June 2012

I’ll be teaching ‘Greener Gardens: Sustainable Garden Practice’ again at UCLA Extension starting Tuesday, June 26  with co-instructor David King.  People who take this class will get the benefit of the breadth of experience that each of us brings to sustainability in the garden.  This class fulfills an elective for the certificate programs in both Horticulture and Global Sustainability.

We’ll be covering sustainable design, soils,  swales and earthworks,  appropriate use of greywater and rainwater harvesting, along with the basics of native and drought-tolerant planting.  All aspects of sustainable backyard food will be addressed.

Following is a quote from the UCLA Extension website:

“Designed for horticulture students, gardening professionals, educators, and home gardeners, this course focuses on turning your green thumb into a “greener” garden. Topics include composting, irrigation, water harvesting, water wise plants, eating and growing local produce, recycling, and moving away from a consumptive, non-sustainable lifestyle when choosing materials and tools. … “

I’m pleased to teaching this class again with David.  David is the founder of the Seed Library of Los Angeles and the Gardenmaster at The Learning Garden.  His expertise includes sustainable food gardens. He teaches for both Extension and for the Master Gardeners, as well as frequently lecturing and writing about gardening.  He blogs at The Beautiful Food Garden.



I regret to say that noted Chumash healer and author Cecilia Garcia died last month.  She authored, with Dr. James  Adams of the USC School of Pharmacology, “Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West” one of the finest books on healing with California native herbs.  The book  looks at native herbs from both a traditional standpoint and from a Western scientific position, making it uniquely useful.   It is now in its second edition, and a third edition is forthcoming.

Garcia was also a wonderful teacher who gave many classes and lectures.  She and Dr. Adams spoke to the San Gabriel Chapter of CNPS some years ago, and I was privileged to attend.  More recently, they have given classes at the Theodore Payne Foundation.  I was in the session taught by Dr. Adams when we heard the news.

She died in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, on the 18th of May, subsequent to an auto accident while she was bicycling.  Her contribution to our understanding of the uses of native plants will be much missed.  Her passing shows that we must learn what we can about California plants from First Nations elders while they are still here with us.