I am Zann Cannon Goff, a gardener based in San Francisco, California, for 25 years. My personal interests emphasize ecologically-sound gardening practices in our urban environment, with extended expertise in xeriscaping and vertical gardening. My broad experience includes holding degrees in Landscape Maintenance and Contracting, in Earth Sciences, and in Mathematics, with soon-to-be-completed degrees in Humanities and Anthropology. I have horticultural certifications in Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Construction, Nursery Center Operations, and Cut Flower Production. I’m the proud recipient of numerous awards and honors, and graduated summa cum laude in the top 1% of my class. In addition to school study, I thrive on exploring what’s around me and sharing my observations through photography and numerous blogs. It was Thoreau who said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” I feel a deep connection to that quote, and it drives much of what I write about and study.
I worked for more than a decade in buying and management within the natural foods industry, followed by several years in the fabric industry (both in retail buying, and working in sewing workrooms). A desire for a life change and to reconnect with the natural world I grew up with led me to take a career development class at City College of San Francisco. The purpose of the class was to recognize what you don’t want to do, to be true to those feelings, to put real effort into sharing desires and interests with people, and trust the rest will come. This new way of focusing on life led to the deeply-fulfilling life I find in gardening.
I am thrilled to now be working professionally as a gardener in San Francisco, designing and maintaining gardens, and installing gardens of my own and others’ designs. I share my gardening proficiency and understanding of the natural world through writing, photography, contributing to Pacific Horticulture magazine, and taking speaking engagements. In addition to freelance gardening, I work full time at Flora Grubb Gardens – San Francisco’s award-winning and internationally-recognized nursery – as a Landscape Designer and as Buyer for the Design Services team. When my busy schedule permits I love to work at my pet project, volunteering in the Gardens of Alcatraz.
Extensive study of horticulture, ecology, Earth sciences, and anthropology only adds to my greater appreciation and understanding of the natural world and all its systems and interactions. I have developed a sophisticated plant palette and knowledge of urban ecosystems, and flourish when implementing my varied expertise.