My friend Ann Peden is a formidable woman. She spent the second half of her career as a headhunter and she can size up almost anybody with a glance. Plus, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But she is also a warm and loving grandmother, compassionate and fun-loving friend, and an engaged community volunteer. When Ann takes on a project, you know it will be done righteously and right. And so it is with her latest project.
Last year, Ann’s passion was helping Sonoma Community Center’s Waterwise project, the year before, Pollinator Pals. That little project included hundreds of planted wine barrels throughout the Valley attracting bees and helping people to understand the importance of bee habitats. Ann’s not afraid to get her hands into the dirt and make changes.
Of course, those projects are in addition to her first love, grandson Kai, quickly followed by the Giants, sailing, OLLI (The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Berkeley, Quarryhill (where she’s a docent guiding little charges up and down those trails, leading kids to a love of nature) and rockin’ out with Sonoma’s own rock ’n’ roll choir, Vox Populi. But yeah, no doubt, Ann’s joyful, too. Her latest project combines many of those things she loves, and is guaranteed to be fun.
When Ann retired from her first career at the Stanford Medical Clinics, and then her second as a head hunter, she happily moved to Sonoma Valley, and Glen Ellen in particular. Finding a perfect personal paradise on a bit of land studded with venerable valley oaks, and views of both Sonoma Mountain and the Mayacamas, she happily called it home.
Because Ann had always loved nature and gardening, she joined Sonoma Valley Master Gardeners, part of the UC Cooperative Extension, when she first moved here. She tells me it was a great way to meet new friends and practice a craft she loves.
Touring with the pros
Every other year, the Sonoma County Master Gardeners hold a garden tour. It’s been 12 years since the Sonoma Valley has hosted this event. We’re happy to hear it’s back in our Valley and are looking forward to it.
And, no surprise, Ann Peden is the head coordinator for Sonoma County Master Gardeners “Blooming Backyards” garden tour and market this year. The theme is “Gardening in a Summer-Dry Climate,” and it all unfolds in just about two weeks. On Sunday, June 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., five Valley gardens will be open for viewing. I suggest you buy your tickets now. It’s a mere $35 in advance, $40 day of. And, wow, what a bargain. Tickets can be purchased locally at Readers’ Books or online at sonomamastergardeners.org, or by calling 565-2608. Find more details at the website: ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/.
Garden variety delights
Recently, Ann and I sat on her deck, blessed by the warm sun, graced by towering oaks, gazing over the fields below, as she regaled me with details of the beautiful gardens on this year’s tour. Ann’s enthusiasm for these varied gardens is awesome. She fills me in on details of each gardener’s life and leaves me feeling that affinity with the soil and all that it produces is a clear route to personal happiness.