Passionate about plants, the places they grow and the people who grow them.

Passionate about plants, the places they grow and the people who grow them.

California Horticultural Society has been dedicated to bringing together gardeners and garden professionals, through meetings and other events, to share their experiences since 1933.


General Meeting, Monday, October 17, online

So Many Plants, Too Little Time!

with YOU!
Cal Hort and Western Hort members will receive the sign-in details via email

This will be one of our meetings devoted solely to plant display and discussion. Previous all-plant-forum meetings have included wonderful round table discussions and been major learning experiences. This is an opportunity for storytelling and sharing of best practices and sharing challenges and dilemmas that you just can’t figure out.

  • Do you have a special plant or two that you would like to discuss—it could be beautiful specimen, an old favorite, a new acquisition, or something you are having trouble growing?.
  • Can you share a particular gardening technique?
  • Do you have a favorite public garden you like to visit?
  • Care to share a short photo tour of your garden?
  • Do you have photos of a particular plant over the years?
  • Before and after photos of your garden in progress?


General Meeting, Monday November 21

Tales of California Botanists and Flora

with Ken Lavin, Outings Coordinator, Greenbelt Alliance

Ken Lavin is outings coordinator for Greenbelt Alliance, a Bay Area non-profit working to prepare the Bay Area for climate change by educating people, advocating for bold change, and collaborating to address the climate crises. Ken taught outdoor education for Diablo Nature Adventures in the East Bay for many years and was a National Park Ranger stationed in the Marin Headlands and Muir Woods (where he was known as the “cool ranger” by the visiting school children). He also served as president and longtime board member of the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association.

Join us for a peek at the secret life of some California native flora and the adventures (and misadventures) of early day botanical explorers who risked life and limb to collect and describe the plants in our gardens.

David Douglas famously collected hundreds of new plant specimens in California and the Pacific Northwest, but which one caused a rash of “hysterical female disorders” when planted in English gardens? What kindly doctor opened the door for women botanists at the Academy of Sciences, became an expert on oak trees, but was considered a “nuisance in the science” by his East Coast detractors? And who was the botanist with the California Geologic Survey that collected plants instead of rocks and suffered from a very bad case of arachnophobia?

We’ll also visit the unlikely home of the type specimen for our California state flower and discover the “refrigerator tree”, beloved by Californians but with a unique connection to Canada.

Supporting Each Other

Plants do not recognize race, economic condition, or social class. Plants can take root in any spot where they can find sufficient sunlight and moisture. Appreciating and nurturing plants can reduce stress, provide food, and promote community.

Nurturing plants can be for everyone, everywhere. Spending time around plants—gardening, spending time in a park, hiking through trees, or playing in a meadow—is good for mental health, promoting relaxation and relief from stress and worries. There are physical benefits to sunlight, fresh air, soothing scents. 

Whether you have a full garden, some house plants, or a few herbs on your windowsill, we encourage you to take time to appreciate the surroundings, smells, and textures, along with sharing your interest with others. Share photos and web links, offer horticultural help and advice, talk to young people about gardening, growing food, and the role plants play in our world. We can all help shape the future for good.