I have spent many moments this past week reliving the wonderful experience of leading the Northwest Horticultural Society’s “LA Garden Tour” last weekend.
It was a lot of work for the group’s tour co-chairs Gillian Mathews and Renee Montgelas and me, but we agree that the four-day excursion was a huge success (well, we won’t discuss the bus fiasco on Saturday night – no fault of our own!).
I said “yes” to planning and leading the tour after several years during which Gillian and I fantasized about putting together a weekend trip.
Gillian and I have known each other since 2000 or 2001 when I was still reporting on retail trends for Puget Sound/Eastside Business Journals in Seattle and she had just launched her garden emporium, Ravenna Gardens. From there, we not only helped each other with our respective auction projects, but we became friends. Gillian, in fact, is responsible for me assuming the editorial duties for the horticultural society’s Garden Notes, a quarterly newsletter that I edited for a few years on two occasions.
We first worked on a tour together in 2005 when I led an autumn weekend to Eastern Washington/Yakima area. And only three weeks after I first arrived in Southern California in late August 2006, it was serendipitous that Gillian and Renee brought an NHS group to Santa Barbara and Pasadena. I joined them for much of that tour and honestly feel that it was my happy introduction to Southern California horticulture and landscape design. When I visited some of Santa Barbara’s great public and private gardens and nurseries with the group, I thought to myself: “I am going to be okay down here.”
Gillian may not realize how directly and indirectly she has influenced and encouraged the course of my career to leave business writing and embark on garden and design writing – but she has!
Fast forward 3-1/2 years and it was my turn to show off LA to many old and several new NHS friends. Here’s a recap and some photos to introduce the awesome design style of LA’s gardens: