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Front Yard Gardens Take Center Stage

October 25, 2013 9:00 am - 2:30 pm
The Gardens at Heather Farm: Walnut Creek, CA
Ruth Bancroft Horticultural Series
Fall 2013

One of the latest trends in gardening is creating exciting landscapes in the front yard. No need to limit your imagination to the backyard any more, with just the boring bare minimum parked out front—a patch of lawn, a row of shrubbery. You can have plenty of fun between the stoop and the street. Borders filled with perennials, annuals, and shrubs; habitats for butterflies and birds; even edibles. Not only will you enjoy the view, but so will your neighbors, and you’ll amp up the beauty and plant diversity of your community. Talk about curb appeal!

Our speakers include a lively mix of writers, designers, and garden experts. Gordon Hayward is a garden designer, author of eleven books, and contributing magazine writer and editor. His outstanding personal garden has been a longtime favorite in the Garden Conservancy’s popular Open Days program. Award-winning writer Evelyn Hadden is founder of the LessLawn website and author of several books, including her latest, Beautiful No-Mow Yards. Acclaimed guru of grasses, writer, and garden designer John Greenlee is the owner of Greenlee & Associates and author of The American Meadow Garden and The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses. Garden designer and author Ivette Soler champions the use of fruits and vegetables front-and-center in her recent book, The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden. And Vera Gates creates stunning, sustainable, and functional front-yard landscapes as a principal with San Francisco-based Arterra Landscape Architects. Read more about our speakers.

Come join us for a day of lectures, lunch, book signings, and garden tours.

This Ruth Bancroft Horticultural Seminar is presented by the Garden Conservancy and the Ruth Bancroft Garden and co-sponsored by the Gardens at Heather Farm, the Pacific Horticulture Society and Timber Press.  

Acknowledgements - Hotel and Travel
Thank you to the Walnut Creek Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Holiday Inn Express Walnut Creek for travel support and hotel lodging of our out-of-town seminar speakers.

Date and time
Friday, October 25, 2013

9 a.m.                          Check-in and registration
9:15 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.    Lectures, lunch, book sales
3 p.m.                          Garden tours and a sunset reception at the water-wise garden of 
                                    Billie Hopper, executive director of operations for the Ruth Bancroft Garden
The Gardens at Heather Farm
1540 Marchbanks Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Click here for a map and directions to the Gardens at Heather Farm

$85 Members of the Garden Conservancy, Ruth Bancroft Garden, Gardens at Heather Farm, and Pacific Horticulture Society
$100 General admission

Online and phone registration has been closed.  Registrations will be accepted at the door. 


gordonhayward-portraitimg 4477web144wGordon Hayward is a garden designer and award-winning author based in Putney, Vermont, with eleven books to his credit, including Your House, Your Garden; The Welcoming Garden; Tending Your Garden; and The Intimate Garden. He has been a contributing writer for Horticulture magazine for twenty-five years, and contributing editor for Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. Gordon and his wife Mary have been developing their personal garden at their 240-year-old farmhouse in Vermont for the past twenty-nine years, which has been a popular location for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. Gordon and Mary have also been busy creating a cottage garden in England's North Cotswold Hills, where Mary is from. For more information, visit

evelynhadden-portrait-evfacehorsradc-web144wEvelyn Hadden is a national speaker and award-winning author of three garden books, sharing strategies to help people create and maintain comfortable, functional, nature-friendly landscapes with less or no lawn. Her most recent book, Beautiful No-Mow Yards, has been a Timber Press bestseller since it was published in early 2012. Evelyn founded the informational website LessLawn and is a founding member of the national Lawn Reform Coalition. Her next book, on gardening in hellstrips and other curbside locations, will be published by Timber Press in the summer of 2014. For more information, visit

johngreenlee portrait web144John Greenlee is an internationally recognized expert in grass ecology and a champion of sustainable design. Owner of Greenlee & Associates, based in Brisbane, CA, and Greenlee Nursery, the oldest grass nursery in California, John has created meadows from California to Canada, Morocco to Hawaii, and Florida to Saudi Arabia. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses and The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn. He holds a B.S. in ornamental horticulture from Cal Poly, Pomona, and in 2002 he was named horticulturist of the year by the Southern California Association of Horticulturists. For more information see

ivettesoler web150x204Ivette Soler is a garden designer and writer living in Los Angeles. Her most recent book, The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden, was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “an enticing introduction to growing food beautifully.” Her design work for Elysian Landscapes and her own personal garden have been featured in such magazines as Metropolitan Home, Sunset, and House & Garden, as well as in several books. Her writing has appeared in Cottage Living, Budget Living, and Garden Design, and she was the resident gardening expert on NBC’s Bonnie Hunt Show. Her popular gardening blog, The Germinatrix, originated in 2006 as part of Domino magazine and has been thriving independently since 2009. For more information, visit

vera-gates-web144wVera Gates learned the essential qualities of the natural landscape and the symbiotic relationship of natural systems growing up on a farm in northern Vermont. Now a principal with Arterra Landscape Architects, a practice she founded with co-principal Kate Stickley in 2003, Vera brings her agrarian sensibility and artistic vision to the urban environs of the Bay Area. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Design from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and previously worked as a water features engineer and landscape designer on international resort projects. She opened her first design firm in 1993. Currently she also teaches environmental design and landscape graphics at UC Berkeley Extension, is a LEED Accredited Professional, and a Certified Green Building Professional. For more information, visit

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Headquarters: The Garden Conservancy, Post Office Box 219, Cold Spring, NY 10516. Telephone: 845.424.6500 Fax: 845.424.6501