Email Address Password
Login Help              Forgot password?

Annual Meeting - Program Schedule


PDFProgram Flyer
PDFPasadena Gardens
PDF Online Registration

Friday, September 18

8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Trade Show Move-in, The Pasadena Convention Center Pasadena, CA

11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Conference Registration Open
Lapel pins sponsored by Dramm (; name badge holders sponsored by Osmocote Plant Food ( and registration bags sponsored by Gardener’s Confidence Collection (

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Regional Meetings
Join your Regional and National Directors and other regional members to discuss current GWA events and to find out what is happening in your region.

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. First-Timer & Mentor Reception
(1st Time Meeting Attendees Only)
The GWA Annual Symposium is an extremely busy event and having a mentor can be very helpful if this is your 1st time attending. Come meet some long-time GWA symposia attendees who can give you pointers on how to maximize your meeting experience and opportunities. Sponsored by Plant Development Services Inc. (

3:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Garden Products Information Exhibit Opens
The 2015 Garden Products Information Exhibit is the perfect opportunity to learn about new products and to network with new and old friends. Also, stop by the Garden Writers Association Foundation booth to learn more about the spectacular prize drawings. Computer sponsored by All-American Daylilies (; camera sponsored by The Davey Tree Expert Company ( and iPad sponsored by Kellogg Garden Products (; TV sponsored by Oldcastle Lawn & Garden, Inc. (

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Reception in Exhibit Hall
The exhibit reception will offer a wine and beer bar. Sponsored by Corona ( and Proven Winners ColorChoice (

7:30 p.m. Dinner on your own

Saturday, September 19

Breakfast on your own

6:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Early Morning Photo Shoot of Los Angeles Arboretum & Garden Story Tour Departs. (Must Register in Advance)
8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Los Angeles Arboretum & Garden Story Tour
Take an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Garden developed just for GWA. A top U.S. tourist destination, this 127-acre botanical wonderland features a comprehensive reflection of how the region’s mild Mediterranean climate offers the ideal home for diverse plant populations.

Discover pristine natural and cultivated landscapes and enjoy wildlife viewing opportunities — including free-roaming peacocks. Tour the arboretum’s many gardens, including the rose and herb gardens, and photograph rare and endangered plant species from remote corners of the globe.

During the tour, you’ll learn about the arboretum’s breeding program, which introduced 118 plants into the nursery trade, including five varieties of agapanthus, eight grevalia and ten syringia vulgaris — all offering a lasting contribution to public and private landscapes.

Film and television buffs will enjoy seeing popular Hollywood filming locations on the arboretum’s grounds, including the Queen Anne Cottage and lagoon caught on film in early Tarzan movies, Fantasy Island (TV show) and more recently in Katy Perry’s music video, Roar.

Want a souvenir? Plan to take advantage of the rare opportunity of a GWA 10% discount at their gift shop during our morning visit. 

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Lunch
Join the GWA for lunch in the convention center following the story tour.

12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Keynote Opening Session
The Road from Pasadena
The future of the ornamental horticulture industry is at a crossroads. On the one hand, a rosy (pardon the Pasadena pun) picture can be painted. But on the other hand, there are many challenges looming. In this presentation, Charlie will pick his way among the thorny issues (economic, demographic, and otherwise) and elaborate on exactly what actions are needed to keep this industry blooming. In addition, he will point to the messaging that will resonate with the end consumer to ensure their continued participation in gardening and landscaping. Garden writers have a distinctive role to play in disseminating these messages, which means that their educational roles may differ from what they have traditionally been. In other words, garden writing of the future may look markedly different than it does today! Presenter: Dr. Charles R. Hall, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University.  

1:45 p.m. Coffee Break

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. GWA Annual Business Meeting
Join us for the annual membership meeting to hear the annual report from the Board and dynamic plans for program and organizational changes for GWA as part of our Long-Range Plan.

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Table Top Picks!
Table topic specialists will present short overviews of the titled presentation and then leave time for an open-ended question-and-answer opportunity. Get up close and personal with industry leaders while sharing the latest technologies, practices, systems, and horticultural topics while breeders, selectors and growers will discuss many of the new plant varieties entering the trade in 2015. Bring business cards, inquiring minds, and willingness to share!

Topic Specialists:
Keep It Simple, ****! – Bill Adams
Pop-up Gardening – Donna Balzer
Public Speaking Can Be Fun and Profitable – Ken Brown
J. Frank Schmidt’s – Nancy Buley
Plant Mentoring – Louise Clarke
Work From Home: Your Dream or Your Nightmare? – Kate Copsey
Teaching Webinars for Fun and Profit – Cheryl Corson
Plants to Write Home About from Ball Horticulture – Mason Day & Katie Rotella
Iseli Nursery – Sandy Dittmar
Spring Meadow/Proven Winners – Shannon Downey
Protecting, Storing and Sharing Your Data – Will Funk
It’s All About the Data: Making Sense of Insights and Analytics – Kevin Gragg
The Greening of Pasadena Through Gardens and Greenspaces– Su Lok
Bailey’s – Ryan McEnany
Stop the Presses! All the News That Fits About Print – Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
Floral Design with Debra Prinzing – Debra Prinzing
Recycling Household Throwaways Into New Garden Tools – Yvonne Savio
How to Harvest and Enjoy the Fruits of Your Garden Communicating – Denise Schreiber
Rules of the Road for Growing from Seeds – Renee Shepherd
Urban Foraging – Ellen Zachos
Trade Connections to Strengthen your Green Knowledge – Maria Zampini
Problem-solving Plants from Sunset Western Garden Collection TM, Southern Living® Plant Collection, and Encore Azalea TM. – Kip McConnell & Janet Sluis

4:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Final Exhibition Period
Don’t miss the final exhibition period to continue to network and learn about new and exciting products.

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Reception in Exhibit Hall
The exhibit reception will offer a wine and beer bar.

8:00 p.m. Dinner on your own

Sunday, September 20

Breakfast on your own

Concurrent Sessions
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Track: Defining Plants for Garden Communicators
Sow the Seeds of New Plants Into Your Seasonal Content Calendar
You want new plants?  You got ‘em and more! New is always what customers ask for first, be it in the horticultural trade or consumers. We’ll share with you the newest plants to hit the green runway along with some under-utilized fashionable plants that we feel merit being back in style.  Whether they are new or new to you plants, we’ll provide exciting sources of content to fill your green calendar! Panelists: Kelly Norris, Director of Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Maria Zampini, Upshoot LLC.

Concurrent Sessions
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Track: Communicator’s Tool Box
Using Social Media for Garden Story Idea Generation
Staring at a blank screen? Procrastinating by surfing the Net and reading Facebook posts? Cure that writer’s block by using your wasted time on social media to generate and research ideas for writing about gardening. We’ll explore basic story gathering and content creation across several platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo groups, and more. Kathy will show you how to identify and track the latest trends and discussions on garden-related topics. Also covered will be quick ways to find interview subjects and source experts. Did you know that 65% of your fellow journalists use social networks to write their stories? Find out why this important resource works so well for them. Presenter: Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener magazine

Track: The Wonders of Gardening!
Discovering Ruth Patricia Shellhorn
Discover how this author pursued a decade long quest to discover and reveal the work of mid-century Southern California landscape architect Ruth Patricia Shellhorn. Research, detective work, legal twists and turns, hundreds of interviews, friendships, laughter, and a bit of plain old good luck resulted in this author's publication with the premier landscape history publisher in the country. Learn how following your curiosity can lead to a successful publication. (This will be a fast-paced and sometimes humorous presentation with images that highlight Shellhorn's landscape architectural practice, which was based in the Pasadena area.) Presenter: Kelly Comras, Landscape Architect and Attorney.

Concurrent Sessions
8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Track: Communicator’s Tool Box
Bang for Your Buck: Bringing Social Media Accounts Together
We’ll cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and crowdfunding platforms to explore what each can do for your personal brand and how they can work in concert. What tools can you use to save time working on social media? Which platform do you use for a specific audience or goal? How can you create memes that go viral and tweets that stand out? How can crowdfunding work as a marketing tool? Presenter: Benjamin Vogt, Monarch Gardens.

Track: The Wonders of Gardening!
A Seedy Business
Overview of where home garden seeds come from, how they are produced and distributed and how new varieties are chosen and developed.  Current trends for kitchen garden edibles and enchanting flowers to grow from seed; what’s best for home gardeners, including new young urban gardeners; demystifying hot topics like Heirlooms, Hybrids, Seed Saving, Certified Organic Seeds, GMO Issues and how they relate to home gardeners. Presenter: Renee Shepherd, Renee’s Garden Seeds.
9:00 a.m. Coffee Break

Concurrent Sessions
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Track: Defining Plants for Garden Communicators
Plant Introductions: The Complexities of Getting a Plant from Breeder to Consumer
Dan Heims begins our journey around the world of new plant introductions by sharing the interesting process of selection, sport fishing and breeding. Then, Diane Blazek leads you on a journey of the trials a plant must go through in order to be selected for introduction. Plantsman Barry Yinger then takes you on an invigorating journey around the world, citing stories of numerous plants that have passed muster to become favorites in your own gardens. Panelists: Diane Blazek, Executive Director of All-America Selections; Dan Heims, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.; and Barry Yinger, Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle.

Track: Communicator’s Tool Box
How to Think Like a Producer and Interview Like a Star
Do you know how to get booked and be a great guest on television and radio programs?  It doesn’t matter how important your product, book or service is, you have to have an original hook; know your demographics, and pitch with pizzazz! Then, it’s up to you to give great show. Garden writer, TV/radio host, and media coach, Cynthia Brian will teach you how to think like a producer and interview like a star. Presenter: Cynthia Brian, Starstyle® Productions, LLC.

Track: The Wonders of Gardening!
California Dreamin’
Welcome to gardening in California – Southern California to be more accurate. This is the land of perpetual sunshine, which is great for people but not so easy on plants. Gardening in California is totally different from gardening anywhere else in the country and similar to just a few other places in the world. The climate, topography, geology, water quality, lack of wat, and other features are so different as to baffle newly arrived gardeners from out of state.

And our gardens look different. Not many trees, small leaved plants, lots of succulents, silvers and olive greens. We grow edibles in containers and raised beds. We stress over water use and lack thereof. 

This talk is a primer about California gardening. Experts Nan Sterman and Christy Wilhelmi talk about how California gardens are different, trends in California gardening, and the differences in garden designs and gardening practices – both ornamental and edible. By the end of this talk, you will be ready for the local story tours with a knowledge and perspective to help you understand the gardens you see. Panelists: Nan Sterman, Plant Soup, Inc. and Christy Wilhelmi, Gardenerd.

Concurrent Sessions
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Track: The Wonders of Gardening!
A Garden Reimagined: 30 Years of Designs in a Pleasure Garden
As an author, photographer and designer, my garden provides beauty while being the workhorse that has fueled my books, articles and calendars for the past 30 years. I constantly learn from the garden. It's a California garden, which allows me to change the design and content twice a year — occasionally even redoing the hardscape. Over the years, themes ranged from Alice in Wonderland and a yellow brick road, from a children’s maze to a formal herb garden and from trial gardens to nationality-oriented food gardens (Mexican, Italian, Asian, etc.). Presenter: Rosalind Creasy, edible landscaping designer, writer and speaker.

Concurrent Sessions
11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Track: Defining Plants for Garden Communicators
Floral as a Gateway to Horticulture
Often the introduction to the world of ornamental gardening begins with cut flowers. This session will aim to discuss and cover the following topics:

  • Explore how the two fields and industry collaborate, compare and sometimes collide.
  • Introduce products and ideas for the consumer utilizing techniques and methods from both floral and horticulture.
  • Work on ways we can effectively communicate not just the language of flowers, but generate stories that come from within to make plants and flowers more relevant to everyday life and also be more accessible to the consumer.

Presenter: Rizaniño "Riz" Reyes, RHR Horticulture.

Track: Communicator’s Tool Box
Get Out! Using Digital Technology to Get Everyone Outside Again
In this digital age, people need gardens and nature more than ever. Yet they continue to be seduced by the content on their computer screens and mobile devices. How can garden writers and designers find new ways to draw people outside again? Join award-winning author, blogger, and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy to learn about her firm’s online strategies that are helping homeowners create a personalized landscape design anytime, anywhere. Presenter: Julie Moir Messervy, President, Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio.

Concurrent Sessions
11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Track: Defining Plants for Garden Communicators
Be the Lorax and Speak Up for the Trees
Trees have stories to tell, but no voice. Garden writers are ideally positioned to communicate the vital role that trees play in building community, improving public health and well being, reducing crime, managing stormwater, mitigating climate change and more.  Learn how to team up with tree planting organizations, government agencies, health care providers and news outlets in your community to tell these stories and tap into an underserved freelance market.
Every community has stories to tell about the important and essential role of trees in growing healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities. The presenter will share valuable resources, pertinent research and expert contacts to help garden communicators research and tell the unique, numerous, meaningful and marketable human interest stories that revolve around trees. Presenter: Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.

Track: Communicator’s Tool Box
Find It! Publish It! Using the Lightroom Library
You create hundreds of photos every month, plant portraits, garden landscapes, intimate macro details, but when it’s time to choose the right one for your article, or your favorite photo editor sends an I need it today e-mail, you panic because you can’t find your images. What you need is a database, a searchable inventory that will lead you to just the right photos in seconds. Learn how to use Adobe Lightroom’s library module to caption, keyword, and search your images. Presenter: Mark Turner, Turner Photographics.

12:00 p.m. Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Huntington Story Tour,
Evening Photoshoot & Beer and Wine Bar

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a Southern California “must see” destination.  During our afternoon group visit, four curators will lead GWA symposium attendees on guided tours through five distinct display gardens, including the Desert, Japanese and Chinese Gardens, as well as the Rose Garden combined with adjoining Shakespeare Garden. 

After the Huntington closes to the public, those wishing to stay for the first-ever afternoon photo session may enjoy a glass of beer or wine along with light refreshments, compliments of the Huntington.

As a special perk, GWA symposium credentialed guests are invited to wear their symposium badge to gain free entrance from the day prior to the conference until the day after: September 17-22. 

Originally, the private estate of railroad magnate Henry Huntington (1850-1927), with a grand Beaux Arts mansion as its centerpiece, the research and cultural institution houses world-class collections, including Gainsborough’s famous portrait of The Blue Boy, a Gutenberg Bible, and a 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

Surrounding the estate are 120 acres of breathtaking grounds that showcase more than 15,000 different kinds of plants in a dozen specialized gardens. Some of the more iconic gardens include the 10-acre Desert Garden, which includes nearly 4,000 species of water-wise plants. Flanked by 18th-century statuary, the North Vista frames a view to the San Gabriel Mountains. A profusion of blooms representing 1,200 different cultivars fill The Rose Garden with nearly year-round beauty and scent.  The Japanese Garden features a Japanese house perched on the hillside overlooking a placid koi pond spanned by a moon bridge.  Built with exquisite craftsmanship by native artisans, the newest landscape is the Chinese Garden, also called “Liu Fang Yuan,” or Garden of Flowing Fragrance.

Botanical education is central to The Huntington’s mission. In the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science, children and families can engage in inquiry-based learning. In the adjacent Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden, the next generation of garden enthusiasts can explore the wonders of the natural world in a playful one-acre garden designed around the themes of earth, air, light, and water.
Please be aware that no flash photography, tripods, monopods, or selfie sticks are permitted in the buildings, although they may be used in the gardens.  Reception sponsored by Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens ( 

7:00 p.m. Dinner on your own

Monday, September 21

Breakfast on your own

Concurrent Sessions
8:00 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Track: Advanced Garden Communications The Making of a Self-Publishing Platform
This presentation will go through the three-year process of evolving my stock photography brand, PhotoBotanic, into a self-publishing, e-commerce website where I license my photos individually and as story packages.  The site allows me to self publish my own eBooks, iBooks, and run an online photography workshop to subscribing members.
Content providers have an amazing opportunity to take charge of their own publishing and PhotoBotanic is my work in progress. Presenter: Saxon Holt, Saxon Holt Photography.

Track: Gardening Revolution
Brave New Vegetable World: Changing the Way We Grow Food
This presentation will bring together and reveal all sorts of insider knowledge currently known only to those working in the industry. The talk will cover the latest cutting-edge edible growing information that is fascinating, informative, and entertaining. The topic covers the new "Ketchup 'n' Fries", the tomato grafted onto a potato, hi-protein red corn, blue edible pod peas, high anthocyanin tomatoes and the latest in the world of grafted vegetables. Also covered is the breakthrough in patio crops like Pixie Grapes and true dwarf tomatoes. Presenter: John Bagnasco, Garden America Radio Show.

Track: Defining Garden Communications
The Plant Mentorship Challenge
Plant mentoring – the process of teaching others about plants ­– has been identified as an important method to instill curiosity and interest in plants, making individuals aware of the value of plants.  Learn why plant mentoring is a valuable tool in recruiting future generations to take leadership roles in horticulture by viewing examples of the positive effects of plant mentoring. Mentors and mentees sharing their experiences, tips and guidelines for plant mentoring through garden communication will be provided. Panelists: Louise Clarke, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania and Eva Monheim, Temple University.

8:50 a.m. Coffee Break

Concurrent Sessions
9:15 a.m. - 10:05 a.m.

Track: Advanced Garden Communications
Making the Grade in the Internet Age
In the past 15 years, garden communicators and everyone else in the horticultural industry has been called to step up their game. How do we lure people away from their digital devices and into their gardens? What do we have to offer that can't be found in a quick Google search? What role do we play in protecting ecosystems, counteracting plant blindness and helping people to discover creativity, rejuvenation and intellectual stimulation in their own backyards? And, how can we all make a better living while addressing these questions? This talk has specific suggestions for how we can create a gardening revival in the U.S. and Canada while increasing our income as garden communicators. Presenter: C.L. Fornari, author, speaker, host of GardenLine on WXTK.

Track: Gardening Revolution
Permaculture 101: What It Is, What It Isn’t, & Why It Should Matter to GWA
Bill Mollison and David Holmgren defined Permaculture as “consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns of nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fiber and energy for provision of local needs.”  But what is the science and applicability to today’s gardens?  Where does Permaculture fit?  And how can we communicate this model to the gardening community? Explore the workings and possibilities of Permaculture in this session. Panelists: Debra Knapke, The Garden Sage and Sabrena Schweyer, Salsbury-Schweyer, Inc.

Concurrent Sessions
9:15 a.m. - 9:40 a.m.

Track: Defining Garden Communications
Gardening Socially
Your clients and social media. This is not exhaustive on all the techno part of social media, it is an exploration of how our clients and readers use them. When you see how people are using social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, etc., then you can discover how best to reach them.  Maybe it is all the sites or directed at a few that target who you are trying to reach. Conversation, gathering, sharing, learning. Where is your client/reader/customer? Presenter: Sue Goetz, Creative Gardener.

Concurrent Sessions
9:40 a.m. - 10:05 a.m.

Track: Defining Garden Communications
Cultivating Future Gardeners
How do we get younger generations into the garden? Let's focus on where we went wrong, and what we can change to right the ship! Using millennial trends from the green industry and outside industries, we will look at ways to reach millennials and bring them back to the garden! Presenter: Mason Day, Ball Horticultural.

10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. Keynote Session
Permission to Dazzle
Today’s trends in horticulture are a dizzying array of new products, new plants, conflicting innovations and mind boggling complexity rules and regulations. The man who exhibited brightly painted, but dead trees, Adam Schwerner believes that public horticulture should challenge the public by not following the rules. His personal journey illustrates his commitment to creating a dialogue over public horticulture as art using many of the elements and principles of architectural design. The public views of his many installations have engaged, enraged, surprised, thrilled, entertained, annoyed, and been hailed as masterpieces of urban revival! Hear his story of wanting to give people permission to experiment with and experience the true wonders of this natural world. Travel with him to understand the true “Genius of the place…”. Presenter: Adam Schwerner, Director of Disneyland Resort Horticulture & Resort Enhancement.

12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Behind the Garden Gates – In and Around Pasadena Story Tour & Lunch
GWA invites you to an exclusive peek behind the gates of some of our finest residential gardens in and around Pasadena.  The architecture, landscape and horticulture in each are exemplary.  As a group, they demonstrate how the mild Mediterranean climate supports a kaleidoscope of opportunities within the broad context of the year-round indoor-outdoor living lifestyle the region is famous for.

When Ann and Olin Barrett purchased their secluded 1.5-acre hilltop Pasadena architect-designed home, the couple hired a landscape architect to continue the design principles of views on axis, symmetry and flow. Surrounded on 3 sides by garden, the principle of enclosure raises each space in importance.  The magic of place is that home and garden function as one, each equally important.  Citrus, palms, succulents — the diversity of plant material is enjoyable from numerous seating areas.

The exceptionally deep South Pasadena lot of Don and Marilyn Conlon was developed over time in a series of garden rooms. Areas are distinctly divided into spaces dedicated to specific purpose, such as active recreation, relaxation or food production.  With impressive plant collections throughout, Don describes his gardening philosophy as Darwinian-survival of the fittest.  Many of the trellises and other outdoor structures are planted with 3 types of vines — extending the sequential bloom season — and the opportunity to see what triumphs over time.

The San Marino garden of Robert and Caroline Volk displays the couple’s passion for plants throughout the one acre of gardens surrounding three sides of their 1935 Georgian Colonial home. Working with landscape designer Mark Bartos, the garden harmonizes with the traditional architecture, yet the horticultural execution is innovative and consistent with modern conservation ethics.

A 200 ft. long vista through different gardens celebrates the property's length. The orchard garden anchors one end. Here, iris and lavender are bedded with citrus and apple trees. Be sure to cross through the elegantly landscaped swimming pool courtyard. Lastly, enjoy the aura of spaciousness extending through the shaded lawn to the borrowed view of treetops at “The Huntington”.

There is more. Adjacent to the house is a perennial garden. The fragrance of roses and jasmine draw in hummingbirds and butterflies. The original badminton court is repurposed as a knot garden drawn with waterwise plantings punctuated by a gurgling water feature. Keep your eyes open for the fanciful renderings of winged garden visitors by metal artist Michael Amescua.

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Awards Reception (Cash Bar)

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Awards Banquet:
2015 Garden Media Awards & Honors Presentations
The Pasadena Convention Center is the perfect setting for the 2015 Garden Media Awards presentations and Honors Ceremony. Join us for an evening of networking, friendship and celebration as we congratulate and honor our colleagues. Also, hear about next year’s symposium plans in Atlanta, GA!

Tuesday, September 22

*Limited Availability
8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.    Optional Los Angeles Tour: The Nature Garden at the Natural History Museum and The Getty Center
(Includes Lunch) ($55)
Our day begins with a stroll through The Nature Garden at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Carol Bornstein, one of California’s most highly respected native plant specialists and director for the museum gardens, will lead us towards the hidden secrets of a decidedly un-urban garden planted in the very heart of the metropolis. 

Designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates, the garden represents an attitude change in land use planning.  While the park design compass traditionally points towards either passive or active recreational pursuits, this former asphalt-covered parking space encourages relevancy of the natural world to city dwellers, particularly children.

Compactly, in just three and a half acres, multitudes of learning and hands-on experiences co-exist.  Among the spaces are vegetable and butterfly gardens. Native and Mediterranean plantings demonstrate the poetry possible with water-wise selections. With an artificial riparian water feature, the garden is part wildlife sanctuary. 

The garden attracts not just creatures of the sky — birds and butterflies or critters which hop, climb or crawl, it attracts people, and is turning the littlest of us into future gardeners and lovers of the natural world.

We will lunch at The Getty Center, home to the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute. Designed by modernist architect Richard Meier, the sun-washed, travertine-clad fortress holds court in the Santa Monica Mountains. Majestic views across the estates of Bel Air and the Los Angeles basin to the Pacific Ocean compete for attention of the sights, sounds, and scents of the surrounding gardens.

When it opened in 1997, it was arguably the richest museum building in the world and the one with the most controversial public garden. Nothing was more passionately debated among visitors and designers than the Getty’s Central Garden designed by contemporary artist Robert Irwin, a man with no practical experience with plants or gardens. It didn’t matter.

Eighteen years later, the genius of the form, what Irwin describes as “sculpture in the form of a garden,” is as iconic as his mantra carved into the plaza floor about the nature of the garden: “Always changing, never twice the same.” GWA members, engage your senses, and experience the garden in what one writer has described as “all its moods: the play and force of light, temperature, sound, water, texture, density, color, humidity, cloud cover, fragrance, wind, bees, equipment, people, architecture, solitude, moths, noise, waterfowl, hummingbirds, rhythm.”

Please be aware that handheld and video cameras using existing light are welcome in the permanent collection galleries. Flash photography is not permitted in the galleries. Also, tripods and monopods are not permitted in on the property.

8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pasadena: Crossroads of Tradition and Trends ($25)
Our morning starts with a stroll through the Arlington Garden. Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden was once a 3-acre vacant lot owned by Caltrans, for a freeway that was never built.

When neighbors were asked how they envisioned the land to be developed, the desire was for a park, but what kind? When Betty McKenney read Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style, by Jan Smithen, she was inspired to develop a garden demonstrating the high appeal of a low-water landscape which would thrive in our hot summer, mild winter climate. She and her husband Charles, built consensus between private and public interests to make the dream into a place of peace and tranquility. 
Betty and her dedicated group of volunteers will be on hand to expound the garden’s many merits. Try the marmalade. It is made locally to help support the endeavor.

Directly across the street, the shade of sycamores and oaks beckon. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is a superb rare remaining example of American fascination with Japanese design concepts and aesthetics from the late 19th century through the outbreak of WWII.

Kinzuchi Fujii, a landscape designer and craftsman from Japan was selected by art patrons Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns to design a lavish garden which includes a cascading waterfall, irregularly shaped interconnected ponds, bridges and a tea house.    

Joining us will be the owners who restored the property, Connie and Jim Haddad. His mother, a Pasadena arts and antiques dealer owned the property for several years after she went to an auction to purchase two chairs and went home owning the entire estate. The couple has lovingly restored the garden, now placed with the National Register of Historic Places and listed as a California Historical Landmark on the California Register of Historic places. With many beautiful vignettes and vistas, the property is now a popular special events venue. Please be aware that tripods are not permitted in on the property.

John Muir High School is home to Muir Ranch, a working farm with over 500 David Austin roses, as well as many dahlias plus two acres of fruit trees, zinnias, heirloom tomatoes and proteas. It is tended by student interns and stands alone on the West Coast as a beautiful farm with a working six-figure business model of #urbanag through its CSA, farmers market and retail floral sales and event catering.

Come meet the irrepressible Pied Piper of the next generation of gardeners, Mud Baron, Project Director of the Ranch. His #putflowersonyourhead campaign has brought attention to the program at the Title 1 School.

The ranch was born in 2011, when a dedicated team of volunteer teachers and students began converting 1.5 acres of the John Muir High School campus into an urban farm. Muir Ranch grows a variety of flowers, vegetables and fruit that are included in weekly CSA boxes as well as school cafeteria lunches. Students can complete community service or internship graduation requirements by enrolling in classes at the ranch. It also provides paid internships to students, funded by private donations, special events, farmer’s market sales, and subscriptions to the produce box program (CSA).

Symposium Sponsor


GWA Outreach Initiatives

2015 Annual Symposium

2014 Annual Symposium

Symposium Recordings

Regional Meetings

Workshops & Seminars

7809 FM 179, Shallowater, TX 79363 Tel: 806.832.1870  Fax: 806.832.5244
Copyright © 2015 Garden Writers Association
Bookmark and Share