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People, Plants & Appreciation

Stories in the Stones


Welcome to this new feature in At The Garden. Every month we will look forward to the chance to express our appreciation of the people who make the personal difference in the vitality of our Garden, whose generosity literally makes the Garden grow.


Top photo: George and Natalie on their wedding day. Paver donated by Laura Gilkey and M. Whitney. Bottom photo: The Shoreview Girls

And don't for a second think this is only going to be about those "big donations." We know the true meaning of a gift is in the personal significance it has to the donor giving it. You will find us just as excited about gifts that may come with far fewer zeroes, but with no less love and dedication, and are as dearly needed to make the difference.

A beautiful and enduring example of the infinite diversity of our donor family occurred recently around the Fountain Plaza, as we gathered for our second dedication of Tribute Pavers. We welcomed 31 new engraved stones in permanent installation around the Fountain. The personal stories represented by those pavers were as diverse as they were heartfelt. Here's just a sampling.

SFBG Give a personal story a permanent place in the Garden.

Reserve your tribute paver now!
Download the order form and mail to: 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122 or fax to (415) 564-3901
Contact Heidi at or (415) 564-3239, ext. 304 for more information.

The Luhn Family was there to commemorate Jonathan Luhn, a poet, surfer and (for too short a time) a volunteer here at the Garden. Then there was Mary Ann Kayiatos, otherwise known as "The Flower Floozie," celebrating her 70th year with paver panache. Theo Schwabacher surprised her stepmother, longtime Botanical Garden Society trustee Cynthia Jamplis, with a paver. Jules Heumann was there to hear a special tribute by Curator Don Mahoney for his late wife, the Garden's legendary superwoman Sally Heumann. And then there were The Shoreview Girls – all dear friends from grade school -- Marcia Elmore, Mona Bourell (our Plant Collections Registrar), Kris Kelley, Marilyn Brandfass, Trella Lloyd, Denise Mullenax and Kathy Lyons. Trustee Joan Tayler unveiled a paver for her late father, the Orchid King Rod McLellan.

The Botanical Garden Society's Youth Education Program has recently earned two very different and important grants. The Mericos Foundation announced its award of $50,000 in support of our activities that serve the 10,000 young people who visit here annually to learn about science, biology and the natural world. And, thanks to advocacy from Lisille Matheson – who was so helpful in transforming this September's Garden Feast into the inspiring tribute it became to our Youth Education Program – we have received our first grant from art4moore: $2,000 for art supplies for the Children's Garden.

We welcome your comments about information in this column. Please contact CRAIG PALMER,, (415) 564-3239 ext 302.

Back to November 2011 newsletter >>