As I begin to write this note, I realize the insufficiency of encapsulating a person’s life work into a few short paragraphs.

Bruce Asakawa
Bruce Asakawa

by John Bagnasco

All good things must come to an end and last week marked the end of one of the greatest personalities in the gardening world.

Bruce Asakawa was the gentle giant of the California gardening scene for over half a century. He was active in the green industry, landscape design, and gardening communication for most of his life.

Bruce was entrenched in the nursery business dating back to 1950 when his parents started Presidio Garden Center, which became one of the premier retail nurseries on the West Coast. Presidio was one of the first in the industry to diversify into landscape architectural planning and contracting as well as FTD floral design. He graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona, with a major in landscape architecture, then went on to develop and teach horticulture classes with the University of California Extension Program. During the early nineties, Bruce was asked to host the West Coast Garden Line, a popular live call-in garden radio show that aired throughout California. Years later, the program became Garden Compass with co-hosts Sharon Asakawa and myself.

He was seen regularly as the Garden Expert on PM Magazine Television Show and was a frequent guest on Sun Up San Diego. Bruce was instrumental in helping establish the California Association of Nurserymen’s Certified Nurserymen’s program and was appointed a member of California’s Urban Forestry Advisory Council by Governor Pete Wilson.

In 2010, the San Diego Horticultural Society recognized Bruce and his wife Sharon as Horticulturists of the Year for their significant contributions to horticulture in Southern California. The list of Bruce’s achievements is only dwarfed by his love for his wife, children and friends.

All of the above accomplishments, as well as countless others were met with a calm, patient and elegant demeanor. Not to mention a subtle and ‘punny” attitude. Bruce’s life has touched so many people that no one will ever know exactly how much better this world has been, because he walked it and now, he will finally be rewarded for it.

Note: anyone wishing to send a note to his wife, Sharon, can send an email to [email protected] and it will be forwarded to her.