September 19 Speaker Series: Bart O’Brien, Director of Tilden Regional Park’s Botanic Garden

Abstract: Bart O’Brien will be sharing some of his favorite California native plants for gardens and how to care for them in a rapidly changing climate. Familiar, lesser known, and newer selections will be discussed, with a focus on plants that are appropriate for smaller gardens.

Bart O'Brien. Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden directorBio: Bart O’Brien has been the manager/director of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden (RPBG) in Tilden Regional Park since 2013. Located in the Berkeley Hills of Northern California’s Bay Area, this outstanding and beautiful ten-acre garden is dedicated to the horticulture, conservation, and research of California native plants. Prior to coming to the RPBG, Bart spent 24 years at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden where he held a variety of positions including Director of Horticulture, Curator of the Living Collection, and Director of Special Projects.

As a fifth generation Californian, Bart is an authority on the flora of California, and Mexico’s northwestern Baja California. He is also an accomplished collector, grower, photographer, lecturer, and author. He is co-author of three recent books: the award winning California Native Plants for the Garden (2005), Re-imagining the California Lawn – Water Conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs (2011), and the bilingual Care & Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant GardensCuidado y mantenimiento de jardines de plantas nativas del sur de California (2006). In 2012, Bart finished a 514 page edit of a Percy Everett manuscript which was completed and published online and is titled: “A Second Summary of the Horticulture and Propagation of California Native Plants at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 1950-1970”. He was co-curator and co-instigator of the When They Were Wild exhibit on California Wildflowers at The Huntington in 2013. He is lead author of two upcoming major contributions on the flora of northwestern Baja California, Mexico that are expected to be published soon: “The Rare, Endangered, and Endemic Plants of the California, Floristic Province Portion of Baja California, Mexico” and “A Checklist of the Flora of the California Floristic Province Portion of Baja California, Mexico”. Additionally, he is co-author of “Plant Diversity and Endemism in the California Floristic Province” (Madroño 63(2): 3-206. 2016.) – the first full enumeration of the entire flora of the California Floristic Province from southwestern Oregon to northwestern Baja California, Mexico.

Currently he is putting the finishing touches on a complete listing of over 300 cultivars of manzanitas (Arctostaphylos) for an upcoming issue of “The Four Seasons”, the technical journal of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

Bart O’Brien received the 2022 Liberty Hyde Bailey Award, the most prestigious award from the American Horticultural Society. Bart was named a Fellow of the California Native Plant Society in March of 2018. The Southern California Horticultural Society selected him as Horticulturist of the Year in 2005. O’Brien was listed as one of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Southern California” by the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times/West Magazine (Aug. 13, 2006).

Zoom link to Bart O’Brien’s presentation:

Meeting ID: 872 6285 3272
Passcode: 353565