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MONTHLY MEETING: Gardenlust: A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens

Paripuma, New Zealand.  Photo credit Rosa Davison

Christopher Woods, garden consultant and former Director and Chief Designer of Chanticleer Gardens, has recently returned from three years traveling the world seeking out contemporary gardens. He found fifty of the best, which he describes in his new book, Gardenlust: A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens. On March 11, he will join us to describe public parks in exotic locations like New Delhi and Dubai, mission-redefining botanic gardens in Chile and Australia, as well as lavish private estates and gem-like city yards. He will also share the fascinating people, plants, and stories that made these gardens so lust-worthy.

Widely recognized as an outstanding horticulturalist, Chris has received a Professional Citation for significant achievements in public horticulture from the American Public Garden Association and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is a sought-after public speaker and author of The Encyclopedia of Perennials: a gardener’s guide.

Chris started his career at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, where he trained as a horticulturist. In 1981, he came to the United States and served as Director and Chief Designer of Chanticleer Garden, a forty-eight-acre botanical garden built on the grounds of the Rosengarten estate. There he transformed a moribund private estate into one of America’s most exuberant, romantic and flamboyant gardens. Subsequently, he served as the Vice President for Horticulture and External Operations for the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and then as the Executive Director of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in Ojai, California. In 2006 he assumed the position of Director of the Van Dusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. While pleased to be in Canada, his heart yearned for California and in 2008 he moved to become Executive Director of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden.


Chris moved to Pennsylvania to become Director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Meadowbrook Farm in 2012. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society commissioned him to design the central feature for the Philadelphia International Flower Show in 2013, after which he returned to California to establish a consulting business. Some of his clients are the Flora of North America Association and the Friends of the Bakuriani Alpine Botanical Garden​​.

Be sure to join us on March 11. The evening starts at 6:00 PM at Congregation Beth Israel, 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego. Parking is free and everyone is welcome. Admission is free for SDHS members and $15 for non-members. For more information, call (619) 296-9215 or visit

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