Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden will host an appreciation barbecue on Saturday, March 2, in Buellton’s River View Park to honor John Evarts and Margie Popper, founders of Cachuma Press, an award-winning local publishing house.

Their work includes “The Oaks of California” and “Reimagining the California Lawn,” outstanding reference guides for California gardeners.   

Festivities start at noon with appetizers and tours of the Botanic Garden. The ceremony honoring the pair begins at 1:30 p.m.

For a number of years, Evarts and Popper taught the popular organic gardening class for Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. They were also involved in local commercial honey production and crop pollination services.  After moving to Ballard in 1985, they sold their beekeeping business but continued to participate in the farmers markets as vendors of stone fruits and table grapes grown on their five-acre property.

John established Cachuma Press after working for a publisher in Santa Barbara.

Two titles that were published that initial year, “California’s Eastern Sierra: A Visitor’s Guide”  and “Oaks of California,” have been reprinted multiple times and are still in print.

 They later published “California Native Plants for the Garden” and “Reimagining the California Lawn.”

 With handsome, accurate photography from many of best landscape photographers and accurate descriptions from knowledgeable authors, their books are lasting, accessible references for professionals, students and anyone with interest in exploring and using California native plants in their gardens.

Members of the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden can come to the barbecue free of charge. Admission for non-members is $10.