Horticulture Symposium

Sponsored by Horticulture and the JCRA

"Smaller Gardens/Big Ideas"

  • Saturday, October 20, 2007 – 8:00 am4:00 pm

Having a smaller space to plant really concentrates our focus. Within visible boundaries – a townhouse lot, a tiny front yard, the space in the back that's left after that new addition – we face the challenge of designing a retreat that combines wonderful plants, great design ideas, and a space from which to survey it all. Simplify and edit become our watchwords and only the choicest plants need apply.

It's all about discovering the true potential of every inch. Take a second look at your existing structures – the garage, the fence that hides the A/C unit, the compost bins, even the swing set – and see how you might re-purpose them. Gordon Hayward, designer, author and hands-on practical gardener, has an eye for this and the ability to help us look at the familiar and see how it might be woven into our gardens. When it comes to planting, "choice" is the emphasis. Where some gardeners might plant masses and sweeps, we are into drifts of one. And here, most definitely, only favorites will be included. Some might decide to devote the whole garden to a single theme – to grasses or herbs, vegetables, roses, a collection of topiaries or a mini maze – but Rosemary Alexander, author, garden designer, founder and principal of the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Garden, has ways of helping us integrate a web of ideas into a cohesive picture. Lucy Hardiman, author, garden designer and past president of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, shares case studies in the making of intimate garden areas, drawn from vignettes in larger landscapes as well as the inside stories of tiny gardens. And Scott Kunst, bulb enthusiast and founder of Old House Gardens, spotlights the very best antique bulbs – distinctive rarities from colonial daffodils to wild gladiolus that will bring visual riches and emotional depth to a garden as small as a single container.

The symposium will be held in the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education. The McKimmon Center is also part of NC State University and is less than five minutes from the Arboretum.

The Program

8:00 AM – Registration
Registration and Morning Refreshments

8:45 AM – Focusing a Smaller Space
Presented by: Nan Blake Sinton
Nan Blake Sinton, Director of Programs, Horticulture magazine

9:15 AM – Creating Gardens around Structures
Presented by: Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward shows how you can discover new potential for garden areas by looking at both existing features and potential new structures and letting these become the starting points for new planting plans.

10:15 AM – Stretch Break and Book Sale

10:45 AM – Rich Planting: Tailoring Big Ideas to Fit the Site
Presented by: Rosemary Alexander
Rosemary Alexander shares her methods for deconstructing large planting schemes and re-inventing them to fit the small garden.

11:45 AM – Questions With The Morning Speakers

12:00 PM – Lunch, book sale and informal chat with the speakers

1:15 PM – Get Real: Case Studies in the Intimate Garden
Presented by: Lucy Hardiman
Lucy Hardiman explains how spaces become gardens when she shows how even the most unlikely space, from sidewalk to side yard, can have real garden potential.

2:15 PM – Heirloom Bulbs: Unique, Endangered, Amazing
Presented by: Scott Kunst
Scott Kunst has been enthralled by heirloom bulbs for years and knows that as garden "treasures" they are uniquely suited to small spaces. He will help you feel their fascination and learn how to mingle them into your plantings so that they can make your garden a treasure house of history and beauty.

3:30 P.M – Discussing the Topics with the Day's Speakers

Breakfast with Tony Avent and the Symposium Speakers

October 19, 2007 (Friday) – 10:00 AM

See for yourself why autumn is such a great season for gardening, as Tony and the Plant Delights Nursery folks invite you to a private stroll in the gardens at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens, with time to shop if you wish.


Rosemary Alexander, founder and principal of the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Garden, London, writes and lectures worldwide on garden design. For eleven years, she was tenant of the National Trust Property, Stoneacre, in Kent, where she created a romantic garden. Her recent books include The Garden Maker's Manual (with Richard Sneesby) and The Essential Garden Design Workbook.

Lucy Hardiman, a contributing editor to Horticulture, is passionate about plants, gardens, and the people who make them. She spends most of her time designing gardens through her design practice, Perennial Partners, as well as lecturing and writing. She is also past-president of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon and a member of the Great Plant Picks committee. In 2006, she co-authored the Brooklyn Botanic Garden handbook Intimate Gardens with C. Colston Burrell.

Gordon Hayward is an author, garden designer, lecturer, and hands-on gardener renowned for offering advice and ideas that combine the practical and inspirational. His most recent books include The Welcoming Garden; Small Buildings, Small Gardens; Tending Your Garden and The Intimate Garden: Twenty Years and Four Seasons in our Garden (the latter two with his wife and co-gardener, Mary Hayward).

Scott Kunst is the founder of Old House Gardens, the world's only mail-order nursery devoted entirely to heirloom bulbs. A landscape historian and lecturer, Scott tracks down antique bulbs worldwide, researches their histories, and works with small family farmers to get them back into gardens around the country. His work has been featured in Horticulture

Nan Blake Sinton is director of programs for Horticulture magazine, leading tours and symposia, as well as lecturing, teaching design seminars, and writing and photographing for Horticulture. She recently co-authored Taylor's Guide to Ground Covers with David C. Michener, Ph.D.

$119.00 for JCRA members or Horticulture subscribers, all others $129.00.
Registration includes all handouts and refreshments, as well as lunch. A refund will be given to participants (less a $25.00 processing fee) who withdraw at least 10 business days before the symposium date. No refunds will be issued after this deadline. Please register early since space is limited. Horticulture is taking all registrations. Please visit their Web site or call (877) 436-7764 to register.
McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, NC State University.
The McKimmon Center is located on east side Gormon Street just south the intersection with Western Boulevard. For more information about the McKimmon Center, please visit their Web site.
Free parking is available at the McKimmon Center.
Contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu for more information about this event.