plantings, visitors will be able to view the owner’s grey water system.  To provide water for some thirstier hillside plantings, the owner is reusing water from her washing machine.  Piping has been installed to send water from the washing machine, located in the garage, to a drip system on the hillside.




    Spanish Villa

    This large Spanish-style property, built in 1928, has several separate garden areas behind its walls.  Entering from the street, the visitor passes a tile-lined swimming pool flanked by a wall hand painted with large, colorful peacocks.  Here grass has been replaced by artificial turf, and the Pacific Ocean sparkles between the tree branches lining the yard. 

    The garden beyond includes a trompe d’oeil painted tile Spanish style fountain and a stucco wall decorated with subtle paintings of palm fronds; paintings of cheetahs were recently added in honor of the owners trip to Africa.  A charming flagstone patio with hanging flower pots creates a shady spot for visitors and family alike, who can enjoy the beauty of a lush red passion-flower vine climbing over the roof. 

    Other features include a guest house, expansive grass area, rose garden, and a side yard where the owner grows vegetables in raised beds.  The front of house has large and small succulent planting areas, some designed by the late Bill Teague.


    Texture and Tapestry

    This Laura Eubanks-designed garden provides a stunning example of how living art can be created through landscape design. The front yard is covered with drifts and mounds of jewel-box succulent tapestries.  Ribbons of decorative rocks and pebbles in various colors and textures serve as topdressing, replacing what had been a standard suburban grass lawn with a study in color contrast.  Occasional placements of hand selected boulders and colorful clay pots add interest.   Plants in a wide variety of colors and textures invite the garden's guests to study and savor combinations of intricate plant shapes. 

    The water wise garden, installed in August, 2015, already looks mature and ready to be enjoyed.  The new plants are compatible with our climate, requiring a fraction of the water and care the previous landscape required.  Vegetables are grown in raised beds in the side yard.   

    The back landscape has a reduced grass area, additional succulent tapestries, and rear deck shaded by a mature Podocarpus tree. The backyard's colorful borders now combine existing plantings, such as pittosporum and black-eyed Susan, with newly-installed, more drought tolerant species like a hedge of Pedalanthus.  Truly this is an eye-opening example of how we can rethink our San Diego landscapes.




    Torrey Pines View

    Perched on a hill overlooking the ocean, this is a garden with eight different themes. A collection of pots largely made by local artists and containing specimen succulents are displayed on the home's large front ocean view balcony.  Around the back tour goers will find a rock wall planted with a tapestry of succulents.  From there, you can follow the path to an English garden of pastel flowers, then to a beautiful collection of rosebushes, a memory garden planted to honor past cat friends, an Asian-inspired garden guarded by a giant Chinese warrior, and a fragrant garden with jasmines and gardenias. 

    Check out the two-dozen varieties of cycads, and be sure to stop and feel the cardboard cycad.  It feels – like cardboard!  Melaleuca, such as Melaleuca densa, Melaleuca incana prostrata, and Melaleuca diosmifolia, is one of the homeowners favorite plants; you are certain to find some varieties that are new to you. Other special plantings include an orange candle bush, numerous bromeliads and proteas, and several native oaks.  Torrey pines frame the view from the garden over Torrey Pines Reserve and out to the sea.    

    The owner has lived on this property for many years.  With the help of landscape consultant Howard Vieweg, the garden has grown and it continually evolves and matures under their direction.  

  • Tue, January 05, 2016 8:00 AM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    Purchase Tickets
       Full Garden Descriptions

    Hawaiian Hilltop - Featured Plant

    Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’  VARIEGATED RUBBER FIG (Moraceae) Origin: SE & Southern Asia

    This is an attractive variegated form of the commonly grown evergreen rubber tree.  It has thick green leaves with white or yellow margins, multiple trunks and a spreading canopy.  Newly emerging leaves often have a red hue.  Although taller in its native habitat, it can reach 25 to 40 feet in the garden landscape and is useful as a screen, shade, patio or specimen tree in frost-free locations.  It can be grown in full sun or shade but achieves the best leaf coloring in partial sun.  Note that care should be taken around the plant, as its milky latex is a skin irritant and is poisonous if ingested.  The tree has a high tolerance for drought, but prefers some humidity and thrives in wetter conditions.





    Horticultural Fantasy - Featured Plants

    Aristolochia gigantea DUTCHMAN’S PIPE (Aristolochiaceae) Origin: Brazil

    A vigorous evergreen twining vine with stems that can grow 15-20 ft. long and can be seen in this garden draping down over the railings of the bridge leading to the house.  The large triangular to heart-shaped dark green leaves form a mat which can be useful as a screening device.  From summer to early winter, curiously shaped flowers resembling curved pipes with flared bowls up to 1 ft. long are formed on the plant.  The flowers are burgundy with white netting and a yellow throat, and its unusual form is a definite conversation piece.  The plant is hardy to 30-32 degrees F and does best in a well-drained soil.


    Hakea baxteri FAN LEAF HAKEA (Proteaceae) Origin: Australia

    An attractive small ornamental shrub with stiff fan shaped leaves that climb gracefully up the branches. The flowers are rusty brown to greenish cream and strongly scented - but the attraction of this plant is mainly the shape of the leaves and its erect form with growth up to 6 ft.  Like most hakeas, it likes freely draining acidic soils and sun but will tolerate some shade and moderately heavy frosts.  It is attractive as a landscape plant or when grown in a large container.




    Entertainer's Delight - Featured Plant

    Dasylirion  wheeleri  DESERT SPOON (Asparagaceae) Origin: Southwest U.S.

    A yucca-like plant characterized by a rosette of attractive long narrow gray leaves and a tall flower spike.  These plants can be seen growing along the driveway interplanted with variegated Yucca ‘Color Guard’.  The Spoon Yucca is a plant adapted to extended periods of drought and requires good drainage but some irrigation will speed growth.  It is often planted in inland desert gardens but is also planted in southwestern style landscapes and as specimen plants in cactus and succulent gardens.  The plant grows to 4-7 ft. in diameter forming a symmetrical mound when young and developing a short trunk that can reach 4-5 ft. tall as the plant ages.  The leaves grow to 3 ft. and have sharp teeth on the margins.  The base of each leaf broadens where it joins the trunk to form a long handled “spoon” that is used in dried flower arrangements.  When mature, the plant produces white flowers on 9-15 ft. tall spikes in early summer.




    Nature's Garden - Featured Plant

    Euphorbia cotinifolia CARIBBEAN COPPER PLANT (Euphorbiaceae) Origin: Mexico

    This striking coppery-red leaved deciduous plant can be grown as a shrub or pruned to become a tree with a height up to 18 ft. tall.  Small white flowers with creamy bracts bloom at the ends of the branches in summer with new growth.  However, it is the bold foliage that makes it an excellent accent or foundation plant in coastal California and other frost free areas.  It prefers a well-drained soil and full sun.  The purplish stems when broken yield a milky sap that is an irritant and can be poisonous if ingested, so care should be taken when working around the plant.




    Palm Paradise - Featured Plant

    Cupressus cashmeriana KASHMIR CYPRESS ( Cupressaceae) Origin: Bhutan and India

    One of the most attractive conifers for the home garden with its distinctive pyramidal shape formed by upright main branches and weeping foliage.  The flattened branchlets support aromatic scale-like blue-green foliage.  The tree grows slowly up to a height of 30-40 ft. and does best in sunny exposures with regular moisture.  It does not do well with extreme heat or drought stress, and benefits from some shade in warmer inland areas.  The tree is well suited as a focal point in a woodland or Asian style garden due to the tree’s beautiful form and color.




    Simply Succulent - Featured Plant

    Dioon spinulosum  GIANT DIOON, CYCAD (Zamiaceae) Origin: Mexico

    This attractive cycad is endemic to hillsides in the tropical rainforests of Mexico.  It is one of the tallest cycads in the world, growing to 50 ft. in its natural habitat, but only reaches 5-12 ft. in the garden landscape.  The plant grows in an upright nest shape with shiny stiff leaves that have marginal thorns, so should be located away from walkways.  It is easily grown with regular water and a well-drained soil.  Cycads are an interesting group of plants because they are among the earliest cone bearing plants originating from ancient flora of the Mesozoic era.  It should be noted that all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.  The Giant Dioon provides an exotic look and formal touch to the garden and it can also be grown in tubs for a similar effect.






    Spanish Villa - Featured Plant

    Zamia furfuracae CARDBOARD PALM, CYCAD (Zamiaceae) Origin: Mexico


    The Cardboard Palm is a small cycad and has a circular crown of leaves that resembles small fronds of a palm.  The symmetrical leaves and sculptural form give it a unique appearance that is much prized as a specimen in containers (as can be seen in this garden), or a background or understory plant in the garden.  Mature plants can grow to 4-5 ft. high and wide with pinnate leaves and stiff leaflets, and both female and male plants produce long cylindrical cones.  The plant is drought tolerant due to its ability to store water in the thick basal stem and underground root.  In California, it is principally grown in coastal and adjacent inland areas that are generally frost free, and is adapted to coastal sun or shady understory locations.




    Texture and Tapestry - Featured Plant

    Synadenium grant ‘Rubra AFRICAN MILK BUSH (Euphorbiaceae) Origin: East Africa

    An attractive shrub or small tree with leaves of green, red or a combination of the two colors.  It typically grows between 6 and 15 ft., the smaller size when grown in containers.  The flowers are tiny and inconspicuous red bract-like cyathium (flower forms typical of the Euphorbiaceae).  The plant is drought tolerant, and can be grown in full sun or light shade.  It is generally evergreen but is sensitive to freezing temperatures and may lose its leaves after mild frosts.  If the frost is not severe or prolonged, the plant will resprout again.  As most plants in the Euphorbia family, the milky sap on this plant is a skin irritant and poisonous if ingested.  Therefore, particular care needs to be taken when cutting or working on the plant, and the plants should be kept away from small children and pets.




    Torrey Pines View - Featured Plant

    Melaleuca incana (prostrate form) GRAY HONEY MYRTLE (Myrtaceae) Origin: Australia

    A low growing form of the Gray Honey Myrtle has graceful arching branches of tiny gray leaves that grow to a height of only 1-2 ft. and then cascade downward.  Small whitish-yellow bottle-brush type flowers form on the plants from spring to early summer.  Although they are drought resistant after establishment, the plants look better with occasional watering in summer.  They prefer full sun to partial shade, and are well adapted to both California coastal and inland areas due to their hardiness to 20 degrees F.  The delicate texture and muted foliage of these plants make them suitable for background or featured status in the garden, as well as container plantings where they cascade over the pot edge.

  • Sat, August 01, 2015 2:00 PM | San Diego Horticultural Society (Administrator)

    By Bill Homyak

    The San Diego Horticultural Society is proud to announce its 2015 Community College Scholarship Awardees. The SDHS provides $1000 scholarships for deserving students in local community colleges who are pursuing a degree in the horticultural trades. With the ever-increasing costs of tuition, books, and living expenses, it is the goal of the San Diego Horticultural Society to provide funds which will enhance the student’s ability to complete their educational goals. 

    Scholarships are provided to the Landscape and Nursery Technology Program at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, the Horticulture Program at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, and the Ornamental Horticulture Program at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon.

    This year’s recipients are:

    Wyatt Hayes is currently a student in the Landscape and Nursery Technology program at Southwestern College. Wyatt has expressed interest in both the plant propagation/nursery field and in landscape design and installation. He has worked in a local nursery that specializes in exotic fruit trees and has participated in plant sales. He will be receiving the Bill Teague Memorial Scholarship. We wish him a successful career in his chosen field. 

    Dennis Vosper is currently a student at MiraCosta College’s Horticulture program and is working on his AA degree in Horticulture. Upon completion of his degree, he plans to transfer to Cal State San Marcos  and major in applied physics and earn a minor degree in the biological sciences. Dennis is married and has five children between the ages of 7 and 15. His ultimate goal is to own and operate an aquaculture farm and develop new systems and methods to improve that industry. And, in putting his money where his mouth is, he currently has his own home tank raising fish for family consumption. The SDHS has awarded Dennis the Fred B. Meyer Memorial Scholarship, and we wish to congratulate him on his achievement.

    David Boggs is currently enrolled in the Ornamental Horticulture program at Cuyamaca College, where he has earned degrees in Arboriculture, Golf and Sports Turf Management, and Irrigation Technology, and a certificate in Sustainable Urban Landscapes. He has become an ISA Certified Arborist and holds a Qualified Applicators License in Landscape Maintenance, Right-of-Way, and Forest.. Once completing his studies at Cuyamaca College, David plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture at Oregon State University through their online program, and work toward a Masters in Environmental Resources with a focus on Urban Forestry and Water. He currently works at Sharp Memorial Hospital as campus Horticulturist, where he is responsible for the care of the specialty healing gardens, etc. David has received the Don and Dorothy Walker Scholarship and the SDHS wishes him success in his future endeavors. 

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 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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