Awards Banquet

Horticulturist of the Year 2010


Yvonne SavioYvonne Savio

Yvonne grew up on a 3/4-acre hillside city lot in Pasadena, growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers year-round in manure- and compost-amended gardens. From years of gardening, she knows what “harvested at the perfect moment of ripeness” means and is passionate about enabling others to enjoy the benefits of “growing your own.”

Yvonne loves growing just about anything, especially vegetables and fruits, annuals and drought-tolerant perennials, cactus, succulents, bromeliads, ground covers, and roses. Her husband Tom, a garden and train travel photographer and writer, does the heavy-duty digging and eating.

Yvonne earned degrees in journalism, literature, art, photography, and horticulture. After teaching junior high school, Yvonne worked in the Botany and Vegetable Crops Cooperative Extension Departments at the University of California, Davis. Starting in 1984, Yvonne contributed weekly gardening columns, features, and photographs to local northern California and national newspapers, magazines, journals, and newsletters.

In 1994, she moved back to her childhood home in Pasadena and revitalized the Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. She edited the third edition of Children’s Gardens: A Guide for Teachers, Parents, and Volunteers, and became the Common Ground Garden Program Manager. She oversees the Master Gardener Program (seasonal gardening workshops), School Garden Consultants Program (school gardens assistance), Community Gardens Program (community garden assistance, and roster of all active county gardens open to the public), and Senior Housing Gardens Program, all working primarily with low-income county residents.

New in April 2010 is the Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative, serving beginning gardeners with class sessions at 10 garden sites throughout LA County. Popular demand has resulted in 3 more class sessions at some sites, including for Spanish-speakers.  The hope is to receive enough donations to continue with Fall and then twice-yearly sessions.

Yvonne was on the board of the American Community Gardening Association for two years and continues to advise community and school gardeners nationwide. She is a member of the University of California Garden-Based Learning Workgroup, the UC Urban Horticulture Workgroup, the California School Garden Network, and the CSGN Los Angeles Chapter.

Yvonne's monthly gardening tips and many other articles and photographs are found on the University of California Cooperative Extension Los Angeles County website:

She has two resource e-lists open to the public (subscribe on the homepage): Community Gardening and Food Security and  School Gardening.

Yvonne’s biweekly blog on her Pasadena home garden is on the National Gardening Association’s website for Southern California Coastal and Inland Valleys:


Past Awards