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Kathryn Mathewson Associates


Kathryn Mathewson Associates (KMA) was established in March of 1979 on South Park in San Francisco. A few years later Secret Gardens was created. At the time the landscape design industry was dominated by strong form with no concern for environmental issues, instant installation, simplistic and linear use of plants, reliance on chemicals, little craftsmanship and artistry, no understanding of soil health, no biodiversity, and maintenance programs which required regular "mow and blow" and ball pruning crews. These ideas produced gardens that were environmentally unhealthy and aesthetically barren and were unbalanced creating dead spaces for all forms of life. They did little to bring peace, calm, emotional well being, and healthy food to their owners and visitors. The gardens were not helping to counteract the fast paced intense high world which is prevalent today. A few years later Secret Gardens was created to emphasize the theme of the children’s book, The Secret Garden, which was that gardens can heal all kinds of physical and mental problems. Kathryn’s companies were established because people were not getting the kinds of gardens people emotional wanted and needed and the earth was not being healed with each garden space.

Kathryn first began by designing gardens on paper and letting landscape contractors install them. She quickly realized that this process was not solving the problems that she wanted to correct. Having gardened and tried to improve California’s soil since childhood, she has always been comfortable working on the land. Soon the company began constructing their designs, obtained a landscape contractor’s license, opened a garden store, and established a nursery in Aptos and San Jose to grow and hold unique and hard to find plants for their garden designs. In 2001 the company moved to the San Jose garden in which Kathryn had gardened since she was five. The office/garden is in San Jose's historical rose garden neighbourhood. With the move her company began doing only garden design, consultation, plant and garden art selection, and maintenance coordination and education.

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1698 Hanchett Avenue,
San Jose, CA 95128
Phone : 408 292 9595


© Kathryn Mathewson Associates and Secret Gardens 1979-2008