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Join us for monthly Western Hort programs designed to inform, educate and inspire the dedicated plant lover. Meetings are currently available via Zoom and links are sent monthly to all members who provide email contact information. Meetings are a benefit of  WHS membership. We also currently have a sharing agreement for meetings with the California Horticultural Society. Our members will receive links to the their monthly Zoom meetings and we will send them links to ours.

Meetings are held 9 times a year on the second Wednesday of the month and feature a lecture and slide presentation by a guest horticultural specialist. Each program also includes a member-led discussion and photos of unusual plants.

Future in-person meetings, when feasible, will be held at the Garden House in Shoup Park, 400 University Ave, Los Altos.

Located near Lincoln Ave.

In-person meetings often include a sale of diverse plant varieties donated by members and local nurseries as well as books, seeds, tools and other horticultural items on occasion.  All are welcome!

Our Upcoming February Meeting will be in-person
in the Garden House at Shoup Park in Los Altos

If you enjoy the talks given at our meetings and want to help the Western Horticultural Society sustain our program, you might like to sponsor one of our speakers! Your donation helps cover the costs of hosting a speaker and we will note your name as sponsor in our newsletter. You can choose the month or speaker of your choice or perhaps you have a speaker you would like to propose? Contact Leslie Dean about donations or questions.   

Photo by  Rob Cardillo

February 8, 2023,  7:30pm,

Of Heartbreak and Flowers: the Domoto family and their horticultural legacy in US

With Eric Hsu

How many of you have relished a Japanese persimmon in autumn and enjoyed a camellia blossom in winter? Neither would have existed on our shores if not for the presence of Japanese immigrants who sought better opportunities here.

By necessity, the Japanese Americans took up farming and growing plants when other professions were closed to them. England and France may claim dynastic families, the Veitch and the Lemoine, in horticulture, but US can boast worthy rivals. One rival would have been the Domoto family whose nurseries in the Bay Area exerted tremendous influence in California’s burgeoning agricultural and horticultural scene.

From its inception in 1885 until its bankruptcy in 1936, the Domoto Brothers Nursery was the largest nursery of its kind spanning 40 acres and 230,000 square feet of greenhouses.

Its large staff drawn from waves of Japanese immigration grew, prepared and shipped orders of all sizes to estates, parks, farms, and other nurseries. Some of these staff left to start their businesses which catapulted California’s status as the golden state of horticulture.

The Domoto Nursery, a second iteration started by the former California Horticultural Society president Toichi Domoto, continued the tradition of selecting and breeding ornamental plants, many of which are still cultivated in Bay Area gardens. 

A native of New York, Eric Hsu was inspired to pursue plants as a passion and a profession after becoming involved in his Taiwanese grandparents’ vegetable garden. His childhood was marked by visits to garden centers, specialty nurseries, and public gardens.

Eric’s love of plants has taken him overseas to United Kingdom (his favorite public garden is RBG Edinburgh) and Tasmania, Australia where he worked and did graduate research in botany.

His current interest in Asian American history in horticulture stems from his longstanding concern about overlooked voices, especially of minorities, and the need to keep the stories alive and relevant. Eric currently works as the Plant Information Coordinator at Chanticleer near Philadelphia, PA.

March 8, 2023,  7:30pm,

Making Hypertufa Troughs

With John Tsutakawa

Trough gardening has become popular in rock gardening. It’s a perfect container for growing small alpine and other plants. It allows exact control of the soil medium, minimizes competition from larger plants, and is great for presentation. Originally rock gardeners used stone troughs, such as those used for watering horses. However, as stone troughs became scarce and expensive,

ingenious gardeners figured out how to use a hypertufa mix with cement

to create a facsimile of stone. 

This talk will cover hypertufa trough making. John will explain how to use forms and molds,

hypertufa recipes, using reinforcement, finishing, curing and planting. 


John specializes in alpine container and rock gardening. He grows and propagates alpine plants,

as well as Meconopsis (blue poppies).

He volunteered at the volunteer nursery at the San Francisco Botanic Garden from around 1998 to 2019, and more recently volunteers at the Gardens at Lake Merritt

and serves on the Board of the FGLM.

John has made troughs for over twenty years, using molds and wooden frames.

Recently John designed and organized the Rock Garden at the Gardens at Lake Merritt.

This garden includes 12 large troughs and a center crevice garden. The troughs were made around the start of the pandemic and were finally planted in February, 2021.


April 12, 2023,  7:30pm,

The Ins & Outs, Ups & Downs of Succulent Container Gardening

With Martin Quigley

Martin will describe the whole process of container gardening with succulents. This

includes choosing the plants, the containers, the planting material and a design for

placement in the garden. Always keeping in mind that some succulents will outgrow

the container, he will discuss what to do when that happens.

Martin F. Quigley, MLA, PhD, Executive Director, UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic

Garden since 2016, has been employed as a nursery laborer, horticulturist, landscape

architect, land planner, environmental consultant, field ecologist and researcher, and

professor of botany. He has worked in New York, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado,

Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Florida, as well as in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica,

Nicaragua, Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Turkey and Lebanon.

Quigley attended Deep Springs College in California, and earned his B.A. in

Comparative Literature at Cornell University, M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture at

Utah State University, and Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Ecology at Louisiana State


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May 10, 2023,  7:30pm,

Hardworking Herbs

With Rose Lovell

Hardworking herbs are the culinary stars, the medicinal marvels, the pollinator magnets and the landscape design workhorses. Learn more about incorporating basic and unusual herbs into your designs with the owner of Morningsun Herb Farm, Rose Loveall. She will speak about the extensive and sometimes unusual uses of some of the lesser known herbs that will add color, fragrance and texture to your planting designs. Starting from the soil up, she will discuss soil preparation, site selection, and basic herb requirements for all of your favorite herbs. Learn about growing the basic herbs, plus many fun and unusual culinary and medicinal herbs, tea herbs, fragrant herbs and herbs to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Herbs are such great sturdy additions to your garden, not just relegated to your herb garden, but planted throughout your yard. 


A brief history of the nursery:

Rose Loveall’s family-owned nursery and display gardens have been in operation since 1995. They grow over 500 species of herbs, vegetables, unusual and drought-tolerant perennials and pollinator plants. They specialize in a huge selection of lavenders, propagating over 45 varieties in their greenhouses. Their display gardens, located in the family walnut orchard, are wonderful teaching tools for gardeners, chefs, herbalists, and crafters. If you visit, take a picnic to relax in the gardens and some extra treats to share with their donkeys.

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