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.