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Patrick Anderson
Sub-Region: Southern California Coastal, Inland
State: California
Horticulturist & Garden Lecturer

Biographical Information

I'm a native of Southern California. I was raised in the San Gabriel Valley, where my interest in gardening showed up very early. Now that I'm retired, I spend most of my time tending my two-acre garden in Fallbrook, a good part of which is dedicated to plants from South Africa, Australia, and other Mediterranean climates.

I'm an "amateur" in the true sense of the word - one who does something purely for the love of it. I am completely self-taught. My learning process sped up dramatically when I began volunteering at the Huntington Botanical Garden 16 years ago, working in plant propagation and plant sales.

I've developed something of a second career as a speaker on plants, garden design and garden history. I've enjoyed sharing my travels through slide lectures on European and American gardens. I've also organized and led garden tours in California for the American Horticultural Society and other travel companies.

My garden has been profiled in Traditional Home, Horticulture, Sunset, and San Diego Home & Garden magazines; and I appeared on the PBS television show "The Victory Garden" before it went off the air.

Please tell us briefly about your favorite cause/business/product in which you are involved that you would like to share with the general public and why.

Where can members get more of your advice?
Come to one of my occasional lectures, or find me at the Huntington or Quail Gardens plant sales! I also teach at the Master Gardener workshop each spring.

Background Information

Briefly describe the climate where you garden now (climate zone, state, area) and any other areas where you have gardened in the past.
I've spent my whole life in Southern California - it truly is a gardener's paradise. I currently garden in Fallbrook, north of San Diego; I think my zone is 9A.

How long have you been gardening?
Around 45 years. Yes, I got a very early start!

What triggered your interest?

What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
What seems to have "put me on the map" is my interest in gardening with succulents. My 1/2 acre succulent garden is what everyone wants to see, although it is by no means what my entire garden is about.

What formal education do you have?
See biographical comments above. My college degree is in something completely unrelated; as far as horticulture, I'm completely self-taught.

What formal horticultural training do you have?

What is your favorite garden or plant-related topic? Tell us a little about them.

What is your biggest gardening pet peeve? Tell us about it.
The term "horticulturalist." There is no such word! Look it up in the dictionary - it's "horticulturist."

How much time per week do you spend gardening?
Since I'm not in the "business," I only garden for pleasure. Depending on what else I have going on in my life, it can range from 10 to 40 hours a week, or more. My garden is pretty forgiving - if I get involved in other projects, it will wait for me.

How much time per week do you spend working at the business of gardening, such as consulting, reading, writing or talking about your gardening subject?
With the exception of the occasional lecture or class, none.

What gardening or horticultural clubs, societies, or organizations (or any other interest) do you belong to?
San Diego Horticultural Society (founding board member); American Hort. Society; Cactus & Succulent Society of America.

Patrick's Book Recommendations

Patrick's Favorite Websites

Garden Web
Great forums on every topic imaginable.

What other biographical information would you like to share?

Gardening Questions

What do you like most about gardening?

What do you dislike most about gardening?
Cleaning up after myself. I LOVE to prune, but I hate to pick it all up. Thank goodness for Ben, my wonderful gardener of 18 years.

What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?

What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
Puttering at my potting bench.

What is your favorite time in the garden?
Unlike most gardeners, I am NOT a morning person; so I would have to say twilight, right after the sun goes behind the hill. The whole garden glows in that light.

What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
The Huntington is near and dear to my heart, having volunteered there for so many years.

What is your favorite color in the garden?
This changes with my mood, and with the season. Currently, I am enamored of purple and orange - together.

If you could grow only one plant, what would it be?
That's too tough to answer.

What plant have you tried to grow that has given you the most trouble? Or, what plant would you like to grow and can't, and why?
There is something in my soil that proteas don't like. They grow & thrive for a year or two, then simply die overnight. Also, there is a particular aloe, A. polyphilla, that I have managed to kill several times. It's the most beautiful succulent on the planet, but it just doesn't succeed in my climate.

What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
I wouldn't call it a costume, but it has become something of my trademark: I am never outside without one of my French cotton scarves on my head. And a hat, of course.

Do you have a gardening philosophy you would like to share with other gardeners? What is it?

Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?
Without question, it was the late Christopher Lloyd. I was lucky to count him as a personal friend; his unique combination of encyclopedic knowledge and irreverence was inspiring, and will not likely be found again.

What is the one question about gardening you would really like people to ask you?

And what's the answer?

What is a garden myth you hear frequently which you know is untrue?

And, what is the reality?

What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?

Would you like to participate, or can you recommend someone who you think should? We're always looking for more expert gardeners to tell about their philosophies and give their plant recommendations contact us and we'll get started (it's easy and a great way to promote yourself).

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