By BJ Boland.
Our August meeting started with a beautiful evening buffet that began a momentous night. This was just the third time in the Society’s history that we said farewell to an outgoing president.
Jim has been our leader for six years, in which time he expanded our membership, helped us go digital, and kept us financially sound while creating a supportive administration. He fathered six annual garden tours to support the Society’s expanding reach. He also led our move to Congregation Beth Israel, where we can socialize with one another and comfortably see slide lectures at monthly meetings.
Jim introduced Frank Mitzel, our next president (see photo at left), and then thanked: outgoing board members Sam Seat, BJ Boland, Cindy Benoit, Princess Norman, and Patty Berg; Terry Chamberlain, the 2017 San Diego County Fair SDHS garden coordinator; and our previous president, Susi Torre-Bueno. Jim also spoke of Mary James’ wonderful speaker introductions and thanked her for all the support and great programming she has given us. He expressed gratitude to Jason Chen and his helpers in preparing tonight’s event.
On a more personal note, Jim spoke tenderly of his brothers Bob and Bill, who flew up from Texas, his Aunt Betty, and Scott Borden, his life partner.
The evening’s highlight was Jim’s charming slide presentation, “My Life with Plants—Confessions of a Plantaholic.” He took us on a photographic journey with funny anecdotes. Starting with his childhood in Texas, we followed his family’s journey via plants. From tumbleweeds and his mom’s poppy seeds to an Ohio vegetable garden, and then on to Florida’s air plants and Missouri’s seasonal beds. There was a mobile home and condo, both of which saw plant magic happen. And then, a real garden overhaul in Encinitas that was just a training ground for the award winning masterpiece Jim and Scott have created in San Diego. We travelled with him around the world—from Carlsbad’s ranunculus to the walled gardens of Spain, and from Japan to South Africa.
After two standing ovations, Jim reminded us that he will still be active in the Society. He urged us all to do as he does, which is to volunteer for the joy of it.
And it has been a joy working with him. We will miss his grace and expertise as president, but luckily for us all, we can still share his goodwill and horticultural wisdom.