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MEETING REPORT: A Special Night at the Fair

By Lynn Langley.

SDHS members enjoyed a special evening at the San Diego County Fair on Monday, June 10, as we viewed the beautiful garden installation designed by award winning designer and author Greg Rubin and honored Jim Bishop as the 2019 Horticulturalist of the Year.

The garden, following the Fair's theme of Ozsome,included a yellow brick road, Dorothy’s house, and cutouts of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, all within a masterful display of California native plants.

Scott Borden introduced 2019 Horticulturalist of the Year, Jim Bishop. Jim has had a life-long love affair with plants. It began, according to Jim, when his mother showed him how to blow the seed puff off a dandelion and watch the seeds float away in the air. With no formal training in horticulture (Jim has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA), he has learned about plants by going to nurseries and asking endless questions, visiting all sorts of places where plants grow, and by working in his own garden.

Jim has turned his home, built on a steep slope, into a terraced wonderland with thousands of plants that bring enjoyment to visitors from all over the world. He attended the very first meeting of San Diego Horticultural Society in 1994 after being laid off from his job of 13 years in the technology industry. He decided it was time to change the direction of his life and embraced the new Society, led by its first president, Don Walker. Jim became President himself in 2011 and led SDHS for 6 years.

Scott outlined several accomplishments achieved under Jim’s stewardship: participating in the San Diego County Fair Garden Show, revamping the web site, providing assistance in upgrading and completing the member database, adding Coffee in the Garden as an event for members, resurrecting the annual Garden tours that are enjoyed by so many, and, perhaps most importantly of all, leaving office with a budget surplus!

Jim, modest as always, spent a large part of his acceptance speech honoring the 23 previous Horticulturalist of the Year recipients. He stated that he wants to be known for two things: his emphasis on the need for the San Diego Horticultural Society to keep pace with technology and his promotion of climate appropriate horticulture. We are all glad that he discovered the San Diego Horticultural Society way back in 1994 and has continued to enrich everyone with his passion for plants and the Society.

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