The Study Weekend Speakers & Topics

Tom Fischer:
“Dreaming Deeper: A Who’s Who of Ground-Breaking Gardeners”

The history of gardening overflows with the names of women and men who have changed the way we view and practice gardening. Who are they, and why do they matter? Tom looks at some of the most important figures who have transformed gardening, focusing on the originality of their accomplishments and on what they still have to teach us today. His hope is that this will provide some context for our weekend of gardening reimagined.

Tom FischerTom Fischer is senior acquisitions editor at Timber Press in Portland, Oregon, which he joined in 2004. At Timber he has acquired a number of ground-breaking books, including Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home; The Art of Gardening, by the staff of Chanticleer; and Garden Revolution, by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher. His efforts as an editor have focused on bringing the best, most inspiring, and most environmentally responsible gardening books to the reading public.

Tom’s many articles have been featured in magazines such as Horticulture, Garden Design, Gardens Illustrated, and Martha Stewart Living. His book, Perennial Companions: 100 Dazzling Plant Combinations for Every Season, was published by Timber Press in February 2009, followed by The Gardener’s Color Palette in 2010. He has served as a judge for flower shows in Boston, New York, and Seattle, and has been a judge for books and magazine articles for the Garden Writers Association. In 2017 he received the B. Y. Morrison Communication Award from the American Horticultural Society.

Patrick Cullina:

“The Uncommon Common: The Role of Dynamic Landscapes in Transforming Our Communities”

With communities across the country seeking to revitalize themselves in ways that will make them greener, more vibrant, and more livable than ever before, dynamic, plant-driven landscapes are playing a seminal role in many successful transformations. This colorful presentation will explore a range of strategies that integrate environmental interests with our shared cultural experiences and examines the impacts that the creative uses of plants can have on our lives.

Patrick CullinaPatrick Cullina is an award-winning horticulturist, landscape designer, photographer, lecturer, and organizational consultant with more than twenty years of experience in the landscape field. He runs a design and consulting business based in Manhattan that is dedicated to the innovative and sensitive integration of plants and materials into a diverse range of compelling designs—drawing inspiration from the both the natural world and constructed environments alike. Previously, he was the founding Vice President of Horticulture and Park Operations for New York City's High Line; the Vice President of Horticulture, Operations and Science Research at Brooklyn Botanic Garden; and the Associate Director of the Rutgers University Gardens in affiliation with the school's Department of Landscape Architecture. His work in horticulture has been recognized by organizations like the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Garden Club of America (Zone Horticultural Commendation, 2010) and the Garden Club of New Jersey (Gold Medal, 2005).

Stacy Hirvela:
“(Design) Elements of Surprise: Gardening with ornamentals that happen to be edible”

Beauty, of course, is sufficient qualification for including a plant in a garden.  But why not aspire to a little more?  Discover the surprisingly edible qualities of both familiar and new landscape plants that bring something else to the table, literally and figuratively.  Expand your palette - and your palate - with plants that are as worthy of your garden as they are of your kitchen.

Stacy HirvelaStacy Hirvela.   After working as a landscaper while she earned her bachelor's degree in linguistics, Stacey finally realized her calling was in the garden.  She attended the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture in Bronx, NY, interning as a rooftop gardener in Manhattan for designer Jeff Mendoza.  Upon graduation, she served as the horticulturist for the former Tavern of the Green restaurant in New York's Central Park for three years before joining the editorial staff at Martha Stewart Living magazine.  There, she created, wrote, and edited garden content and co-hosted a call-in program on Sirius satellite radio.  In May 2011, she joined the marketing team at Spring Meadow Nursery/Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs where she continues to educate and encourage gardeners of all levels of experience.  Her first book, Edible Spots & Pots, was published by Rodale in March 2014.


Kelly D. Norris:
“Reimagining the Perennial Palette”

With all the interest in the New Perennial Movement and a market shift toward sustainable gardening, a new palette of plants has emerged at the intersection of form and function. Perennials used in this style of gardening thrive in social arrangements, translating their native ecologies into beautiful communities of plants that ultimately require less resources and incorporate more diversity into the modern landscape. While many old favorites continue to have a place in these contemporary designs, many underappreciated perennials, particularly natives, have a new context in which to be appreciated. Plantsman Kelly Norris will highlight several examples of sustainable, plant-driven gardens from across the country, comparing and contrasting them to the wild circumstances that inspired them, while introducing the audience to the perennials within them.

Kelly NorrisKelly D. Norris is an author and plantsman from Iowa and the director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Organic Gardening, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Garden Design, and in numerous local and regional media appearances.

As a writer and photographer, he regularly contributes to popular gardening magazines like Country Gardens, Fine Gardening, and The American Gardener and is a contributing editor to Greenhouse Grower, an industry trade magazine. He’s popularly known for his book A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts from Timber Press, which won the 2013 American Horticultural Society Book Award. His most recent book—Plants with Style—was published in December 2015.

Kelly has received the Perennial Plant Association’s Young Professional Award and the American Horticultural Society’s Emerging Horticultural Professional Award, recognizing early-career leadership and achievements.

Claire Takacs
“Exquisite Beauty: A New Way of Seeing Gardens”

As a photographer, Claire works with light and how this can provide a new way of seeing or appreciating gardens—indeed, it is the key to reimagining gardens. Whereas much garden photography concentrates on plant combinations and on familiar ways of viewing, light, more than anything else, creates atmosphere and mood. In her talk she will focus on gardens from around the world that have really surprised her and are completely unique, whether they derive their originality from distinctive plant choices, a remarkable setting, expert design, or some ineffable combination of all three, striving to show them in ways that will add a whole new dimension to how we view gardens.

Claire TakacsClaire Takacs is an Australian photographer who loves to capture the beauty and essence of gardens and landscapes around the world, particularly while working with light. She sees gardens often as works of art and believes in their ever-increasing importance in our daily lives. Her work is widely published in magazines internationally and she is a regular contributor to Gardens Illustrated. She won the inaugural International Garden Photographer of the Year Award in 2008 and each year continues to be recognized in the industry for her work. Her first solo book, Dreamscapes, chronicling 70 of her favorite gardens, was published by Hardie Grant in October 2017. Her second book, Australian Dreamscapes, was published in November, 2018. She has recently completed documenting Dan Hinkley’s garden for Timber Press’s forthcoming book, The Gardens at Windcliff.


Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott:
“Native or Nonnative Plants? Using Good Plant Science to Make Good Choices”

Public enthusiasm for native plants has resulted in some local governments requiring a certain percentage of native trees and shrubs in new landscape installations. Native plants can be wonderful additions to home gardens and landscapes—but are they always the best choice? We’ll look at the current science regarding the effects of native and nonnative woody species on landscape stability. We’ll finish by considering some great native plant choices for home landscapes.

Linda Chalker-ScottDr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA-certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university extension fact sheets.

Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press; Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science—Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing; and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do, from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, from UW Press (2019).
She also is one of the Garden Professors—a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award.



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