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Donald Olson

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Overview

Portland, Oregon 97210

Popular garden-club speaker Donald Olson’s stories about garden history, garden design and the remarkable women who created some of America’s greatest gardens are a lively blend of horticulture, history and humor.

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e: view email donaldstevenolson@comcast.net

Description



Donald Olson is the author of The California Garden Tour – The 50 Best Gardens to Visit in the Golden State and The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour – The 60 Best Gardens to Visit in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, named by Library Journal as one of the best reference guides of 2014. Donald’s travel stories have been published in the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Books and many other publications. He has written more than thirty U.S. and European travel guides, including the bestsellers Frommer’s Portland Day by Day and Frommer’s  Seattle Day by Day.

He is the author of seven published novels and his plays have been produced in Europe and the U.S. A popular speaker on a wide range of garden topics, Donald’s history- and humor-filled presentations have been enjoyed by audiences at the Pacific Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle, Modernism Week in Palm Springs, UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, the Bloedel Reserve, and at many chapters of the Garden Club of America. His presentations “Garden Goddesses: Four California Women and their Legendary Gardens” and “Five Remarkable Women, Four Remarkable Pacific Northwest Gardens” remain perennial audience favorites. You can visit him and learn more at www.donaldstevenolson.com.

 



Garden Tour Books by Donald Olson

 

The California Garden Tour—The 50 Best Gardens to Visit in the Golden State (Timber Press)

 

Illustrated with more than 150 stunning color photographs, The California Garden Tour guides garden lovers to the greatest public gardens, parks and arboreta from Mendocino to San Diego. Each of the fifty gardens in this unique and informative guide is given its own two- to four-page description with photographs and all the practical information visitors need to plan a delightful garden adventure. The fifty gardens are grouped into geographic regions and shown on maps that make planning a California garden-themed itinerary easy and enjoyable.

The text, which includes a history of California gardens and stories of the fascinating men and women who created them, is lively, accessible and can be enjoyed by garden professionals and armchair gardeners alike. In conjunction with this book, Donald Olson has presented his illustrated talk “Garden Goddesses: Four California Women and their Legendary Gardens” at garden clubs and special garden events throughout California and the Northwest.

 

 

The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour—The 60 Best Gardens to Visit in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia (Timber Press)

 

Now in its 3rd printing, Donald Olson’s bestselling The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour has become the go-to guide for garden lovers who want to explore the dazzling assortment of public gardens, parks and arboreta in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Named by Library Journal as one of the best reference guides of 2014, The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour combines spectacular color photographs with concise descriptive stories that capture the essential personality of each garden.

“This is the guidebook I wish I’d had when I first began touring the gardens of the Northwest,” says the book’s author. “Visiting this region’s unique and unusual public gardens and parks is a really healthy and fun way to get back in touch with nature and learn more about the area’s rich human and horticultural history—but you have to know where these garden gems are, what you’ll find there, and why you should visit.” In conjunction with this book, Donald Olson has presented his illustrated talk, “Five Remarkable Women, Four Remarkable Pacific Northwest Gardens” to garden clubs and at garden conventions and events throughout the Pacific Northwest.

 

Topics



Donald has been a featured speaker at the Pacific Northwest Flower & Garden Show held in the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle; Modernism Week in Palm Springs; UC Berkeley Botanic Gardens in historic Julia Morgan Hall; Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island; and at many other gardens and Garden Club of America chapters. His presentations include the following:


“Garden Goddesses: Four California Women and their Legendary Gardens”

Celebrate the achievements of great women gardeners! In his talk “Garden Goddesses: Four California Women and Their Legendary Gardens,” popular garden writer Donald Olson takes you on an affirmative, informative and entertaining 45-minute illustrated tour of some spectacular California gardens and introduces you to the remarkable women who created them. You’ll meet Kate Sessions, the “Mother of Balboa Park” in San Diego; Florence Yoch, California’s first female landscape architect and designer of the garden sets for Tara in “Gone With the Wind”; Virginia Robinson, creator of the first garden estate in Beverly Hills, scene of star-studded Hollywood parties; and Ganna Walska, a flamboyant opera singer who used her immense wealth to create Lotusland in Santa Barbara, considered by many to be among the top ten gardens of the world. Created in conjunction with Donald’s popular guide, The California Garden Tour – The 50 Best Gardens to Visit in the Golden State, “Garden Goddesses” is usually combined with a book signing.

 


 

“Five Remarkable Women, Four Remarkable Pacific Northwest Gardens”

 

Passion, ambition, determination—every great garden has a human story to tell. In this entertaining and informative 45-minute presentation, award-winning travel writer and author Donald Olson takes you on a tour of four remarkable Pacific Northwest gardens and introduces you to the five remarkable women who created them. Meet Hulda Klager, a housewife who became one of the world’s leading lilac hybridizers; Eulalie Wagner, a socialite who created one of the great estate gardens of Washington State; Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, the first female landscape designers in the Pacific Northwest; and Lilla Leach, an intrepid plant explorer and botanist who founded her own botanical garden. Created in conjunction with Donald’s book The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour – The 60 Best Gardens in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia,” this presentation is usually combined with a book signing.


 

“The Midcentury Modern Garden Tour: The Midcentury Revolution in West Coast Garden Design”

 

The Midcentury Modern era of the mid-1940s to the early 1960s saw a revolutionary transformation take place in American garden design. In this informative and entertaining 45-minute presentation, the author of The California Garden Tour and The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour takes you on a fascinating highlights tour of several Midcentury Modern gardens on the West Coast and explains the historic garden styles that preceded them and the cultural shifts that led to a new era in garden design. First presented at Modernism Week in Palm Springs, this presentation is usually followed by a book signing.

 

“Who Needs Downton Abbey? Great Garden Estates of the Pacific Northwest”

 

You don’t need to travel to Downton Abbey to enjoy a great English-style landscape garden. The Pacific Northwest has several historic properties with gardens that rival those in England. And they’re all open to the public. In this entertaining and informative seminar, garden and travel writer Donald Olson takes you to the grandest of the grand estates in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia and tells you the stories behind their creation. The talk is followed by a book signing of Donald’s book The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour.

 

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