By Kristina Houck
Pat Welsh doesn’t only have one green thumb. With more than 80 years gardening experience, every finger of the longtime Del Mar resident is green.
Welsh will teach community members how to select, grow and divide cymbidiums orchids during a talk March 24 at the Del Mar Powerhouse Community Center. Hosted by the Del Mar Garden Club, the educational lecture will be held in conjunction with the club’s plant sale.
A member of the club since it was first established in 1991, Welsh is often asked to speak at group functions.
“I’m happy to be there to answer everybody’s questions and celebrate my joy of living in this wonderful town and the joy of gardening here,” said Welsh, who has lived in Del Mar since 1955.
Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, Welsh began tending to her parents and grandparents’ gardens at 3 years old. After her family immigrated to the United States in 1939, she grew up on a farm in Bucks County, Penn. She watched as her parents attempted to plant a traditional English herbaceous border in their new garden.
“They failed, but they tried,” said Welsh, as she laughed at the memories.
Planting the seeds in Welsh, her childhood experiences led to a lifelong love of gardening and an ever-blooming career.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. — where she also studied painting, ceramics and design — Welsh went on to become the first garden editor of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine, holding the position from 1979 to 1983. From 1981 to 1987 she hosted the twice-weekly gardening segment, “The Resident Gardener,” on NBC San Diego. The Emmy Award winner also hosted videos for Better Home and Gardens, several infomercials and various garden demonstrations on network and HGTV.
An author of six published books — including the popular “Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening: Month by Month” — Welsh maintains a blog about gardening called “Pat Welsh’s Garden Expressions.”
In her latest talk, “Cymbidiums Orchids: How to Select, Grow and Divide,” Welsh will share and demonstrate how to care for the flowers, which she said are perfect for gardens in Southern California.
“I take great joy in explaining these orchids to people, and sharing tips and hints for growing them,” Welsh said. “I tell people how easy it is and how to do it.”
Cymbidiums require little water, which Welsh noted is important as Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state drought emergency in January. Having designed her own half-acre drought-tolerant garden, Welsh often highlights native and drought-tolerant plants, which she believes should “become the backbone” of every garden.
“Why struggle when there are so many things that grow wonderfully here?” Welsh said.
Welsh’s talk begins at 10 a.m. March 24 at the Powerhouse Community Center, located at 1658 Coast Blvd. in Del Mar. Following the lecture at 11 a.m., the club will sell plants and garden art from the gardens of Del Mar Garden Club members. Proceeds will benefit the club, which works to beautify the city.
“I hope people get a shot at the joy of gardening and learn that it’s really easy,” Welsh said. “That’s my main message — the joy we can take in gardening.”
For more information about Welsh, visit www.patwelsh.com.