top of page

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Karen Krugman: "Open to Experiences"

By Karen Krugman.

Many of you know me. I’m your Volunteer Coordinator. With the new year just beginning, I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce myself. If we haven’t met or communicated, you must be new to the San Diego Horticultural Society! But…I will find you. There are many wonderful volunteer opportunities awaiting us all this year.

I originated on the East Coast. Born in New Jersey, I am the oldest of five girls. At the tender age of sixteen, I was shuttled off to northern Connecticut for a short stint and then made my way to Boston for graduate school. After graduating from Boston University in 1980 with an MBA, I was on my way to Madison Avenue to make my mark on the world. If being a part of the team that brought the world the Club Med Cruises and Raspberry Schweppes is making my mark, then I succeeded.

However, in my eyes, my greatest success has been raising two amazing young women. They are, in fact, responsible for me moving to California and becoming who I am today.

After thirty-six years of vertical living and riding underground, I landed in San Diego three years ago. I had absolutely no idea of how my life would change.

I have a house with a yard for the first time in forty years. There is sunshine, outdoor living, and plants, most of which were entirely new to me. My yard had been ignored for many years, but there were aeoniums (now I know what they are called) growing big as saucers as well as taller ‘Zwartkop’ aeoniums and a jade plant. These had thrived despite the previous owner’s neglect.

Blooms in Karen's Garden.

Curious about local vegetation, I joined our garden club. There I met some women who were talking about succulents…whaaaat? I began exploring these strange creatures, which led me to the San Diego Horticulture Society. My first act was to get involved with Terry Chamberlain and the SDHS Garden at the Fair. I thought I was volunteering to plant, but as it turned out, I was on the planning committee. Not long after the garden was completed, then Volunteer Coordinator, Patty Berg, and current Workshop Coordinator, Anne Murphy, recruited me to join the Board as Volunteer Coordinator.

I love the San Diego Horticultural Society for the people and the amazing workshops. Thank you Debra Lee Baldwin for my lovely container gardens, Laura Eubanks for the inspiration in planning my yard, and all of the many speakers who have provided such valuable information. I had visions of a wild garden and that is what I have. There are roses along the back fence, wildflowers popping all around, nasturtiums (grown from seed) that keep reappearing year after year. I have orchids purchased at Andy’s Orchids that appear to die, but come back annually. Every morning I inspect what nature has delivered. Today it is camellias in bloom. I built a labyrinth which is still a work in progress, since the sedum hasn’t spread completely.

My newfound love of flora and fauna led me to re-discover my artistic bent. It wasn’t long before the colors of nature inspired me to pick up the paintbrush and unearth my latent artistic talent. I work mostly in abstracts using the colors I see in the world around me. My work has been recognized at both the COAL (Carlsbad Oceanside Art League) Gallery in Carlsbad and the Off Track Gallery in Encinitas. I am very excited to marry these two aspects of my life. I have met artists who are horticulturists and horticulturists who are artists. I’m looking forward to see where the road takes me.

bottom of page