Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hot Tubbing with Jeffrey Gordon Smith?

Aside from my new Design Workshop column in Fine Gardening magazine and this blog, I write about gardens for a few Southern California magazines and blogs. Feeling a need to expand my horizons beyond my Santa Barbara borders, I planned a road trip to the San Luis Obispo area (SLO), about 100 miles north of my home.

I studied landscape architecture at Cal Poly SLO in the 80s, but haven't really kept up with the area's garden design scene, so I asked everyone I knew for advice. Just about everybody said, "You've GOT to meet Jeffrey Gordon Smith and see his designs."

Smith (a landscape architect based in the small, beachside town of Los Osos, and executing beautiful projects from the Bay Area to the southernmost reaches of the Golden State) and I hammered out the details for a visit, but a super deluge in December wiped out my plans. Later, as I perused the program at the SF Flower and Garden Show, I noticed that Jeffrey was not only going to be speaking about his new book (Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture), but also constructing an exhibit garden at the show.

I thought he'd be an interesting subject for a pre-show blog post, and phoned him for an interview to find out what visitors to the SFFGS might find inspirational. Our conversation kept detouring into all kinds of topics, and when I got off the phone 45 minutes later, I still wasn't sure what I'd write about. I had asked all the right questions: "What's your big idea?" "How would they be inspired for their own gardens?"

I do know one thing: If you visit his garden at show, you're going to have a fabulous time and walk away with a huge smile on your face. "I'm all about having fun. Why do it if it ain't fun?"

The discussion continues at Fine Gardening...

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