I am Zann Cannon Goff, a gardener based in San Francisco, California, since 1994. My personal interests emphasize ecologically-sound gardening practices in our urban environment, with extended experience in xeriscaping and vertical gardening. I practice low-environmental impact gardening, using only manual tools to avoid the excess noise and fumes of power tools. My broad experience includes holding degrees in Landscape Maintenance and Contracting, in Earth Sciences, in Mathematics, in Social and Behavioral Sciences, in Humanities, and in Anthropology. I have horticultural certifications in Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Construction, Nursery Center Operations, and Cut Flower Production, as well as four Ikebana certifications. 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 well over 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 loving, 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 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, contributions 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 the Outdoor Plants Buyer. 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.
I love that you’re doing what your heart speaks to. I miss my California life in that regard, but here in upstate NY, I’m still able to have a seasonal garden outpouring and my houseplants love their season outside too. “Houseplants” includes orchids, cacti and succulents, tillandsias, dracenas, hoyas, etc. – in other words, I brought a part of my plant collection across the country with me! I’m sad that I left some beautiful and huge collector type plants, but… I would love to know how you got into the plant world so completely, so whatever postings you post, I’m all ears!
Well, it’s awesome that you’ve been able to keep plants in your life, right? I’ve spent basically my whole life within an hour’s drive or less from the Pacific, and as such have not had to deal with the same seasonal changes that require so many plants to spend at least a few months as houseplants.
My interest in plants led me to taking related classes at a community college, and I’ve taken just about every opportunity to learn that has come from these classes – volunteering in gardens, taking on garden projects, attending seminars and lectures, going to book signings… I’ll have plenty of stories, I’m sure!
Glad you’re following!
Love your blog! I work (and blog) for Habitat Design, and want to invite you to an event we’re hosting. It’s called “Building Communities through Social Media: A Panel Discussion” and I know you’re into social media so it would be awesome if you joined us! It’s Feb. 23rd in Palo Alto. You can get more info & RSVP here: http://is.gd/010hW5
Thanks and hope you can make it!
Wish I had the evening free to attend! Thanks for the invitation!
Colleagues of mine at Save McLaren Park (savemclarenpark.org) came across you post, “Urban Hike: McLaren Park” and shared it around. We’d like to link to it on our website.
Is that ok with you?
Ed, I would be flattered! Absolutely, you can do that. 🙂
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Love your blog! I work for the SF Botanical Gardens. I think we met breifly a couple months ago at Flora Grubb. We chatted about how amazing volunteering with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is, and also the Presidio Native Plant Nursery that I worked in. Anyhow, I’d love to talk to you about some of the events we’re starting to create and promote here at the Botanical Gardens. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Will do! Thanks for contacting me. 🙂
Great blog! I am a gardener too (masters degree) and I am visiting San Francisco in May! So many coincidences 🙂
Regards from Poland,
May is a great time to visit here. Have you been here before?
No, never. I am starting my trip from Denver. I am going to see in 10 days few National Parks (Grand Canion) and finish in San Francisco. I just can’t wait!
Sounds like a fantastic trip! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. 🙂
That is for sure! in the meantime I am going to enjoy your fantastic blog 🙂
Thanks again!. I appreciate the compliment and the follow. 🙂 If you happen to be here on 11 May, my garden will be shown in a tour that day…