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April 6, 2017

Garden Symposium 2017: Growing Great Rewards in Small Spaces

Gardeners’ ambitions are ever-growing, but as cities rise, suburbs sprawl and retirees downsize, the space available to them often shrinks. Colonial Williamsburg’s 71st Annual Garden Symposium examines the “Small Spaces, Great Rewards” that await growers April 28-30.

Symposium presentations feature cultivation advice from experts including Brie Arthur of PBS’ Growing a Greener World and Bryce H. Lane, horticulturist and N.C. State alumni distinguished undergraduate professor emeritus. Guests can learn about cooking and other uses of their harvest, including tips on use of home-grown plants for fragrance, with a program on creating essential oil blends by Holly H. Shimizu, interim executive director of the American Horticultural Society, the Symposium’s cosponsor.

“Today’s gardeners seek to make more of small spaces, and not just for aesthetics. We’re increasingly ambitious in preparing the food we grow, and in using plants to support health in other ways,” said Laura Viancour, Colonial Williamsburg’s landscape director and a presenter. “At this year’s Garden Symposium we’ll hear fresh perspectives on making the most of gardening in small spaces, and as always we will draw lessons from history.”

Highlights of this year’s Garden Symposium include:
  • Presentations by Lane on landscaping, gardening and tree selection within small spaces

  • Arthur, author of “The Foodscaping Revolution” discusses the movement and share tips for growing heirloom tomatoes

  • Tips from Rollin Woolley, retired Colonial Williamsburg landscape supervisor, on “Fruits and Fermentations,” specifically crafting of wine and cider, growth of hops and other botanicals for ales, and fermentation of vegetables to make sauerkraut and kimchi.

  • Williamsburg Inn Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director Travis Brust discusses “Flavors from the Garden” and shares recipes in a session at Colonial Williamsburg’s Taste Studio demonstration kitchen

  • Paleo and Rodale’s Organic Life contributor and horticulturalist Frank Hyman discusses “Foraging in Your Own Backyard” for foods like purslane, sorrel, and onion grass

  • Ancient and modern insights on plants that support health from Michael J. Balick of the New York Botanical Garden

Each ticket includes presentations; two morning coffee breaks; an afternoon tea with Colonial Williamsburg gardeners Friday, April 28; an evening reception Saturday, April 29 and Colonial Williamsburg Admission through May 6. Registration is available online at or by calling 1-800-603-0948 toll-free between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Registration is $325 per person and $300 for AHS members. Conference participants may purchase guest tickets for the tea, and for the reception, for $45 each and Colonial Williamsburg admission for guests, also good through May 6, for $20 per person.

Accommodations are available at the Colonial Houses – Historic Lodging, at the Williamsburg Lodge and at the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites, with rates beginning at $122 per night. Room and dining reservations are available by calling 1-800-261-9530; while services at the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg are available by calling 1-800-688-6479.

Additional information about Colonial Williamsburg is available by visiting Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contact:
Joe Straw