As a young boy, Frank Mitzel had a penchant for growing plants. Raised in a small neighborhood outside of Detroit, he cared for and maintained a 430-square-foot garden that was an abundant source of food for his entire family and some nearby neighbors. It was only natural that Mitzel’s innate talent led him to become a professional landscape designer after earning a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University.
A resident of Verrazzano, a community between Santaluz and Fairbanks Ranch, Mitzel spent his most of his 35-year landscape career designing in California, Florida and Michigan.
Now, the San Diego Horticultural Society is benefi
ting from Mitzel’s sage wisdom since he recently accepted a three-year term as president of the organization. Mitzel is no stranger to SDHS — he’s been a member for the past 17 years.
Currently, the organization has more than 1,000 members.
What interested him most about SDHS was its horticulture educational efforts, he said.
“We try to inspire and educate the people of San Diego County to grow and enjoy plants and to create beautiful environmentally responsible gardens and landscapes,” he said.
As president, Mitzel’s goal is to connect with other members in the San Diego area who have a love of horticulture and landscape design. He’s also quick to point out that landscape design has changed considerably over the years — particularly in Southern California.
“We have gravitated towards drought-tolerant landscape design, eschewing or limiting lawn areas and advancing to drought-tolerant landscaping, which is more environmentally sound,” he said.
Mitzel said the variety of succulents is tremendous, and they are evergreen year-round. The vast majority of succulents bloom and each has its own textures and colors.
“Many succulents are very architectural in their form,” Mitzel said. “They also are compatible with so many of our drought-tolerant plants and native plants.”
Mitzel is looking forward to the SDHS annual garden tours in San Diego in April 2018 — considered the most extensive garden tours in San Diego. This year, the tours will take place in Encinitas.
For those unable to wait until April for their inspirational horticulture fix, Mitzel said visits to the local San Diego Botanic Garden and Balboa Park are always great choices. Mitzel said another favorite excursion outside of San Diego is Lotusland near Santa Barbara, the botanical garden designed by the late Madame Walska.
To become a member of SDHS or attend its $15 monthly meetings held on the second Monday of every month from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Congregation Beth Israel, visit https://sdhort.org.