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Annual Award Banquet

Each year we select an outstanding individual to honor as Horticulturist of the Year (HOTY), and hold an Award Banquet in his/her honor. Our big social event of the year is set in one of our local botanical gardens, so guests can enjoy a lovely summer evening surrounded by plants and friends. The HOTY banquet also includes our annual Silent Auction, where guests have the chance to bid on hand-picked horticultural treasures gathered throughout the year.

2022 Horticulturist of the Year

Dave Fross

The 2022 banquet will be held on Saturday, September 17
in the Brody Botanical Center at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
(here is a link to directions to the Huntington)

Join us at 5:30pm Social Hour and Silent Auction (closes at 7pm).
Dinner served at 7:00; presentation begins at 8:15. Banquet tickets are $45.00.

On September 17,  the  Southern California Horticultural Society will be honoring Dave Fross, founder and president of Native Sons Nursery in Arroyo Grande, as our Horticulturist of the Year.  The annual award ceremony is back as a live event for the first time since 2019, and we are expecting a big turnout to celebrate and honor Fross.

It was during his time as a graduate student at San Jose State University that Fross made the acquaintance of Cliff Schmidt, Lester Rowntree, Carl Sharsmith, Wayne Roderick, Ken Taylor and Gerda Isenberg.  He credits their individual and collective influences for sparking his idea to form a wholesale nursery specializing in plants native to Mediterranean climate regions of the world.  The idea became a reality in 1979 when Fross established Native Sons Nursery on a single acre, producing California native plants for the landscape trade and retail nurseries. Since then, the nursery has grown to 14 acres, and its selection has expanded to include plants from other Mediterranean climatic areas.

Over the years, Fross has introduced a number of cultivars that have become common in the California nursery trade, including Chondropetalum ‘El Campo’, Ceanothus maritimus ‘Point Sierra’, Arctostaphylos ‘Austin Griffiths’, Sesleria ‘Campo Azul’, and Salvia leucophylla ‘Point Sal’.   His expertise with native plants led to the publication of the following books which he co-authored:  California Native Plants for the Garden, Reimagining the California Lawn and Ceanothus.

In addition to  his work at the nursery, Fross  also taught horticulture for 25 years at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, and with his students developed the California native collection in the Leaning Pine Arboretum on campus.  When Fross is not busy with his  duties as CEO of Native Sons, he spends time developing a 3.5-acre garden on a sandy hill down the road from the nursery, as well as working in the gardens near his home, continuing to learn from and test plants that Native Sons offers.

On the occasion of the SCHS Horticulturist of the Year banquet, Fross will be sharing some of the breadth and scope of his acquired knowledge as he presents a program titled “Home Ground” wherein he will reflect on 43 years of growing plants for the California landscape.  You can register online to join us for this festive evening, or by printing and returning this form.  We are looking forward to celebrating Fross’ achievements in horticulture with like-minded friends and hope you will be able to join us!  

Dinner will be outside in the courtyard; the Silent Auction and presentation will be indoors. Masks are encouraged, but not required. For questions about this event, please contact Laura Bauer at 626-437-9459 or

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