Claire Sawyers

Director of Scott Arboretum

Claire Sawyers, 51, Media
Director, Scott Arboretum; recipient of the Garden Club of America’s 2008 Zone V Horticulture Commendation

» Books on her night stand: A Brief Guide to Charles Darwin, His Life and Times by Cyril Aydon.

» Musical artists on repeat: Lila Downs. She sings in Spanish, English and Nahuatl, a native language of Oaxaca, Mexico. And Michel Camilo, who’s a Latin jazz pianist.

» Restaurant of the hour: Margaret Kuo’s in Media.

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» Personal hero: My hero of the moment is Dr. Peter Raven. We just presented the 2009 Scott Medal and Award to him. He’s led a life devoted to public horticulture, but also plant conservation.

» One thing she knows for sure: Life is short.

» Very own vici: I’m pretty proud that I’ve managed to write a book, The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating a Sense of Place. It was a five-year project, because I didn’t give up my life while trying to write it. It was cold winter weekends and dark winter nights that I was willing to devote to it.

» Zen destination: Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs, Va. There are two barns built in the 1700s—a men’s pool and a women’s pool. They’re natural hot springs. There’s something extremely meditative about it.

» If she had an extra hour each day, she would: Become more proficient in Spanish, not have so many books on my “to read” pile, and take more walks around Ridley Creek State Park.

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» Pet peeve: Wastefulness.

» Life view: chance or fate? Chance. I’ve been very lucky, and that’s not luck by design.

» Most marked characteristic: It’s very hard to see myself. I’ve avoided ceremonies, I’ve never gone to a graduation, and I’ve never been married. While I love ceremonies and festivals, it’s more about looking at them than being a part of them.

» Mantra: Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!