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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.

A Place to Learn

Dear Friends,

photo by Saxon Holt
photo by Saxon Holt

Cathy McCarty and Julie Montanari, Master Gardener Sustainable Landscaping team members
Cathy McCarty and Julie Montanari, Master Gardener Sustainable Landscaping team members; photo by Kathy Switky

Master Gardener's President, Leslie Parent
Leslie Parent, Master Gardener President; photo by Kathy Switky

Botanical Gardens are beautiful, inspiring and provide a welcome respite, but they are also places to learn.  This Fall we have established two new, in-depth class series to help you do that.

For the first time, SFBG will host the highly-regarded Master Gardener "Growing Urban Edibles" class series.  There were limited spaces for this 12-week intensive course, and they filled early.  However, we have the privilege of having two half-day, hands on workshops taught by the same level of instructors who teach the full course.

The first course, Growing Urban Edibles: Fall Workshop will be about harvesting, using, preserving your bounty, and starting your Fall garden takes place on Saturday August 21, 9 am to 1 pm.

Next up is Growing Urban Edibles: Winter Workshop. This offering focuses on growing winter vegetables, renewing the soil, choosing fruit trees and berries, pruning and tool care, and takes place on Saturday, October 16, also  9 am to 1 pm.

These workshops are a terrific way to become involved in the best of the best horticultural training for non-professionals.  Register now, before they fill up!

The Master Gardener workshops and the full series are the result of discussions between the Society and the Master Gardener Program administered through the UC Cooperative Extension.  We are delighted with this new relationship and the ability to offer such an outstanding level of gardening education here in San Francisco.

More exciting master classes we are adding this year are a series of photography courses led by reknowned garden photographer, Saxon Holt. Saxon has worked with us to establish an evening lecture, "Picture the Enduring Garden", a day-long Master Photography Workshop, and a series of half-day workshops in October.

The "Enduring Garden" lecture will be co-taught by Lucy Tolmach, Head Gardener at Filoli, and will combine garden design with garden photography.  For more hands-on and in-depth instruction the Master Photography Workshop and October workshops will allow a small group of avid photographers to work closely with Saxon to develop their observational and photography skills.  Register with Kitty Fisher at (415) 661-1316, ext. 400.

A little farther in the future there will be a significant addition to our pilot Edible Garden project.  A grant from the Creative Work Fund will bring together outstanding landscape and environmental artist Topher Delaney and the Botanical Garden to provide a lively and fun garden where visitors can learn how to grow their own food and enjoy doing it.  I will keep you up to date on that project and the programming around it as it progresses.

Now is a great time to visit the Garden, and I hope I will see you here very soon.

Warm best wishes,


Michael McKechnie
Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society


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