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Welcome to the Southern California Horticultural Society,
where passionate gardeners meet to share ideas
and learn from each other

On the second Thursday of each month, we invite speakers to present a talk or program about their area of expertise. We are once again offering in-person meetings as well as live-streaming on Zoom (with registration).

Meetings may also include Plant Sales, a Raffle and expert discussion of plants brought in to the Plant Forum. Do you have an interesting plant to share? If you can't bring one in person, send in a photo and requested information on our Plant Forum Page.

For more information about the Society, please see our About SCHS page.

Next Meeting: 

Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 7:30 pm PST
Livestream on Zoom

2021 Horticulturist of the Year Awards

Photos courtesy of: Mike Evans (John Dourley with his namesake manzanita in the foreground); Donna Marie Baker; and Paul Mills.

Each September, the Southern California Horticultural Society honors someone who has made a significant impact on horticulture in Southern California, normally with a dinner banquet and presentation, instead of holding a general meeting.

This year's awards will be shared in an online webinar on Thursday, September 23, 2021. John Dourley, Bill Baker, and Virginia Hayes will receive posthumous awards.

JOHN DOURLEY (1922-2015)

John Dourley lived as an incredible example of a gentleman, plantsman, horticulturist and native plant expert. Born in Scotland, he took formal horticultural training at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinborough, and in 1952 came to America with his young family, where he worked in private estate gardens throughout New England.

In 1967 Dourley settled in Claremont, California, where he was the Director of Horticulture at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden from 1967 through 1987. He began his career there with almost no prior knowledge of California native plants, but by applying sound horticultural principles he became a recognized expert, making new contributions at RSABG and getting involved in Southern California’s horticultural community. In 1981, he co-authored the book California Native Trees and Shrubs with Dr. Lee Lenz. The Arctostaphylos cultivar ‘John Dourley’ remains one of the most popular mid-sized manzanitas for California native gardens.

BILL BAKER (1947-2009)

Bill Baker was a nurseryman and plant hunter. His San Fernando Valley nursery, California Gardens, specialized in bulbs, bromeliads, epiphytic cacti and succulents – but his interests also included unusual plants from myriad families.

Baker and his botanical compadres explored Baja California, mainland Mexico, and Central and South America in search of fascinating flora. He was active in both the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and the San Fernando Bromeliad Society, and his plants were featured at the Huntington Botanical Garden’s plant sales as well as being offered through their International Succulent Introductions program. His world-renowned hybrids and selections continue to be coveted by gardeners and landscape designers, including two of his finest: Dyckia ‘Brittle Star’ and Agave ‘White Rhino’.

VIRGINIA HAYES (1950-2018)

Virginia Hayes was the Curator of the Living Collection at the world-renowned Ganna Walska Lotusland garden in Montecito, California for 25 years. She was regarded as a world expert on lotus (Nelumbo) and lived in a small house on the grounds for two decades, developing the plant records, library cataloguing, photographic archives, as well as Ganna Walska’s history and personal archives. She also trained every docent from 1992 until her retirement in 2017. Hayes’ many and varied contributions did much to catapult Lotusland into the national and international limelight.

A prolific writer, Hayes contributed to Pacific Horticulture magazine, wrote hundreds of columns for the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper and authored the book The Gourmet Gardener. Additionally, she served on the board of the American Public Garden Association, was a reviewer for the APGA Plant Collections Network and co-founded the Horticulture Consortium of Santa Barbara.

Join us on this evening as we honor John's, Bill's, and Virginia's contributions to Southern California horticulture. Please note there will be no Plant Forum this evening.

Register via zoom!

If you have been enjoying our monthly webinars and would like to help support the SCHS until we can meet again in-person, please consider donating any amount you feel you can. Even better, become a member, with levels beginning as low as $15. for the year. You can find details about the various levels of membership on our website at Join SCHS.

Thank you for your attention - we always appreciate your support!

Upcoming SCHS Meetings:

Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Johanna Silver, former Sunset editor and author, will talk about Growing Weed in the Garden.

Visit our Past Meetings page to re-watch previously recorded in-person meetings and webinars, download each meeting write-up, and reference any materials provided by our speakers.

Upcoming Events and News:

  • Our Hort Happenings page lists events at local horticultural institutions for the coming two months. 
  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Tag @socalhort in your photos to be featured on our page!
  • Want to re-watch a previous meeting, plant forum, or event? Visit our YouTube Channel for all available recordings!
  • Join our mailing list to be updated with important news about SCHS via email. Your email address will not be shared with anyone, and you may unsubscribe at any time.

Join us today and receive our monthly Newsletter, free admission to regular meetings and discounts on SCHS events. If you would like to support us without joining, please go to our Donate to SCHS page.

If this is your first time to log in as a current member, please enter the email you used when you joined SCHS, then click on the “Forgot Password” link below. In the next dialog, decipher the code and click Submit. A temporary password will be emailed to you, allowing you to log in. Feel free to change the password once you log in.

To renew your membership online, log in and go to your Profile. You will see an option to renew for another year. (Or follow the link when we send you a renewal notice.)

You can always reach us by mail at:

Southern California Horticultural Society
P.O. Box 94476
Pasadena, CA 91109-4476

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