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Tis the Season for Garden Lectures

Tis the Season – For Garden Lectures!

I don’t know about other parts of the country – but here in New York City we are so fortunate to enjoy a very robust lecture schedule every winter.

While the gardener in us may miss being in the garden, we are nevertheless busy and happy learning more about the garden and the wonderful world of horticulture.
We also get to network and visit with our fellow gardeners and plant lovers, swapping stories, plant finds, and tips.

We are doubly blessed that the talent pool for guest speakers is so rich and deep here in Gotham.

Following is a Gardening Lecture schedule for me this year. Here’s hoping if you are in the area, that you can attend some, if not all of these events.

The New York Botanical Garden:
I am particularly looking forward to hearing Dan Pearson, who kicks off the NYBG “From the Ground Up: Gardens Re-Imagined” Lecture Series.

Dan is slated to speak January 21st . His “Into the Wild” talk will “explore recent garden projects including The Millennium Forest in Japan and a private garden in Torrechia, Italy that illustrate his interest in natural landscapes and indigenous flora.

February 18th is Year-Round Gardening with Barbara Damrosch
March 25th is Edible Estates: Full Frontal Gardening with Fritz Haeg

All lectures are 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Wave Hill Garden:

I’m excited to hear all three of the speakers in this series. My former BBG associate, Patrick Cullina will speak about the sexy and still-so-new park the High Line. Patrick is an engaging speaker and expert plantsman.

I am especially eager to attend my friend Stephen’s lecture ☺ I first met Stephen when he was an editor at House & Garden magazine. He possesses a very special purview on the world of gardens – and he is very generous in his knowledge. His blog showcases his charming world:
Here you will also see some previews of his upcoming book (I couldn’t believe it was his first), “Tomorrow’s Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening” published by Rodale Press and due out in the fall of this year.

And I admire and respect everything Dominique Browning does – from her days as editor in chief of House & Garden magazine – she had the best Letter from Editor – so warm and interesting and topical. Always seemed to hit the right note. I also look forward to her reviews in the New York Times Book Reviews:

To purchase tickets visit:

Here is the garden’s overview:
This annual winter series invites distinguished lecturers to discuss their work, providing inspiration for spring gardens. Hosted by Wave Hill’s Friends of Horticulture Committee, Wave Hill’s Horticultural Lectures are presented at the New York School of Interior Design, 170 East 70th Street in Manhattan, starting at 6pm.

Wednesday, January 20, Patrick Cullina, Vice President of Horticulture and Operations for Friends of the High Line, explores this recent, unique urban landscape from a horticultural perspective.

Wednesday, February 24, writer, editor and self-taught gardener Stephen Orr focuses on a new approach to landscaping, one championed by a number of designers and homeowners, that marries traditional environmental concerns with a flexibility and a sensitivity to aesthetics previously missing from green-gardening orthodoxies of the past.

Wednesday, March 17, writer, editor and consultant Dominique Browning shares musings and readings: Her third book, Slow Love, will be published in the spring of 2010.

Horticultural Society of New York:

HSNY always offers excellent lectures and events and this season is starting off with a bang, as Katherine Powis their Librarian wrote recently. I agree.

I will attend the North American Rock Garden Society Program Meeting
Lecturer Colta Ives: “The Impressionist in the Garden: The Avant-Garde 19th Century Painters As Gardeners, Strollers, & Outdoor Loungers.” I am especially looking forward to the lecture on the 28th: Morocco: Courtyards and Gardens because joining me will be my garden gals: Donna Dorian (Garden Design magazine), Pat Jonas (BBG) and Zazel Loven, (Organic Gardening magazine)….

And I keen to attend a special HSNY fundraiser that is part of their Important Books & Authors Series. Tuesday, January 26th at 6 pm, my friends, Suzy Bales
Suzy will offer an exclusive, first-look at her latest book, Garden Bouquets & Beyond. For more information about the book and to reserve a copy:

This evening sounds a bit swankier than the usual talk ☺ The event is to take place at Doubles restaurant in the Sherry-Netherland hotel at 783 Fifth Avenue. The evening kicks off with cocktails (Can’t beat that as a sure fire winner!) and Light Fare. Suzy will speak to the guests starting at 7 p.m., followed by the book signing.
Promises to be elegant and informative.

HSNY Schedule:
Last evening featured: Stories from Tree Project
Hiroshi Sunairi conducted an illustrated discussion with several project participants who presented their personal documentation of their trees and shared their experiences with growing plants from hibaku seeds.

Tuesday, January 19
The Hort Library Book Club reads
The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White
Join us for a fun and thoughtful discussion. Open to the public.
6pm at The Hort Library

Thursday, January 21
Green Screen Film Series presents
Visual Acoustics, A film by Eric Bricker
Narrated by Dustin Hoffman
Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world’s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Shulman, who passed away this year, captured the work of nearly every major modern and progressive architect since the 1930s including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s modernist movement and brought its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.

Visual Acoustics won the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize at the Lone Star International Film Festival and Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking from the Newport Beach Film Festival.

At The Horticultural Society of New York
Doors open at 6pm; film starts promptly at 6:30pm
Refreshments served
RSVP via email
Visit the Filmmaker’s website and view the trailer!

Monday, January 25
North American Rock Garden Society Program Meeting
Lecturer Colta Ives: “The Impressionist in the Garden: The Avant-Garde 19th Century Painters As Gardeners, Strollers, & Outdoor Loungers”
Colta Ives is a NARGS Manhattan Chapter Member and Curator of Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
6pm at The Horticultural Society of New York

Thursday, January 28
An illustrated lecture and book signing with Achva Stein
Director of the Landscape Architecture Program At City College
Presented in partnership with the New York Chapter of
The American Society of Landscape Architects

Tuesday, February 9
The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural & Natural History of Cacao with Recipes
Lecture and book signing with Maricel E. Presilla
6pm – 7:30pm at the Hort Library

For full details and to register, visit the HSNY website:

MetroHort Group:

While you must be a member to attend this group’s lectures and events – usually held at the Armory in Central Park — you can always join! MetroHort is an association of horticultural professionals in the New York City Tri-State Region.

The first of the season’s lectures was January 7th . As host of the event, our ever-popular & successful Commissioner of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Adrian Benepe, welcomed the attendees remarking, “Now I know what gardeners do when it’s too cold outside to garden. They come to lectures!”
The featured speaker was to have been Michael Van Valkenburgh, architect. However, he was taken ill and Matt Urbanski, lead designer on many of the firm’s public projects, gamely stepped in. He was spectacular! Witty, smart, and a very knowledgeable plant person (he and his father run a nursery in the Garden State) – he had the standing room only crowd in the palm of his hand.

His topic was:
“Plane Trees to Plain Trees – and Beyond: A Personal Horticultural Odyssey from the Cornell Hort Department to Designing Parks and Gardens in New York City”

Matt highlighted the fantastic new park being installed along the Brooklyn waterfront.  It’s being built on what once were piers from ships bringing flour to New York!  Consequently, there is good soil – meaning it wasn’t contaminated as food was loaded and unloaded on these terminals.
The park will also have a fabulous view of the Manhattan skyline – and the ethereal spires of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Upcoming with MetroHort:

February 10th, 2010

Time: 6:00pm

Steve Castorani – North Creek Nurseries:

Native plants play a critical role in sustaining the natural environment, while at the same time providing striking interest and beauty in our landscapes. Steve Castorani will explore the many new varieties of native plants now available or soon to be introduced through North Creek Nursery and the American Beauties Native Plant® program. 

Steve Castorani is co-founder with Dale Hendricks of North Creek Nurseries, Landenberg, PA, where he is currently the COO and CFO of this progressive nursery that specializes in perennial plant plug production with an emphasis on Eastern regional natives. In 2004, Steve co-created the American Beauties Plant® brand, a portion of whose sales benefit the National Wildlife Foundation’s wildlife habitat program. A past president of the International Plant Propagator’s Society, he was awarded the honor of Society Fellow in 2005. Steve currently serves on the Delaware Invasive Species Council developing guidelines for the implementation of an invasive species policy for the state.

Dick Lightly – Gardening on Earth: One Couple’s 46 Years on 7 Acres
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, Time: 6:00 pm


  • Native plants play a critical role in sustaining the natural environment, what kind of methods can be used to make this happen?

  • Nicole,
    Likewise – I am glad to hear from a member of the Dominique fan club! I will write about her recent lecture shortly, but suffice to say she possesses that rare ability to use words to charm and hold an an audience rapt. We are under her spell – and willingly so 🙂 thanks for the Facebook page alert. I'm on it! Happy spring. And thanks for the follow.

  • Dear Wendy,
    I Adore Longwood Gardens and their horticultural displays. I would be honored to attend the Rare Plant Auction and write about it. Funding for Plants is noble 🙂 I will also add to the season's calendar of Must Attend Events! thank you.

  • Hi Garden Duchess,
    I see several familiar names in your list of upcoming NYC events and am wondering if you'd be willing to give a plug for our Rare Plant Auction that will be held at Longwood Gardens on April 24. It is the 30th anniversary of this gala event that raises more than $100,000 each year for the Delaware Center for Horticulture. Perhaps you'd even be interested in attending this year and could also blog about this fabulous auction from your personal experience. Please contact me if you'd like to learn more.

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