MY NAME IS Katharine
The horticultural genes in my family reach back to my Great-great Uncle George Pinney who founded the Evergreen Nursery Company in 1864 in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin. Family reunions were held at the nursery homestead and some of my fondest memories are of my Great Uncle Clarence giving me a tour of the grounds and orchards. My father, a plant pathologist, continued my green education with practical gardening advice as I helped him plant the vegetable gardens that took up a third of our backyard and later the pea patch behind the university. Right plant, right place, healthy soil, healthy plants - these simple lessons I learned as a child to this day serve as the foundation to my planting plans.
We left Wisconsin and my tween, teen and college years were spent in the considerably warmer climes of Seattle. Seattle is rich with gardens, public and private: botanical preserves and arboretums replete with Northwest native plants, exquisitely crafted Japanese gardens, the quiet grace of the historic Dunn Gardens designed by the Olmstead brothers, and of course, verdant front yards spilling over with the proud amateur gardener’s plant collection. Living there offered me an impromptu garden history and landscape design course. After completing my BA in theatre from the University of Washington, Seattle, I made my way to Los Angeles and landed in Pasadena, settling into a historic tudor bungalow courtyard. It was there that I found my gardening groove and planted a delightful, out of control English cottage garden which led to “geeking out” on all things horticulture. This passion led me to secure my horticultural certification from UCLA. Eventually, I moved a little south to the Highland Park, a community full of historic bungalows and Arts and Crafts homes making it one of the largest Historic Preservation Zones in Los Angeles.
In the past 16 years, I worked with the Los Angeles City Council District 1 on various Northeast LA neighborhood beautification projects through the Adopt A Median program, oversaw staff and volunteers at the Casita Verde Preschool at the historic Ziegler Estate in Highland Park so they could realize their school garden, designed a Green Ribbon award winning school garden for New Horizon School in Pasadena, and spearheaded Urban Rancho – A Sustainable Garden Party, an educational free community event at the Lummis Home and at Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park. Additionally, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts selected me for participation several times; being able to dream up and install gardens for homes designed by architects such as Paul Revere Williams and G. Lawrence Stimson was indeed an honor.
The Arts and Crafts movement took hold here in sunny Southern California and its gardening philosophy has greatly influenced my work. Gardens are extension of the home and can consist of a series of “rooms” whether the garden be large or small. Plantings tend toward the naturalistic, even if contained within an orderly layout of beds, with sweeps of colors more towards the subdued range of the color wheel. And always the garden is a reflection of the unique style and needs of my clients and a sanctuary from the crazy bustle of city living.