Shinn Orchard and Meyers Sycamore

Design, History, Plants, & Preservation in East Bay Gardens


This year we will explore the warm hills of the eastern San Francisco Bay Area by visiting three now-public gardens well adapted to their terrain and climate. All were developed by passionate garden-lovers between the 1880s and 1970s and are currently managed and maintained by cities, non-profit organizations and volunteers.

Dry Creek Garden, Hayward
Shinn Historic Park and Arboretum, Fremont
Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek


(Includes all conference events on Saturday and Sunday: continental breakfast on Saturday morning; Saturday bus tour; Saturday box lunch and late afternoon social hour; Sunday tours, lunch)

Before September 6th After September 6th
(space permitting)
CGLHS Members (Full Conference) $165 $195
Non-Members (Full conference)* $205 $235
Student (Full conference)* $100 $125
Sunday Guest $45
Saturday Only**
(bus tour, lunch & dinner)

*Full conference registration includes a 1-year membership in CGLHS (4 issues of EDEN)
**Single day registration will be available after September 6th, space permitting


Rooms have been set aside at the Four Points by Sheraton at 5115 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588, at a rate of $99 per night, not including taxes.

Call (925) 460-8800 for a reservation.

The rooms will be held until Sept. 13 under the name “CGLHS.” The hotel is about one mile from the Dublin Pleasanton BART station; the hotel offers a free shuttle service.


Saturday, September 28
8:30—10:30 Four Points Sheraton, Pleasanton

Registration & continental breakfast
CGLHS Annual Membership Meeting
Marlea Graham, speaker -Meyers sisters & the School of Gardening for Women

In the fall of 1924, two British gardeners, Judith Walrond Skinner and Margaret Slaney, both graduates of the Studley College of Gardening in Warwickshire, started the California School of Gardening for Women at Hayward, California. Elsa Uppman Knoll, 1930s graduate and later principal of the school, noted that “Miss Skinner and Miss Slaney placed a high priority on the practical side of gardening. It was never their intention to compete with schools of landscape architecture.” Possible careers as a jobbing gardener or operating a plant nursery were also noted. The school continued until 1947. Marlea will talk about the school and its long-lasting effect on the horticultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area, including its connection to Dry Creek Park in Hayward.

10:30 – 4:30 Bus Tour
Dry Creek Garden

Chris Pattillo, speaker – garden history & documentation, HALS (Historic American Landscape Survey)

Shinn Historic Park and Arboretum
Docent tours

Sunday, September 29
10am-2pm      Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek

Preservation story by Antonia Adezio and Dick Turner
Docent tours of the garden


Dry Creek Garden, Hayward is a remnant of the ranch owned by the Meyers sisters who collaborated with the California School of Gardening for Women from its inception in the 1920s into the 1940s. They employed the property in their teaching of garden design and horticultural skills. The rustic property is now owned and managed by the East Bay Regional Park District.

Shinn Historic Park and Arboretum, Fremont, built by pioneering nursery owners James and Lucy Shinn. We will see the Victorian house; remnants of the last commercial fruit orchard in the county; beautiful old trees, and a Japanese-style garden. The garden is now owned by the City of Fremont and maintained by multiple volunteer organizations.

Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek. It is stunning dry garden, with a cactus and succulent collection gathered over 50 years, situated on the family’s former walnut orchard. The garden was the inspiration for the founding of the Garden Conservancy. Antonia Adezio, founding president of the Garden Conservancy, and Dick Turner, retired editor of Pacific Horticulture, will speak about the process through which the Garden Conservancy worked to preserve the Bancroft Garden and establish a local non-profit organization to own and manage it.


Antonia Adezio 
is the founding president of The Garden Conservancy, a national organization that works to preserve exceptional American gardens, which she led from 1989 to 2012. She has helped establish dozens of groups dedicated to saving gardens in their communities, and is currently president of the Peckerwood Garden Foundation in Hempstead, Texas and a member of the board of Stonecrop Gardens, in Cold Spring, New York and the Foundation for Landscape Studies. Antonia speaks and writes about gardens and preservation as part of a new consulting practice aiding fledgling not-for-profit organizations in developing a sustainable structure and long-term success. She is based in Sonoma, California, where she is learning how to garden in a new climate.

Gretchen Bartzen, Co-Executive Director of the Garden, has been involved with the Garden as a board member since 2005, and now volunteers as a Director. She recently retired from her position as Director of Development and Parent Relations at The Seven Hills School. She directed a successful 5 million dollar capital campaign for them in 2003 and increased volunteer involvement, annual giving, and the school’s endowment. Her teaching background and participation in various organizations are skills that she brings to achieve the Board’s goal of raising visibility in the community, as well as increasing financial support.

Marlea Graham is a retired City of Oakland firefighter, a lifelong gardener and a collector of heritage roses. Beginning her new career as a landscape historian and writer in the 1990s with the Heritage Roses Group, whose newsletter she edited for some 10 years, she then became a founding member of the California Garden & Landscape History Society, retiring as editor of their journal, Eden, after 12 years, although still a frequent contributor to both publications. She has most recently submitted two further biographical sketches on women landscape architects for the forthcoming third volume in the Pioneer series (on Willa Cloys Carmack and Helen Van Pelt), and a brief sketch on landscape architect Horace Cotton was published in the summer 2013 issue of the CGLHS journal, Eden.

Chris Pattillo, FASLA is the founding partner of PGAdesign,inc. Landscape Architects. Since 1979, PGA has been providing design services on a broad range of project types including HALS documentation, cultural landscape reports, designs for historic sites, and interpretive design. Chris received her Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, in 1975. In 2004, Chris along with her business partner, Cathy Garrett and Betsy Flack founded the Northern California Chapter of HALS. Chris was principal-in-charge for PGAs work on the Meyers Garden. East Bay Regional Park asked PGA to update the garden master plan previously prepared by Russell Beatty, using a collection of historic slides that were found in the attic of the Meyer’s Alameda home. PGA also assisted EBRP in developing a maintenance program for the property at Dry Creek Ranch. Chris will speak on the history of the Dry Creek site and the HALS (Historic American Landscape Survey) documentation process.

Richard G. Turner, Jr. served as editor of Pacific Horticulture, the magazine for West Coast gardeners, from 1997 to 2012. Dick was the Ruth Bancroft Garden’s first Executive Director. He began gardening at age 5 at his family home in Detroit. After receiving degrees in architecture and landscape architecture from the University of Michigan more than thirty years ago, he escaped to California, so that he could garden year round. He has worked in the fields of garden design, education, pubic garden administration, and garden publishing. When he’s not at his desk, he prefers to be traveling to distant lands to enjoy gardens and see garden plants in the wild. His small (1/50th of an acre), chemical-free garden provides habitat for all forms of wildlife (some of them desirable), while serving as a test ground for low-maintenance plants suitable for San Francisco’s version of a mediterranean climate.


While in the East Bay area, our Pleasanton base offers the opportunity to explore surrounding points of interest, such as the charming downtown Pleasanton, a thriving commercial district of shops and restaurants, which includes Meadowlark Dairy, where you can try the ice cream in this early-twentieth-century dairy building. The Livermore Valley Wine region, with more than 40 wineries, offers delicious wines to taste. Nearby, the old town of Niles offers antiques stores and the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, a testament to the silent films shot in in nearby hills and canyons in the early 20th Century.The California Nursery Company Historical Park and the Vallejo Adobe house share a property in Fremont and are worth a visit.


Philip Holmes, Jill M. Singleton. Niles, Fremont. Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Henry Luna. Niles Canyon Railroads. Arcadia Publishing, 2006.


Questions? Contact

Photo: Left: Shinn Orchard Right: Meyers Sycamore Photos: S. Raube