As a garden designer, garden coach and freelance garden writer, Joan S. Bolton confesses to a life-long love affair with plants. A native of southern California, she grew up tending her own vegetable garden and house plants.
Joan moved to Santa Barbara County 31 years ago, and has gardened like a fiend ever since. At last count, she and her husband Tom had planted several thousand shrubs, perennials, ground covers and trees on their four-acre property in western Goleta. They also maintain about 25 avocado, citrus and fruit trees, and grow vegetables and herbs year-round.
Joan has been designing South Coast gardens for 17 years and is a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, the national association that establishes and encourages standards of excellence in landscape design. Many of her projects are renovations — her clients have inherited or grown tired of existing, overgrown landscapes and want to start over again. So out go the Bermuda grass, junipers and other bedraggled vegetation, and in come fresh, colorful plantings custom-designed for each client’s special needs and wishes.
Joan also spreads her love of plants through freelance writing. She received her masters degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and has written freelance articles about gardening for 25 years.
An avowed plant nut, she follows the seasons as she shares her observations, experiences, tips and hands-on techniques.
She writes Edible Garden columns for Edible Santa Barbara and Central Coast Farm and Ranch, and contributes to Fine Gardening. She formerly wrote In the Garden features for the Santa Maria Times, Santa Ynez Valley News, Lompoc Record, Times-Press-Recorder, South Coast Beacon and Santa Barbara News-Press. She has been a regular contributor to Woman’s Day’s gardening publications, and has written for Horticulture Magazine, Flower and Garden, Landscape Architecture Magazine, the San Jose Mercury News and Los Angeles Times.
Joan is active in the Santa Barbara County Horticultural Society, and served on the board for four years. She is a long-time member of Garden Writers Association, and regularly attends GWA’s national meetings to learn about the latest trends in gardening and design.
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