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Jan Brider

Sub-Region: Southern California Coastal, Inland
State: California
Business: Consulting Rosarian

Biographical Information

Jan is an Orange County Master Gardener and member of the American Rose Society ARS. She is an active member of the Orange County Rose Society and has received the ARS Bronze Medal for her involvement in the local society. She is also a Consulting Rosarian and active weekend gardener. Her love of gardening started at an early age on her grandparents farm in Indiana. Jan grows over 200 roses and companion plants at her Yorba Linda, CA home in a country garden setting. Fairies and elves have also come to live in the garden due to Jan's new hobby of making Fairy gardens and the pet worms are working hard to make her compost. Jan is also the Rose Show chairperson for the annual OCRS Rose Show at Rogers Gardens and is often asked to be a speaker on Gardening subjects.

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.
I had the opportunity to have my garden on the Mary Lou Heard Tour - This tour called "Real Gardens by Real People supports the following charities. The Sheepfold www.theshepfold.org supports homeless, abused women with children, Donation of a Horticultural Sponsorship and the OC Foundation for Oncology and Families. It felt so good to open my garden for such a worthy cause and a joy to spend the day talking to my wonderful guests that donated over $400.

Where can members get more of your advice?
I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 am so lucky to be here in Southern California in Sunset zone 23 which is the thermal belt of the Southern California's costal climate, The temperatures are mild and we seldom get any frost. Having transplanted from the Midwest, I miss some of the plants that I used to grow there but the fact that I can have roses all year make up for some of the plants that I miss and hybridizers are always hard at work to bring us versions of the plants that I miss.

How long have you been gardening?
Originally from the Midwest and we rented an apartment. I asked the landlord if I could plant a tomato plant. When I asked if I could also plant a rose bush she said NO. I planted it at my fathers in laws house. We moved to California in 1975 and bought our first home. I have been gardening every since!

What triggered your interest?
I grew up in Chicago but spent my summers and vacations on my grand parents farm in Indiana. My grandmother was a wonderful inspiration as she grew vegetables, fruits and flowers. She did all of her own canning and rarely went to the store for anything more than canning supplies. Her flowers were lovely and everything came from seeds and cuttings.

What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
As a Consulting Rosarian and Master Gardener, I have had the opportunity to educate the public on my passion for gardening. Having over 200 roses and my membership to OCRS has given me the opportunity to learn about growing roses and I want to pass on what I have learned on to other people who are interested in growing rose. My specialty is teaching the basics and taking the mystery out of growing roses.

Jan's Book Recommendations

Sunset Western Garden Book
Excellent reference book for Southern California

The Ultimate Gardening Book
This book is packed with inspiration, practical tips and great pictures.

  Jan's Favorite Websites

Help Me Find Roses
This is one of the best sites to find rose information.

Pacific Southwest District of AARS
This is an AARS related site and it has some wonderful rose articles and rose of the month.

This is another very informative rose related site.

What formal education do you have?

What formal horticultural training do you have?
My formal education applies to my profession as a Customer Service Manager, however I take classes related to gardening when I can. I am a Master Gardener and a Consulting Rosarian which required classes and testing to become certified.

What is your favorite garden or plant-related topic? Tell us a little about them.
I speak on several garden related topics: Roses 101 takes my students thru the yearly cycle of growing roses. I teach the basics and help people understand how to take care of them and still be kind to nature. I also teach 10 Tips for Small gardens and my newest class is about Fairy Gardening. Last year I started Square Foot Gardening and will put a program together next year.

What is your biggest gardening pet peeve? Tell us about it.
Finding that a new plant has been cut down by insects.

How much time per week do you spend gardening?
I average about 8 to 12 hours per week. Not so much in the winter months but a lot more in the spring and summer. My home is usually featured on garden tours and then is when I am in gear getting ready for guests. The rest of the time it is as time permits

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?
I work full time as a Customer Service/Administration Manager in LA so I am not home much during the week. In the summer months I start and end each day with a walk in the garden. My weekends give me more time for gardening and I am active in two gardening organizations with monthly meeting. I also take monthly garden related outings with my Wandering Gardening friends. I have a considerable library of wonderful gardening books and read 3 to 4 magazines each month. I talk about gardening every chance I get!

What gardening or horticultural clubs, societies, or organizations (or any other interest) do you belong to?
I am a member of The American Rose Society ARS The Orange County Rose Society OCRS and Orange County Master Gardeners.

What other biographical information would you like to share?

Gardening Questions

What do you like most about gardening?
Gardening is an incredible escape from the daily grind. When I walk thru my garden, I am entertained by the music of insects and chimes, the smells of my herbs and roses, birds and butterflies, the beauty of the blooms, the tranquility all around me and occasionally a fairy in my fairy gardens. I find joy in every minute.

What do you dislike most about gardening?
The frustration that I feel when I loose a plant due to negligence.

What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?
My love of gardening started at a very early age on my Grandparents farm in Indiana. My Grandmother gardened for food put on the table. She did a lot of canning and very little was ever purchased from stores. Her flowers were abundant and I can remember her planting seeds and propagating slips donated by friends. She has been an inspiration to me. I would like to think that she wound be happy to see my little garden and know she planted the seed in me.

What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
My favorite activity is entertaining in the garden. We have a large patio and I prepare many meals to be served outside. Often my husband and I will have breakfast or dinner in the garden and often at night we will sit outside and have tea or coffee. The garden is a special place in the moon light.

What is your favorite time in the garden?
My favorite time in the garden is the morning when the birds and butterflies are there. It is quiet and peaceful except the frenzy at the birdfeeders.

What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC was the most beautiful garden that I have seen. It was in the fall and the colors were incredible. There are 55 acres of garden displays and I feel like I walked for miles. There was beauty everywhere and when you consider that it all started with an abandoned lime quarry and a vision it is amazing.

What is your favorite color in the garden?
Purple although there are just touches of it in my garden. I see it wherever it is and enjoy its royalty. I especially like to find it next to red which would be my second favorite color.

If you could grow only one plant, what would it be?
Hoping I don't need it for food - If I moved to a tiny apartment and could only have one garden plant it would be a rose. Knowing me though, I would figure out a way to get more!

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?
I have probably killed more ferns than any plant. I keep buying them but they can't seem to tolerate the neglect and eventually they dry out and die. I bought a nice maiden hair fern and put it in the kitchen but time will tell.

What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
When I spray, I have an old full length raincoat, mask, floppy hat, gloves etc and one day I was out early in the morning spraying. My young neighbor came out to get the paper and saw me and went screaming back in the house to get his dad. We all had a good laugh!

Do you have a gardening philosophy you would like to share with other gardeners? What is it?
Stop and look for the beauty as it is everywhere. Take time to look at the details and appreciate the glory in nature. As we rush thru life we seldom take the time so really see the beauty around us. Watch the humming bird and try to see the wings, find the design on the veins on the leaves and look down the center of a plant to see the center of it's life. Now when you step back you will appreciate your garden even more because you will know the beauty that it stores.

Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?
Paul James, Master Gardener has 1/2 hours show on HGTV. I love his down to earth style and advise about garden basics.

What is the one question about gardening you would really like people to ask you?
If you were going to do your garden again would you do it differently?

And what's the answer?
The answer is yes, Over time, I became increasingly more interested in water conservation. The garden has a country garden theme and the main plants are roses. The garden developed in stages and as I became more knowledgeable, the garden design was better. The good news is that gardening is a work in process for me so I am always making changes and improvements. My next garden will be even more drought tolerant with more succulents.

What is a garden myth you hear frequently which you know is untrue?
Roses are hard to grow.

And, what is the reality?
When I teach people about roses one of the first things that I point out is the poor neglected roses in old cemeteries and how beautiful they look. I teach a basic approach to growing roses and help people learn to enjoy there garden and reduce stress.

What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?
I love to teach and talk about gardening and I think the best target for my advise is someone that shares the love of gardening and wants to learn more. I start with the basics and can research any challenge. My specialty is roses but I also speak on garden design and Fairy Gardens.

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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