Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Caifornia native plant garden.The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is a mecca for California native plant enthusiasts, especially in April.  I am thrilled to be asked to do a two part presentation April 11, 12 kicking off Native Plant week in California.

Designing California Native Plant Gardens: A Photographers Perspective will be a Saturday afternoon presentation followed by a ramble through the gardens at its spring time peak, pointing out photo opportunities.  We finish with wine and cheese at twilight.  They are paying me !?

Despite the obvious garden appeal of California native plants in a summer-dry climate, an appeal to climate adapted, low water use, and sustainable plants, I find they are not used as often or effectively as they deserve.  As a photographer I want to share success stories and change any expectation that native gardens are unorganized or messy.

holt_384-129_1500(c)The next morning, workshop students will get early access and we will work on using the light to photograph gardens.  All gardens are special in the early morning, even more so in California and the West where the sun gets bright quickly.  We will look for those special situations where plant combinations compliment each other and look for situations that would apply to the home gardener.

Following our morning field work we will have a light breakfast, then download photos for a critique of the morning work.  Fun, fun, fun…

The Saturday lecture and ramble is $20, the workshop is $200.  Registratation

As a young garden photographer, Santa Barbara Botanical Garden taught me a lot about gardening with native plants, taught me about what a California mixed border could look like, when alI I knew was the English garden model.  A mixed border must mix together different types of plants to add depth, character, and year round appeal.

Here is a border in the garden with a tree (California Redbud), a shrub (Fremontodendron) and perennial (Yucca).  Try that in England.   Now I get to teach….


  1. This made me go back to the photos I took here in 2011, they are better than I expected , but worse than what I would hope to do now. On that same trip I visited Lotusland and Seaside Gardens–I sure would love to take this workshop,but not in the cards for this year ..

    • What a nice feeling to find “better than expected”. I have not been to SB Botanic in the digital age and never made it to Seaside. Thanks for the reminder…

  2. I’m very glad I joined. I have limited time for all of this, BUT I’m looking forward to what you have to offer as much as I can be involved. Thank you

    • Thanks for your support Val. No matter how much time you have to get back into the Learning Center, I promise twice a month there will alway be something fresh to read and learn.


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