Garden Coaching

What Does a Garden Coach Do?

As your garden coach, Tom Karwin serves as your personal mentor in the garden, providing information and advice that is tailored to your needs and interests. If you are puzzled, frustrated or overwhelmed by your garden, but want it to be a source of pride and enjoyment, Tom the garden coach could offer the help you need.

In a typical garden coaching session, you will spend an hour or two with Tom, walking through your garden and discussing your gardening needs, skills, time and budget. Tom will answer questions, identify plants, make specific suggestions for additional plants, and provide information about watering, fertilizing and pruning. You probably will want to take notes, because you won’t want to forget any of the information in the session. If it would be helpful, Tom could also provide a written summary of his information and recommendations, augmented by his follow-up research.

Other available services include problem solving, year-round planning, managing garden contractors, lectures and presentations.

A garden coach does not provide landscape contracting services, but can recommend local contractors with known expertise in particular areas that the homeowner needs.

About Tom

Tom Karwin has been a gardener since 1965, and an avid gardener since 1991, with a large garden perpetually in development.

He has Llifetime Certification as a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, and continues his education through memberships in several garden-related organizations, including the American Iris Society, the American Rose Society, the Monterey Bay Dahlia Society, the Monterey Bay Area Cactus and Succulent Society, the Santa Cruz Orchid Society, and the Santa Cruz Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

He is currently President of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society, past president of the Friends of the Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz, past president of the Monterey Bay Iris Society, and a collector of garden books, with 1,000+ titles currently in his library.

Since 1991, Tom has shared his interest in gardening as the weekly On Gardening columnist for the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Monterey Herald newspapers. Since January, 2012, he has posted his garden columns (now called essays) on this website.

How Do We Begin?

Tom Karwin offers professional garden coaching appointments by the hour. A single one-hour session could be sufficient for you to gain basic information and fresh perspectives you need to start developing the garden you envision. Follow-up sessions could be scheduled from time to time as your gardening project advances and new issues arise.

Tom’s fee for a one-hour coaching session anywhere in Santa Cruz County is $95, payable at the end of the session. For coaching sessions in northern Monterey County, through Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Valley, the fee is $115. Rates for other areas are available on request. Tom will provide written reports on an as-needed basis, with fixed costs based on individual requirements and a reduced hourly rate.

Contact Tom Karwin by phone (831) 760-6727 or email

Let’s get started!




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