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November VGCLJ Meeting - Open to Guests

  • Congregation Beth Israel 9001 Towne Centre Drive San Diego, CA, 92122 United States (map)

 “The Sunset Test Gardens Past and Present"
"The Bancroft Gardens"



Johanna Silver is the Garden Editor for Sunset magazine. As such she travels throughout the Western United States covering trends in agriculture and gardening, from a surge in peony farming in Homer, Alaska, to the front lines of landscape design in Los Angeles.

Sunset’s original headquarters in Menlo Park was recently sold. The offices moved to Oakland and their famous test gardens moved to Cornerstone in Sonoma. Johanna has been working with the test gardens since joining Sunset in 2008. Her presentation will cover what goes into creating test gardens, what new plants they are growing, and how these have changed over time. It will be a behind the-scenes look at the good, the bad, the ridiculous, and the bloopers of the Sunset Test Gardens past and present.

In addition to being a Garden Editor, Johanna is a writer and garden designer. Wearing that hat, The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden, will be published in October 2016. The book is beautifully photographed with growing and maintenance tips, profiles of signature plants for a dry garden, and innovative design techniques. Last April our Club visited The Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek as part of our trip to the Bay Area. The book is an elegant reminder of that garden. Johanna will touch briefly on both the garden and its creator, Ruth Bancroft.