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FOUNDERS AWARD 2020:  Glenda Jones


Long time Palo Alto resident Glenda Jones personifies the spirit of Western Horticultural Society—gardening expertise gained through accumulated plant knowledge, practical experience in the Bay Area’s mico-climates, and reaching out to others, helping them become more successful gardeners.


“Wherever she has lived, she has gardened,” states her partner Dick Clark and her love of gardening led to a long-time career.  One day while visiting the venerable local nonprofit garden center Common Ground a visitor asked for someone who could help her with organic gardening. The sales person pointed to frequent customer Glenda who took on the person as her first client in a professional maintenance business that has been a satisfying part of her adult life.

Like many who join Western Horticultural Society to better their plant knowledge and enjoy its friendships, Glendabroadened her interest in plants through other sources, including intensive study at Foothill College, and became an advocate for including California natives in the garden along with a thoughtful use of water. Her garden was featured in the April 2006 issue of Pacific


Horticulture magazine.  In an articled titled “Front Gardens of Palo Alto”, Glenda tells readers that it wasn’t just about replanting a traditional lawn and shrub with natives and other climate appropriate plants, it was also the process of regularly working in her own front yard where she was able to be a source of help and advice for her neighbors who watched her garden on a regular basis. Glenda’s garden, too, has also been a popular destination on native garden tours to inspiring many others.


At WHS Glenda served as a board member for a number of years helping to plan its speaker program and steer the organization -- and with her good eye for design due to prior careers in art, photography, typography, and graphic art – was served as its newsletter editor as well.


Born in Ione, California, Glenda had the good fortune as a child to live with her family for a few years in Mexico where she became fluent in Spanish.  Her family also instilled in her the desire to make the world a better place and while raising a young family of her own and working at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and Stanford University she was involved in innumerable contemporary issues, contributing through her art and photography and undertaking community organizing.  She was instrumental in starting the Employees Union at Stanford (SIU Local 680) and was its president for a number of years.


She continues as a working gardener and says to others that she wishes garden designers would be more thoughtful in designing a garden that lends itself to practical maintenance.  Too often gardeners are overwhelmed with the result of poor planning in that aspect.  She is a member of the gardening committee at the Palo Alto Unitarian church and for a number of years has worked on restoration of its landscaping.  Fellow committee member Nancy Neff says of Glenda “She is so active, involved, disciplined, and thoughtful, and so generous in her gifting of advice and plants, seeds, bulbs, and more.”


 Glenda continues her life long love of learning, several years ago she began studying the piano, and her friends have been delighted to follow her progress in this avocation.  All of us at Western Horticultural Society have benefited from her wide areas of interest, her generous nature, her love of plants, and the many years of service to the organization. She epitomizes the concept of our Founders Award granted to her in January 2020.

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