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January 28, 2010

CW's 64th annual Garden Symposium examines how to adapt garden design and plant selection from historic sites to the modern home garden

Colonial Williamsburg’s period gardens and other historic sites provide an infinite selection of ideas that can be adapted effectively to the modern home garden. During “Timeless Lessons from Historic Gardens,” Colonial Williamsburg’s 64th annual Garden Symposium will focus on design concepts, gardening techniques and plant selections that have stood the test of time. The symposium will take place at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on April 11-12.

Speakers will emphasize the elements of traditional gardens that can be customized easily to smaller, residential settings and include:

  • Jennifer R. Bartley, principal, American Potager, LLC, Granville, Ohio, The Seasonal, Useful and Edible Garden. Bartley holds a master's degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State University, where she has served as an adjunct professor and critic in the design studios. She is now a landscape designer, artist and photographer. She has traveled extensively throughout France to study traditional potagers (kitchen gardens) and has created her own versions of these gardens for American chefs and gardeners devoted to using fresh, seasonal and local food. By emphasizing both functionality and design in her work, Bartley seeks to create beautiful and vibrant gardens that embrace a simpler life more connected to the landscape, the seasons and the food we eat.
  • Ken Druse, nationally known garden expert, author and lecturer, New York, N.Y., Planthropology: Secrets of the Garden—Revealed! Druse is the author of several books, including “The Natural Garden,” “The Natural Shade Garden,” “The Natural Habitat Garden,” “The Collector's Garden” and “Making More Plants: The Science, Art and Joy of Propagation.” This last work is a best-seller and winner of Best Book of the Year from the American Horticultural Society and Award of the Year from the Garden Writers Association of America. His book, “Ken Druse: The Passion for Gardening,” won Best Book of the Year from the American Horticultural Society in 2004. He is the recipient of the Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for "Literary Achievement" from the Garden Club of America.
  • John Forti, curator, historic gardens and landscapes, Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, N.H., Historic Landscapes—Creating a Sense of Time and Place. A nationally recognized garden historian, herbalist and museum curator, Forti blows the dust off time-honored yet underused garden remedies, artisanal foods and horticultural practices, helping audience members apply tried and true methods to their modern lifestyles. Forti teaches with a unique sense of place and historical world view, which has joyfully engaged audiences with centuries of lifestyle choices, as well as a view to a more sustainable future. Under Forti’s leadership, Strawbery Banke has earned recognition as one of the “Top Ten Favorite Public Gardens” in “People, Places and Plants” reader/viewer polls. As curator of historic landscapes at Strawbery Banke, he has brought international recognition to the living history museum by creating an award-winning Victorian Hothouse exhibit, Community Garden and Seed-to-Table Programs, a popular daily garden tour program and a Slow Food Convivium, “Slow Food Seacoast.” Forti served for 12 years as horticulturist for Plimoth Plantation Museum, where he re-created, restored and taught from Native American and colonial gardens and landscape design from the renowned Olmsted firm. He also developed a successful Historic Seeds Program and lecture series, helping the museum become an internationally treasured public garden site.
  • Gordon Hayward, garden designer, author and lecturer, Putney, Vt., Small Gardens, Small Buildings. Hayward grew up on an orchard in northwestern Connecticut and is a nationally recognized garden designer, writer and lecturer. He wrote for Horticulture magazine for 25 years and lectured with the magazine on nine multi-city lecture tours across America. He was a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine for six years and is now a contributing editor at Organic Gardening magazine. He is the author of 10 books on garden design. He and his wife Mary have been developing a one-and-a-half acre garden around their 220-year-old farmhouse in southern Vermont for the past 26 years, as well as a garden outside their cottage in the Cotswold Hills of England. Hayward’s books have won two national awards. “Your House, Your Garden” won a book award from the American Horticultural Society. His book, “Small Buildings, Small Gardens,” won the Benjamin Franklin Award for the Best Garden Book for 2007 from the Independent Book Publishers Association. His 20th and most recent book, “Art and the Gardener,” is based on a lecture he first gave at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1995.
  • Scott Kunst, owner, Old House Gardens, Ann Arbor, Mich., Heirloom Bulbs for Every Garden: Tough, Gorgeous and Enduring. Kunst has been gardening since he was seven. His first house, an 1870s fixer-upper, led to an epiphany. “I found a single white peony in the yard and some tiger lilies, and suddenly I realized that it wasn’t just my yard. Gardeners before me had loved it too.” Wanting to know more, he earned a master’s degree in historic preservation and started free-lancing as a landscape historian, helping museum sites and homeowners research and restore their grounds. An avid collector of heirloom plants, Kunst launched Old House Gardens - Heirloom Bulbs in 1993. He has taught landscape history and preservation at Eastern Michigan University, spearheaded the successful drive to add historic daffodils to every show of the American Daffodil Society, written articles for numerous national magazines including Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Old-House Journal, and planted heirloom bulbs with Martha Stewart on national TV.
  • G. Michael Shoup, owner, The Antique Rose Emporium, Brenham, Texas, Lessons from a Rose Rustler. Shoup earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Trinity University and a master’s degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University. In 1976, he started Containerized Plants Inc., which grew and sold woody plants and hardy, old-fashioned perennials and neglected old garden roses. In 1984, he opened the Antique Rose Emporium that specialized in the reintroduction and distribution of these historic roses. This developed into display gardens/retail centers in Independence and San Antonio, Texas. These unique retail centers consist of theme gardens that show the versatility of antique roses in garden settings. His work has been recognized in Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines and in many trade journals. Shoup is past president of the board of directors of the Heritage Rose Foundation, an organization dedicated to the preservation of old garden roses. He has published two books, “Roses in the Southern Garden” and “Landscaping with Antique Roses,” co-authored with Liz Druitt.

    In addition to the featured speakers, Mary V. Hughes, university landscape architect, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., will discuss Colonial Revival Garden Design during one of the concurrent sessions. Hughes oversees contemporary landscape design and cultural landscape preservation for the main campus in Charlottesville, as well as remote research stations and the UVA College at Wise in southwest Virginia. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as historical landscape architect for the Midwest region of the National Park Service, overseeing preservation projects for a wide range of vernacular and designed landscapes in national parks and historic sites throughout a 10-state region.

    Other concurrent sessions will feature Colonial Williamsburg staff, area experts and Garden Symposium speakers. Sessions include: “From Field to Fork,” Williamsburg Lodge executive chef Rhys Lewis; “Horticulture in the Historic Area,” Scott Kunst and Colonial Williamsburg staff arborist Tony Craig, landscape supervisor Susan Dippre, garden historian Wesley Greene and curator of plants Lawrence Griffith; “Touring Private and Public Gardens: How to Make the Most of Your Experience,” Gordon Hayward; “Williamsburg Floral Design – Myth or Magic?” Clark Taggart, Williamsburg Inn floral designer; “Colonial Revival Garden Design,” Mary V. Hughes; “Behind the Scenes at the Production Nursery,” Colonial Williamsburg staff nursery foreman Hunter Curry, mason foreman Rick Williams, landscape supervisor Rollin Woolley and James City County master gardener Jack Gross; “Old Roses: The Ultimate Garden Plant,” G. Michael Shoup; “Behind the Scenes – Facilities Maintenance Warehouse”; “The Herbalist’s Garden,” John Forti.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the American Horticultural Society (AHS) are co-sponsors of the 64th annual Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium.

    Registration is $200 per person, and $175 for AHS members. Guests can register exclusively for lectures on Sunday, April 11 for $100 per person or $85 for AHS members. Registration for programs on Monday, April 12 is $125 per person or $110 for AHS members. Guests also can sign up for a Bird Walk, Sunrise at the Governor’s Palace Garden and Daybreak at the Capitol for $15 per person.

    Preregistration and payment in full are required. Payment can be made in the form of check, or charged to American Express, Discover, Visa or MasterCard. There are four easy ways to register for the Garden Symposium:

  • 1. Online:
  • 2. Phone: 1-800-603-0948, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. (EST)
  • 3. Fax: (757) 565-8921
  • 4. Mail: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Conferences, Forums and Workshops, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776.

    Special hotel rates are available at Colonial Williamsburg Hotels for Garden Symposium registrants. For room reservations call 1-800-261-9530, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    Distinctive dining options are offered throughout the Colonial Williamsburg Hotels and in the Historic Area. From a classically elegant setting to a more casual atmosphere to signature tavern dining experiences, each of Colonial Williamsburg’s restaurants and taverns is within steps of the conference facilities. Dining reservations can be made by calling 1-800-261-9530, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg offers a full menu of services. A team of world-renowned experts have collaborated to create a spa that exudes southern charm, harmonizes with its historical surroundings, reflects its colonial heritage, and honors traditions of health and wellness throughout American culture. To make your reservation, please call 1-800-688-6479.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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