The Dry Garden: I should


In a crowded world, original observations are few. One of mine is that beets taste good with everything — provided that you like beets. Another is that the good people of Los Angeles might be struck dumb if denied the phrase “you should,” with a close second being, “you shouldn’t.” … Instead of recommending that you do as I do this week, it seemed marginally less bossy simply to impart a few of the things that I am currently telling myself to do. Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.


Corks pop in Santa Barbara

“After 18 years as head of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Edward Schneider is leaving for a job at the University of Minnesota, where he will become a fully tenured professor and take over as director of the arboretum,” reports the Santa Barbara Independent. Schneider leaves California’s most important native garden without half of its volunteers and all of its status. For background on his directorship, and that of his board led by former Arizona governor turned pastry chef Fife Symington III, click here and here.

A personal theory as to why Schneider and his board were so disastrous for the garden can be summed up in the difference between two terms: “arboretum” and “botanic garden.” Arboretums are collections, originally of trees, and often occupy the estates of some dead robber baron. They represent the plunder and show ethos of a bygone era in which exoticism was

Why the crisis at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden affects all Californians

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Photo: Marilee Kuhlmann

FOR THOSE who missed it, last weekend the LA Times followed up on the troubles at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. A very capable round up it was too. Yet, roughly three months since crisis gripped one of California’s most important botanic gardens, there remains a great unsaid. That is: As a matter of urgency, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden must reinstate Carol Bornstein.

The April decision to dismiss the former director of horticulture, a 28-year veteran of the garden, is described as a matter of cost efficiency. But if the garden can afford a highly paid PR to gloss over the crisis that has driven half of its volunteers from service, then there is no conceivable rationale for sacking a woman who is the living embodiment of the garden’s mission to foster stewardship of the natural world through inspired learning, rigorous scholarship,

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden gone to the dogs?

MISSION STATEMENT: “The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is an educational and scientific institution fostering stewardship of the natural world through inspired learning, rigorous scholarship, and premier displays. With an emphasis on plants native to California, the Garden advances the knowledge and understanding of plant life and provides a rewarding experience for visitors.”

And so, last April, the Garden Board of Trustees sacked its *Director of Nursery Operations and Horticultural Outreach but kept on a highly paid publicist. The upshot? Doggie Bagel Brunches.

*CORRECTION: An earlier take of this posting reported that the trustees sacked the Director of Horticulture. This is incorrect. The person sacked was formerly the Director of Horticulture but at the time of dismissal was Director of Nursery Operations and Horticultural Outreach. The text was amended accordingly.

Santa Barbara on fire – against board of trustees of botanic garden

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden was developed to showcase native plants and the natural beauty of California. Source: SBBG

THE MAY fire that damaged an estimated two thirds of the 65-acre Santa Barbara Botanic Garden masks deeper damage being done by the garden’s Board of Trustrees, claimed an article in Saturday’s Santa Barbara Independent and responded to today by the garden’s Chairman of the Board, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington.

Every public garden has its politics, but the castigation came from one of the best known names in California horticulture, Owen Dell, Santa Barbara landscape architect* and author of Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies.

In the article, Dell claimed that the current board of trustees has squandered resources on costly land acquisition, constructed a controversial folly that divided the community, operated with a board missing seven of the legally required 15 trustees and concentrated spending on high salaries for

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