Kate Sessions was born in San Francisco, California in 1857. She first became interested with the natural world after traveling the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) with family friends. She attended UC Berkeley wheree she studied science. Kate graduated in 1881 and began a horticultural career in San Diego. In 1885, she decided to purchase a San Diego nursery. As owner of a flower shop and a succession of nurseries in Coronado, City Park, Mission Hills and Pacific Beach, she became a central figure in California and national horticultural circles with her landscaping, plant introductions, and classes. However, it was Balboa Park that gave Kate Session her legacy. She planted one hundred trees in the park and created a truly aesthetic natural world in the city park. She then furnished many more parks throughout the city. Her work in plant introduction won for her international recognition. In 1939, she was awarded the prestigious Frank N. Meyer medal of the American Genetic Association. A woman had not received this award before then. Kate Sessions died March 24, 1940. She has become known as the “Mother of Balboa Park” and a bronze statue of her was placed in the park in 1998.
Major Buildings and Projects
Balboa Park, San Diego California