A tribute to our friend Susan Keirn

Susan Keirn  (April 26, 1942—September 19, 2016)

"We will miss our friend and fellow Open Day volunteer, Susan Keirn.

Los Angeles Open Day was a modest affair when I became Los Angeles representative in 2001. But thanks in large part to Susan it expanded into what has become one of the largest Open Days.

That first year, Susan introduced herself and asked why we didn’t have any gardens on the west side. I asked her if she would help me to find gardens so we could expand. And with her help we did.

We talked, we looked at gardens, we recruited volunteers, we met in my office, and we exchanged emails for months each year. Susan’s home became the west LA office for Los Angeles Open Days. Her garage our storage facility.

Susan was a hands on gardener and an enthusiastic garden visitor. I loved getting photos and reports of her visits to northern California Open Days and other garden tours. I treasured her emails about the goings on in her own garden—the spring bloom of Vitex agnes-castus, the hatching of Monarch butterflies, birds bathing in her front yard fountain."

Judy M. Horton
Los Angeles Open Days Regional Representative 2001-2005


"Susan Keirn was truly one of the biggest garden lovers I’ve known. She loved the Open Days program and was our biggest champion in a city full of garden tours. She was always first to ask which neighborhood in LA we were having the next Open Day in. And always first to ask for a map so that she and her husband Bill could plan their route. In later years she didn’t always have the strength to visit them all but she did her best to see as many as she could.

Susan was our guide as we took the Open Days regional rep reigns. She showed us the best way to organize and schedule our large volunteer force. She made sure we knew to stay in touch with as many of our local press outlets and regional magazines as possible to ensure the most exposure for our tour. And she was always willing to give us her opinion on past successes and her ideas for future tours.

One of my fondest memories of Susan endures in the “Open Days Rocks”. Each new volunteer who sees them on the tables at Open Days asks what they’re for. “Just wait,” Susan would say. Inevitably there’s an afternoon breeze and the various flyers and forms and pamphlets will want to fly away. The hand-painted “Open Days” paperweight rocks that we use every year to prevent that will always remind us of Susan. Her dedication to gardens and to Open Days was always as steady and strong as a stone. She will be deeply and sorely missed by us all."

Joseph Marek 2008-2017 & Jeanne Anderson 2006-2017
Los Angeles Open Days Regional Representatives