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, June 3 through July 29, 2024 – 6:30 pm–8:30 pm (No class on Monday, June 24)

Unlike many history courses which can be boring, this one is not! First off, it’s all about gardening, and second, it’s about the 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 Caesar have to do with it? What did the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans contribute to horticulture as we know it today? Who is the Father of American Horticulture and how did he launch gardening into the 20th century? This eight week course will provide a series of historical snapshots that will enhance our understanding of "modern-day" gardening.

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.

This class is available both in person and online, and recordings of each session will be made available to all participants. If you need to stay home from class any night, you can join us live over Zoom, and if you need to miss class altogether any week, you can stay caught up by watching the recordings. Don't miss this chance to deepen your understanding and appreciation of where your garden came from, so that you will become a better gardener today and in the future!

About Bryce Lane

Bryce has been teaching students, home gardeners and garden professionals for over 40 years. Many may know Bryce from his UNC TV public television show called "In the Garden With Bryce Lane" which was on the air for 11 seasons and won three Emmys. Others may know him as a student from his time in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University.

Bryce Lane

Growing up in Western Massachusetts, Bryce discovered his passion for plants and telling others about them while 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 where he taught in the two-year and four-year programs, majors and non-majors, served as the undergraduate coordinator and even the interim director of the JC Raulston Arboretum.

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. Most importantly, he has been married for 45 years to his high school sweetheart, has two happily married daughters and six incredible grandchildren. He is an avid gardener who has gardened in the same spot for around 40 years with many stories, advice and passion to share with other gardeners regardless of their experience!

$300.00 for members, $350.00 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. Registration is available for in-person, on-site attendance or online attendance.

Registration is considered complete when payment is received. You will receive a confirmation receipt from notify@cashnet.com when registered.

Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks before the program's start date. No refunds will be made after this time. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
Online and in person at the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Contact the JCRA Education Team at jcraprograms@ncsu.edu for more information about this program.