Kick Off the Garden Season!
Winter begins as a luscious time when we gardeners can rest, indulge in a bit of armchair travel, weave new garden dreams, and prepare for the year ahead. At a certain point, however, those catalogs and magazines and books that were so blissfully engrossing in December and January just aren’t enough. Join the Garden Conservancy in March and April for four Open Days spring Digging Deeper lectures in Millbrook, NY. Come out of dormancy to chat with other winter-weary gardeners, hear a host of great ideas from great speakers, and go home charged up, ready for action, and with a taste for the fabulous Open Days season that lies ahead.
Acclaimed landscape architect and educator Susan Cohen will launch our lecture series on Sunday, March 4, with an inspirational tour de force, titled “Finding Design: Landscape Architecture and the Creative Process.” A longtime Open Days host, Susan explains that, “Visiting exceptional gardens provides joy in my life and design inspiration in all of my work. This habit of poking around in other people's gardens also led directly to the subject of my book.” The Inspired Landscape: Twenty-One Leading Landscape Architects Explore the Creative Process (Timber Press, 2015).
In a series of vignettes, Susan will reveal the specific—and often unexpected—design inspirations for projects around the world. They include a roof garden at the Museum of Modern Art in New York inspired by a French film made in the 1950s, a drought-resistant landscape in California inspired by a Van Gogh painting, a campus plaza in Israel inspired by historic desert canyons known as wadis, and a Shinto shrine garden in Japan designed by a Zen Buddhist priest.
On Saturday, March 24, settle in for a treat as kitchen gardener and raconteur, Pamela Page, shares “I Plant, Therefore, I Am—Stories from a Connecticut Kitchen Garden.” In Ho Hum Hollow Farm—an Open Days favorite and Pamela’s private 10,000-square-foot kitchen garden—she grows almost 200 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, everything from the usual farmer’s market produce to rare or heirloom varieties. A sought-after kitchen garden designer and educator, as well as a documentary filmmaker, Pamela traces the evolution of her own kitchen garden to share inspirations and challenges, plus favorite techniques and varieties. “I’ve got so many jars in my cupboards, my freezers are so packed, you could mistake me for a survivalist. But in the coldest months of the year, when I reach as I routinely do, for my own tomato sauce or soup, one of last year’s butternut squash, a pumpkin, a giant jar of pickles, roasted peppers, a fruit preserve, or even a head of home-grown garlic, I couldn’t feel happier, or prouder, to have a kitchen garden.” To help fuel Pamela’s clarion call, local Turtle Tree Seed will be selling favorite varieties of certified organic and biodynamic, 100% open-pollinated seeds both before and after this lecture.
On Saturday, April 14, garden designer, author, and coast-to-coast lecturer Kerry Ann Mendez will suggest smart, innovative choices for beautiful gardens and containers that also save money, time, and water with tips from her newest book, The Budget-Wise Gardener (St. Lynn’s Press, 2017). The elegant results belie their budget-friendly origins. Typical of her trademark mix of inspiration, enthusiasm, and pragmatism, Kerry urges us all to try the shrubby Clematis ‘Arabella’ as a groundcover or a spiller in containers. Awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, ‘Arabella’ is considered the longest blooming clematis, covered in three-inch blue-violet flowers throughout summer and into the early fall. Kerry will be signing copies of her new book after her lecture.
Our Digging Deeper spring lecture series in Millbrook will wrap up (just as local gardens are really getting going) on Saturday, April 28, with Tovah Martin leading “A Bootcamp for the Senses.” A beloved garden writer who regularly shares her wisdom with Open Days visitors, Tovah will give a talk created to coincide with the publication of her new book, The Garden in Every Sense and Season (Timber Press, April 2018). “Like most gardeners, I spent my days trotting around putting out fires in the garden, deaf to its many stimuli. Then the eureka happened. When I began to consciously plug in, the garden gained layers on all levels. Join us and come to your senses. Together, let’s submerge and explore the gardening experience for all it’s worth. Learn innovative ideas for attracting birds with berries and pollinators with fodder flowers while repelling nibblers. The goal? To go home and truly sense your garden for the first time and then increase its richness. You’ve earned it.” After her talk, Tovah will host a book signing.
All four of these Open Days Digging Deeper spring lectures will be held at the Cary Institute in Millbrook, NY. Registration is $30 for members of the Garden Conservancy, Cary Institute, and Innisfree Garden, and $35 for the general public. Register online at the individual links above or by calling the Garden Conservancy at the Open Days toll-free number 888.842.2442.