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Sean B. Hogan started in the nursery industry at the age of 3, rooting boxwood cuttings and succulents in the sandbox of his Portland, Oregon boyhood home. His family later moved to Sacramento where he pursued his education at American River College and Sacramento State in the areas of horticulture and botany. Early work included mapping rare and endangered plants, mostly Cactaceae and Portulacaceae, for the State of California as well as landscape and design work, often revolving around his love of western natives.
From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, Hogan served as the curator of the South African, New Zealand, Australian, New World Desert and the California Native Cultivar Gardens of the University of California, Berkeley, Botanic Garden. In 1995, he and his partner, University of California Davis Arboretum Botanist Parker Sanderson, returned to Hogan's native Portland to start a design and consultation firm specializing in regionally appropriate plants for the Pacific Northwest. This work eventually evolved into their opening of Cistus Nursery, located on Sauvie Island in the Columbia River outside Portland, widely held to be among best of the west coast retail-micronurseries.
Hogan has lectured extensively in North American and Europe, often about his explorations of South America, South Africa and the western regions of the United States and northern Mexico. His writing and photos can be found in an extremely wide range of horticultural and botanical literature and magazines. He edited the 20,000 plus entry Flora, published by Timber Press in October 2003 and published Trees for All Seasons with Timber Press in 2008.