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Ruth Borun Lecture Series

Longtime Southern California Horticultural Society member Ruth Borun cultivated a highly regarded garden while immersing herself in the people, places and plants of the world of horticulture. In her memory, the Borun family has funded the Ruth Borun Lecture Series to present significant horticulture speakers to fellow and future members of So Cal Hort.

Ruth inherited the gardening gene from her mother and passed it on to Nancy, one of her daughters. They would spend weekends plant hunting: Del Mar for proteas, Carpinteria for orchids, Nuccio's for Camellias and, of course, the Theodore Payne Foundation for California natives. When Ruth could no longer drive to So Cal Hort meetings, Nancy became her chauffeur. Nancy still oversees Ruth's garden and is working on bringing it back to the Chris Rosmini era.

Ruth's collaboration and friendship with landscape designer Christine Rosmini (a SCHS Horticulturist of the Year) lasted for years. They traveled together extensively, visiting gardens and gardeners throughout the world. The result was a garden that was featured in Sunset magazine, in the Los Angeles Times, and in Christopher Lloyd's book, Other People's Gardens (one of only three American gardens in the book).

Photo by John Schoustra

SCHS members are grateful for the memories of Ruth and her garden and thankful that her memory lives on through the Ruth Borun Lecture Series.

Photo courtesy of the Borun Family

Ruth Borun Lecture Series Speakers

Brian Kemble
"All Plants Come from Somewhere!
How Plant Origin Clues Make us Better Gardeners"

Live in-Person & Online Webinar

Friday, April 12, 2024 ~ 7:30pm

The Blinn House in Pasadena

The Southern California Horticultural Society is pleased to announce Brian Kemble as our Ruth Borun Lecture Series speaker for 2024.  He is Curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, whose mission is to preserve Bancroft’s original vision and design principles.  Kemble has traveled extensively, seeking new, drought-adapted plants for the Bancroft Garden and seamlessly weaving them into existing compositions. Augmented by his stunning photography, he will share fascinating stories about selected plants and their origins during his talk.

FREE to SCHS Members /  $10 for Non-Members

This event will be in-person and live-streamed via Zoom.

Registration is required for both the live event and the Zoom webinar.

Past RBLS speakers:

2021 Jennifer Jewell speaking on "Cultivating Place: How a Garden Culture of Care Strengthens Places and Their People" On February 11, the SCHS proudly presented its inaugural program in the newly-established Ruth Borun Lecture Series with speaker Jennifer Jewell, host of the weekly public radio program and podcast Cultivating Place. She focused her presentation on her philosophy — that gardeners and gardens are powerful agents and spaces for potentially positive change in our world. She showcased individuals who are manifesting change through horticulture in diverse ways, and also improving health and well-being. While Jewell never met Ruth Borun, she did cite her as just such an individual who exemplified these ideals in the building and ongoing evolution of her own garden. Recap from SCHS Newsletter / YouTube recording

2022 Dr. Suzanne Simard speaking on "Finding the Mother Tree" Dr. Simard is the leader of The Mother Tree Project, which researches forest renewal practices that protect biodiversity against climate change. Her latest book, Finding the Mother Tree, brings us into the intimate world of trees, exploring the ways in which trees learn and adapt their behaviors, remember the past, demonstrate agency over the future, and cooperate with a sophistication typically ascribed to humans. Recap from SCHS Newsletter / (no recording available)

2023 Fergus Garrett on "Great Dixter: A Garden Richer in Biodiversity than the Surrounding Countryside". SCHS was thrilled to host Fergus Garrett, CEO and Head Gardener at Great Dixter Garden in Northiam, East Sussex, UK. Garrett gave a fascinating talk exploring the dynamic nature of Great Dixter and share how he and his team have achieved remarkable biodiversity in this cultivated landscape by integrating natives with exotics in a chemical-free environment. Recap from SCHS Newsletter.pdf  / Recording and Q&A

For questions about this event, please contact

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