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By Karen England, for Let's Talk Plants! January 2023.

Wix stock photo.
“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” ~ Confucius

Is your mind boggled by the new year being 2023?

Mine sure is.

Pantone’s Color of the Year, Viva Magenta 18-1750, vibrates with vim and vigor. It is a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength. Viva Magenta is brave and fearless, and a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative. This year’s Color of the Year is powerful and empowering. It is a new animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying, and a boundaryless shade that is manifesting as a stand-out statement. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta welcomes anyone and everyone with the same verve for life and rebellious spirit. It is a color that is audacious, full of wit and inclusive of all.”

The good folks at Sunset add this…

“There’s the Color of the Year (Pantone called it with Viva Magenta), but did you know there’s also the Plant of the Year? Yep, that’s right, the trend forecasting doesn’t stop with color and paint. Recently deemed the 2023 Plant of the Year the calathea rattlesnake, Goeppertia insignis.”

"This striking plant represents new beginnings, good luck, and positivity — three things we expect the new year to bring."

Ginger rhizome, the 2023 Herb of the Year™️, found in WiX stock photos.

But that’s not all, the International Herb Association has named Ginger the 2023 Herb of the Year™️ and your president, me, has authored a chapter in the forthcoming IHA HOY book.

The SDHS Horticulturist of the Year for 2023, is Robert Lutticken of Abraxas Garden in Poway.

And speaking of HOY, our HOY that is, the SDHS Horticulturist of the Year for 2023, is Robert Lutticken of Abraxas Garden in Poway. The presentation meeting will take place in the garden on Saturday January 21, 2023. More about this in another column of this newsletter.

This year I will have been SDHS newsletter editor-in-chief for four years and president for three. How did that happen? It seems like I just started… Well, there was a pandemic thrown into the mix that threw all sense of time out the window but still, I’m not going to be able to use the “I’m new at this” excuse anymore. So, while I’m working on a new excuse, here’s how we are doing:

"In a nutshell, great!" ~ Karen England

· We are holding steady at around 530 members. (Highlights to the membership numbers - there are, in addition to the 24 Business, Sponsor and Student members, currently about 150 Household members, 295 Individual members and 51 Life members. Which are you? Check your membership level by logging into your membership at

· We are keeping our membership/renewal costs as they have been, they are not being raised for the foreseeable future. This is thanks to the visionary leadership of past presidents and wise previous board decisions that we were able to weather the pandemic well, considering that other societies and groups like us had to fold or raise dues substantially to continue. Between memberships and our major fundraiser, the Spring Garden Tour, our post pandemic financial situation remains strong.

· We recently added a new board member, Dave Ericson, who is taking over leadership of the Spring Garden Tours and the Sharing Gardens. Also, this year, thanks in no small part to outgoing Garden Tour chair, John Beaudry, for organizing a garden tour collaboration idea, Dave is running with it and working with the APLD, Association of Professional Landscape Designers in San Diego, specifically with Angela Benson and Lisa Bellora, to arrange for new and exciting gardens for us to tour in March 2023. More info to come! Here’s the current board of directors:

o Karen England, President and newsletter editor-in-chief

o Ray Brooks, Treasurer

o Ken Kubarych, Secretary and acting membership coordinator

o Donna Mallen, Programs

o Jim Bishop, Publicity and acting past president

o Karon DeLeon, Volunteer coordinator

o Dave Ericson, Garden tours and sharing gardens

o Roy Wilburn, Scholarships and school garden grants

o Jason Chen, Member-at-large

· We still need a Membership Coordinator board member. Board applications can be found on our website here. Please join the board as Dave Ericson has! Board meetings are held bi-monthly on the third Monday of every other month starting in January (meetings are at 6pm on Zoom.) Unless otherwise noted, general meetings are in-person at CBI and/or on Zoom on the second Monday of every month so, even if you can’t meet in-person due to ongoing health concerns, etc., please still consider applying for a board position.

· Our newsletter, Let’s Talk Plants! always needs guest columnists, regular columnists and editors. Have an article idea? Send it by the 15th of any month to be included in the following issue as a guest contributor. Regular columns in LTP! need only to be garden or hort society related in some way and can be monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or higgledy-piggledy depending on the subject, season and the author. Current needs are for an editor for the From the Archives column and a co-author to rotate with Susan Lewitt for the monthly Going Wild with Natives column. Our regular columnists are:

o Robin Rivet and Tim Clancy who rotate writing the monthly Trees, Please! column.

o Jim Bishop who writes the bimonthly My Life in Plants column which rotates with Ida Rigby’s bimonthly column Botanical Encounters.

o Cathy Tylka edits the monthly Sharing Secrets column.

o Susan Lewitt writes bimonthly for the monthly Going Wild with Natives column and Sharon Reeve writes ReWild quarterly.

o Jim Bethke writes The Bug Man bimonthly.

o Sommer Cartier writes Grow in Abundance bimonthly. And, when applicable to Sommer’s topics, Karen England writes Come into the Kitchen, Gardener, a column sharing delicious recipes for enjoying the seasonal garden abundance that Sommer writes about.

o Artist and gardener, Francesca Filanc, writes the very popular monthly Garden Surroundings column, merging her garden and painting inspirations. Recently a local magazine has asked Francie to write for them as well and she’s spreading the joy of gardening all around our county.

o Diane Kennedy writes the important bimonthly Permaculture column.

o Lynn Neagley writes the monthly calendar of events.

o Sharon Tooley gives periodic updates from The Palomar District of the California Garden Clubs of which we are a member.

o Special thanks to Trudy Thompson our proofreader and Rachel Cobb our webmaster.

Be sure to read each issue of Let’s Talk Plants! There is so much to learn from every contributor.

As we say goodbye to 2022, and look forward to 2023, I would like to wish you a very happy new year,

~ Karen England, president and newsletter editor-in-chief, San Diego Horticultural Society.


In addition to being president and newsletter editor-in-chief for the San Diego Horticultural Society, Karen England is the herbologist owner and operator at, where she has a new podcast called Herbs Make the Difference found on Apple Podcasts and most other podcast platforms. She is also a board member of the International Herb Association and a member-at-large of the Herb Society of America. If you haven't caught on yet, herbs are her thing.

“A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.” ~ Francis Bacon, from The Essays,1597


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