By Evan Meyer, Executive Director

Theodore Payne with Fremontodendron, ca. 1960

Two days before his passing in May of 1963, Theodore Payne had a simple request. Speaking of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, only three years old at the time, he asked Jim Seaman, our first board president to “make the Foundation a success.” This year, as we celebrate our 60th anniversary, I am happy to say that his request was fulfilled. Since its establishment in 1960, the Foundation has become indispensable to the fabric of Southern California, providing many thousands of native plants, hundreds of classes and outreach events, and immeasurable inspiration each year.

If you’ve kept up with our social media and website over the past several weeks, you’ve noticed our logo has changed. To commemorate our 60th anniversary, we created a rendition of our original 1960 logo that will be used all year. Expect some limited edition items in our gift shop, too. And throughout the year, we’ll be hosting special celebratory events for our 60th. I’m happy to preview a few here, so that you can save these dates:

  • Saturday, April 11th, we’re heading offsite to Ojai to visit the fabulous Taft Gardens and surrounding wild landscapes. I’ll be joining this group and anticipate a beautiful day of spring flowers!
  • Saturday, April 25th, we’re releasing a top secret, native plant beverage at Eagle Rock Brewery (hint, hint), with a daytime celebration.
  • Each month, we’ll be offering free behind-the-scenes tours to TPF members. Stay tuned for these dates.

I’m proud that Theodore Payne Foundation has honored Mr. Payne’s vision and his last request, and that he was around during the Foundation’s first years. In March 1963, at age 89, on his final visit to his friend Eddie Merrill’s La Tuna Nursery (which, three years later, became our current TPF nursery), Merrill wrote that Mr. Payne “checked over the stock and climbed the hill to gather Zauschneria seeds.” May we all be so lucky and follow such a beautiful path through life.

Whether you are a supporter, member, native plant gardener, or just love our California poppy hats and botanical print shirts, I hope that you feel the same pride as I do at our 60th anniversary. I invite you to celebrate with us throughout 2020, and to join as we look forward to the next 60 years of carrying on this remarkable legacy.