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Our 15th Horticulturists of the Year were Bruce and Sharon Asakawa. Between them they have two lifetimes of expertise that they have enthusiastically shared with tens of thousands of gardeners through their books, radio show, and lectures.


Authors and TV and radio personalities Bruce and Sharon Asakawa are our 2010 Horticulturists of the Year. This horticultural couple are the first co-honorees, which seems fitting, since they’re a perfect team. At our August meeting we will be privileged to recognize them for their significant contributions to horticulture in this region. We’ll also hear about favorite plants in their own garden! After over 20 years at their current home, they have a garden that is still “a work in progress," based on practical as well as whimsical considerations, personal tastes and inspirations from their travels around the world. Ranging from the rare and unusual to the more commonly available ornamentals and edibles, most of their favorites are ideal for California gardens. Find out about these favorite plants from these very popular speakers.

Bruce Asakawa has been in the nursery business for 55 years beginning in 1950 when his parents started Presidio Garden Center. It became one of the premier retail nurseries on the west coast. The business was one of the first to diversify into landscape architectural planning and contracting and FTD floral design.

He received a degree in landscape architecture from Cal Poly, Pomona and developed and taught ornamental horticulture classes for the UCSD Extension Program in addition to being a landscape architect specializing in sustainable, residential and commercial landscape design. He was seen regularly as the garden expert on PM Magazine’s television program and was a frequent guest on Sun Up San Diego. Bruce was instrumental in helping to establish the California Association of Nurserymen’s Certified Nurserymen’s program. He was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to be a member of California’s Urban Forest Advisory Council and is a certified arborist. Beginning in 1977, Bruce and Sharon owned and operated Bonita Garden Center until they sold the property in 1990. During the early nineties he became the host of West Coast Garden Line, the precursor to the Garden Compass radio show and has been with Garden Compass since its inception.

Sharon graduated from San Diego State University with a double degree in American Foreign Policy and Political Science. After marrying Bruce, she began working at Presidio Nursery in 1963, eventually managing both florist departments at Presidio and Bonita Garden Centers. With over 42 years of experience in the gardening industry, she appeared with Bruce on Over the Hedge’s television program and became co-host on the Garden Compass radio program in 2000 along with Bruce and John Bagnasco. It continues to air every Saturday morning from 8-10 on AM 1700.

Sharon was the editor of Garden Compass Magazine and Garden Compass Planting Guide publications. Bruce and Sharon’s first book, Bruce and Sharon Asakawa’s California Gardener’s Guide, is now in its 7th printing. They co-wrote with Teri Dunn the Southwestern edition of Jackson & Perkins Beautiful Roses Made Easy and the Southwestern edition of Jackson & Perkins Outstanding Perennials. With their son, Eric Asakawa, they wrote California Gardening Rhythms. Their fifth book, California Gardener’s Resource, will be available in February 2010.

In June of 2009, Sharon and John began a nationally syndicated gardening show, GardenLife, on Sunday mornings from 8-10 on AM 1000 and streaming live on Sharon, Bruce and John also launched the website for the latest on all things gardening. radio program in 2000 along with Bruce and John Bagnasco. It continues to air every Saturday morning from 8-10 on AM 1700.

We are delighted that the knowledgeable and community-minded Asakawas have been selected as our Horticulturists of the Year for 2010.

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