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From the Director

Michael McKechnieExecutive Director Michael McKechnie
By building partnerships among diverse organizations, focusing on creative programming, and establishing the right priorities, Executive Director Michael McKechnie has managed the successful growth of four vital nonprofits and served on the governing boards of a number of research, fundraising and civic organizations where he has provided governance, financial, and strategic planning oversight.

Heirloom Tomatoes in San Francisco Gardens??!!

Dear Friends,

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Rose; photo by Taylor Campion

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Platycerium bifurcatum, Staghorn fern; photo by Taylor Campion

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Leucospermum; photo by Taylor Campion

Abies numidica by Eric Hunt
Succulent pot; photo by Taylor Campion

It's about 70 degrees today and sunny. Very nice weather after the rains and cold we have experienced. Those rains of course have prepared us for a beautiful spring and summer.

I needed to take a walk down to the Nursery today on some business and found myself practically wading through groups of school children touring the garden with docents and teachers. Flowering trees perfumed the air and all along the pathways were vibrant flowers and greening shrubs.

Once at the Nursery I was impressed by the large number of volunteers turned out to pot up, prune and groom plants for the upcoming mother of all plant sales. This will be the Garden's 43rd Annual Plant Sale, and the excitement among plant aficionados is clearly growing.

There will be more than 4,000 kinds of plants, many rare and from the Garden's own collections. I hear there will actually be food plants that we can grow in coastal Northern California, including heirloom tomatoes! That makes my midwestern heart beat just a little faster could I really grow and harvest my own delicious tomatoes? This may be the year to give it a try.

There will be 15 varieties of native Ceanothus, the fragrant California "wild lilac", and new forms of staghorn ferns, including, I think one from my own collection if it "pups" before show time. Somehow one of our charming nursery volunteers talked me into donating it for the cause. Now how did I let that happen?

Of course, you know that Friday, April 30 at 5:00 the gates open to the Sale for members only. This is perhaps the best reason to join or re-up. You get in early, you get refreshments, and if you are a member at the $125 level you get a pre-party, don't have to stand in line and you have your own entrance to the Sale when it opens at 5:00.

And did I forget to mention the Silent Auction? Each year I watch as the selection in this category becomes ever more beautiful and rare. I'm supposed to be working but it's awfully tempting to bid early and often!

You get the picture. This is one heck of a sale and this year will be no exception. I am ceaselessly amazed by the ability of Dr. Don Mahoney and his 80 or so volunteers as they rebuild inventory and search for just the right plants to help us build our own gardens.

I hope to see you on the 30th. Remember that the sale is open to the general public on Saturday May 1 as well from 10:00 to 2:00. You can come back if you forgot something; there is still plenty to see and buy.

I hope to see you there. It will be a great way to celebrate spring and the end to winter.

Warm best wishes,


Michael McKechnie
Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society


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