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My relationship with the native plants of California, and especially those of Los Angeles County goes way back, but we haven’t always been so close. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and I have been hiking in the local mountains for as long as I can remember. While the aromas of various species of Salvia and Artemisia and other plants of the scrub and the chaparral spark vital memories for me, I could not have necessarily identified them until much more recently. In fact, despite being both an avid hiker and gardener, for the longest time I was only vaguely aware of many of the key plants of our local ecosystems.
When I first encountered Lesley Goren’s art several years ago, I immediately fell in love with the vibrant, graphic style she uses to portray native plants and tell stories about California’s ecology. Her work brings together elements of illustration, printmaking, pattern design, and graphic storytelling (among others) to create a style that is unmistakably her own. Her subjects range from the untamed beauty of California’s spring wildflower blooms to the complex stories of wildfire causes and effects. Her artwork is colorful, contemporary, and very accessible, helping to inspire love and understanding of native plants in a wide audience. I sat down with Lesley earlier in 2020 to talk about art.
Gabi and I produced an interactive CD in 2008 and sold it at nature centers and botanic gardens. Now we have made the entire application available for free on our website.
A statement from our chapter's Board of Directors affirms oiur commitment to creating a safe, inclusive, and equitable space for all people, especially people of color, to share appreciation for and learn about California native plants.