History of Gardening: How Cultures, Events, and People Made Gardening What It Is Today

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University

Mondays, February 3 through March 23, 2020 – 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

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Unlike many history courses which can be boring, this one is not! First, it’s all about gardening, and second, it’s about fascinating stories of past cultures, events, and people who made gardening what it is today. How did today’s greenhouse come about, and what did a sickly Roman Caesar have to do with it? What did the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans do that contributed to horticulture as we know it today. Who is the Father of American Horticulture and what did he do to launch gardening into the 20th century? This eight week course will provide a series of historical snapshots that help to enhance our understanding of "modern-day" gardening. By deepening our understanding and appreciation of where gardening came from, we will, in turn, be better gardeners today and in the future!

historic home in the United Kingdom

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Ancient peoples and their contributions to horticulture.
  • Birth of a greenhouse, history of manipulation.
  • L. H. Bailey, the father of American horticulture.
  • Critical decades of horticultural advancement … aka. "War and Peace."
  • The great plant explorers … where they went and how they got there!
  • Bartram, Linnaeus, Le Notre, Mendel, and Johnny Appleseed … "who are those guys?"
  • Great historical gardens from around the world.
  • Highlights of the 20th Century … DDT, Rachel Carson, Agent Orange, IPM, and more!
  • The advent of the independent garden center, how the GI Bill changed everything.

Bryce Lane

About Bryce Lane

Bryce grew up in Western Massachusetts, where he discovered his passion for plants and telling others about them, working at a local garden center through high school and college. After earning his B.S. in plant science from the University of Massachusetts in 1979 and an M.S. in horticulture from The Ohio State University in 1981, he came to the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University as a lecturer, teaching in both the two-year and four-year programs. He taught plant identification at NC State for 18 years. In 1987, he became the undergraduate coordinator, serving the department in that capacity for 26 years. Bryce taught both large and small courses, for majors and non-majors. In the past 30+ years, he has taught more than 20,000 students. He has received numerous local, regional, and national teaching awards and is frequently invited to speak at many workshops and symposia, about teaching as well as horticulture and gardening. He hosted and produced a three-time, Emmy winning UNC TV public television show called "In the Garden With Bryce Lane" which was on the air for 11 seasons. Most importantly, he has been married for 37 years to his high school sweetheart, has two happily married daughters, and six incredible grandchildren.

Bryce retired from NC State in January 2014, and is now spending more time with his family, pursuing the next chapter in his public speaking career, and teaching part time at NC State and the JC Raulston Arboretum. He served as interim director of the JC Raulston Arboretum from July through November 2014. He is an avid gardener who has gardened in the same spot for more than 30 years!

$200.00 for members, $250.00 for nonmembers. Note to nonmembers: instead of paying $50.00 more for the program, become a member for $50.00 instead.
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store. Registration is limited to 32 people and is considered complete when payment is received.
Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks before the program's start date. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu for more information about this course.