Friends of Peninsula Park Rose Garden Speaker's Series


Four California Women and Their Legendary Gardens

Donald Olson, Author

What: A public talk by author Donald Olson, sponsored by Friends of Peninsula Park Rose Garden

When: Friday, December 7th, 9:30 am to 12 noon.

Where: City of Portland BES Water Pollution Control Laboratory, 6543 N Burlington Ave., Portland, OR 97203 (St. Johns Neighborhood)

Who: Donald Olsen, author of The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour and The California Garden Tour, will present his book: Four California Women and Their Legendary Gardens. The talk is an entertaining and informative tour of four spectacular California gardens. Olson introduces the larger-than-life women who created them:

  • Kate Sessions, the “Mother of Balboa Park”
  • Virginia Robinson, who created the first estate garden in Beverly Hills
  • Landscape architect Florence Yoch, designer of the garden sets for Gone With the Wind
  • Ganna Walska, a flamboyant opera singer who used her immense wealth to create Lotusland in Santa Barbara

Doors open at 9:30 am for Coffee and Conversation. From 10 am-10:40 am, we will be conducting a casual Friends of Peninsula Parak Rose Garden Volunteer Meeting; Then, from 10:45-11:45 am, Donald Olson will present, and sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase.  This event is open to the public. 

Donald Olson, author of The California Garden TourDonald Olson is a travel writer with a longtime interest in gardens and gardening. His travel stories have appeared in the New York Times and National Geographic. He lives, writes and gardens on both coasts. You can find more information about Donald and his books at


We would greatly appreciate it if you could RSVP to let us know you will be coming! Thank you.