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NEWS: Saying Goodbye To Two Longtime Sponsors & One Horticulturist Of The Year

By Karen England, for Let's Talk Plants! January 2022.

Some of the sad news of 2021 is that the SDHS and the San Diego community at large have lost some longstanding treasured nursery businesses and a pillar of the horticultural community this year. Evergreen Nursery and Sunshine Gardens have both closed and Edgar Engert, our Horticulturist of the Year 2000, has passed away.

Evergreen was bought by another company and is no longer. Here is an excerpt from the Evergreen website about this momentous change -

"A Heartfelt Farewell from Mark Collins, owner of Evergreen Nursery

As many of you may already know, the assets and inventory at four Evergreen locations have been sold to Moon Valley Nursery and the former Evergreen locations have also been leased to Moon Valley Nursery. So, for me, writing and preparing this notification is a bittersweet task. After almost 50 years of growing almost every kind of plant and helping thousands of people landscape their homes and businesses, we decided, with a heavy heart, it was time for me to move on. My son and daughter, Steven and Stephanie Collins have been hired by Moon Valley Nursery. . .

. . . As for me, everyone who knows me, knows I like to sail and fish as well as work on the citrus and avocado trees at our home farm and that is just what I intend to do along with spending time with my wife, who has put up with me working all the time for way too many years . . .

. . . The Evergreen Nursery Website

Over the past several years, we have developed quite a following of people visiting our website to avail themselves of the mountains of garden information we have posted. In the future, we will be reorganizing our site so you will again be able to search and obtain all the helpful tips and landscaping solutions you have relied on for many years. So, please check back as we slowly remove all contact information, pricing and locations and leave you with the knowledge base we have established to help out all the thousands of gardeners who have become our friends over the years.

Have an Evergreen Nursery gift card?

If you have an Evergreen Nursery gift card, we will refund you the balance on your card. Please send a picture of the BACK of the card with your complete mailing address to: We will mail you a check within 1 business day.

Have an Evergreen Nursery merchandise voucher?

Moon Valley has agreed to honor UNEXPIRED merchandise vouchers for plant purchases at our old stores that they now operate in Carmel Valley, Oceanside and Blossom Valley."

The San Diego Horticultural Society wishes the Collins' well in their upcoming new ventures and thank them for their support of the SDHS for so many years!


Many folks were aware that Sunshine Gardens (the business) sold the land underneath its location three years ago to make way to build low-income housing that the city of Encinitas so desperately needed in order to meet state housing mandates. Unfortunately, there were no other locations in Encinitas available for Sunshine Gardens (the business) to move to, as was originally hoped at the time of the land sale, so the business closed on December 31, 2021, after 50 years of being an Encinitas "Icon" (this is according to someone at the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce).

Sunshine Gardens has been owned and operated by the same family, the Martins, for all its 50 years of business and will be greatly missed. Some of you may also know that SDHS president, Karen England, is cousin to the Martin family and was working at Sunshine the day it opened in 1971, at the tender age of 12, and she was there on December 31, 2021, the day it closed, after having worked there (on and off) all 50 years.

Just this year, the Encinitas Historical Society and San Dieguito Heritage Ranch printed a brand-new History of Encinitas book, as a fundraiser, (books available for sale here) and this is what it says about Sunshine Gardens . . .

. . . "In the early 1960s the Richard Campbell family of Torrance settled on Encinitas, known at that time as “The Flower Capital of the World”, as the perfect place to open a growing grounds and nursery.

The whole family; husband Dick, a trained horticulturist, wife Edith, stepson Ron Martin, son Dick and daughter Jacque, all worked at the renowned Palos Verdes Begonia Farm and they dreamt of a family business growing annual color plants to sell wholesale to other nurseries around Southern California. At that time, they could not afford land in Los Angeles or Orange Counties but were able to buy an affordable bit of property, several bits actually, in Encinitas. In 1963 the family moved south to start Cam-Mar Growers (a hyphenate of the Campbell and Martin names) on San Marcos Road, later renamed Encinitas Boulevard. Not long afterward in 1971 they opened the retail wing of the family business, Sunshine Gardens, selling plants to the rapidly increasing surrounding community.

Sunshine Gardens, INC. was, from the beginning, and is still owned and operated by Ron Martin and his family; kids, grandkids, and even a cousin or two. Cam-Mar Growers was owned and operated by Dick Campbell and his kids until Dick’s retirement when that business moved to 80 acres in Oceanside in 2000. Sadly, Dick passed away suddenly in 2009 and Cam-Mar Growers is no longer . . ."

The SDHS thanks Sunshine Gardens for its many years of sponsorship and wishes the whole family well as they move on to other green endeavors.


Excerpt; Remembering the life of ‘Mr. Encinitas’

by Dustin Jones, for The Coast News, February 11, 2021

Local philanthropist Edgar Engert will be remembered for his decades of public service in Encinitas and across North County. Courtesy photo above.

ENCINITAS — Edgar Engert, known locally as “Mr. Encinitas,” passed away on Jan. 10 due to complications related to COVID-19. He was 84 years old.

The longtime philanthropist will be remembered for his many contributions to the city that aimed to bring everyone together...

. . .Edgar was involved in a number of local organizations throughout the city, including the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Encinitas, Del Mar Fair Flower and Garden Show, San Diego Botanic Gardens, San Dieguito Heritage Museum and California State Florist Association.

After 40 years of dedicated service, Edgar became the longest-standing member on the board of the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA. During his time as both YMCA staff and leadership, Edgar also served on committees for the Poinsettia Ball and Roof Raisers Golf Tournament. Edgar served in many capacities for the local organization, including florist, tour guide and volunteer docent at Ecke Ranch . . .

. . . In 2006, Edgar received the YMCA of San Diego County’s Golden Triangle of Distinguished Service Award, honoring individuals each year for outstanding service. . . "

Edgar Engert was also the SDHS Horticulturist of the Year 2000 and he is sorely missed.


Circa 1973, Karen Richter (England), approximately age 14, at work at Sunshine Gardens. Photo credit, a visiting Uncle.

Karen England wouldn't be the president of the San Diego Horticultural Society if it weren't for Sunshine Gardens. You have them to either blame or thank, depending.


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