Saturday, April 13, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm – New England Wild Flower Society’s Northern Garden Symposium

Three dynamic speakers explore natural gardening practices, landscaping with native plants and the use of wild plants to promote healthy living for generations to come, at the Northern Garden Symposium on Saturday, April 13, from 9 – 2 at The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens in Newbury, New Hampshire. Co-sponsored with Friends of the Hort Farm, Hardy Plant Club, The Fells and Master Gardeners.

Mark Richardson explores natural gardening practices using Garden in the Woods as an example — discussing how home gardeners can follow suit, in his presentation of Gardening with Nature. In 1931 Will C. Curtis bought the land that would become Garden in the Woods and almost immediately began building a “big wild garden and finding out why wild flowers will grow here and not there.” The gardens he created were ahead of their time–emphasizing native plants, promoting a sense of place, respecting landforms and growing plants in their “natural environments.” Nearly 50 years after Curtis left his treasured Garden to the New England Wild Flower Society, we’re still learning how best to garden with nature, rather than fight against it.

(Mark earned a degree in Urban Horticulture at University of Rhode Island and a Master of Science in Public Horticulture from the Longwood Graduate Program. He ran Longwood Gardens’ undergraduate programs for five years before going to Brookside Gardens, in Montgomery County, Maryland where he managed the education program and developed a strategic garden technology plan. In 2012, Mark accepted the position of Director of Horticulture at the New England Wild Flower Society.)

Justin Nichols, horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens since in 2008, will focus on effective, ecologically sound garden design and maintenance; soil health; trail making; and control of pests, pathogens and invasive plants. He will discuss landscaping with native woody plants and the use of natives at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens; soil preparation; and maintenance techniques.

(Justin has a master’s degree in education and has taught many classes including pruning, vegetable gardening, and landscape maintenance. He is an NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional. He is the gardener for CMBG’s Alfond Children’s Garden and has started youth gardening and community supported agriculture programs. You may have read his plant profiles in Fine Gardening Magazine. )

Arthur Haines, in a talk entitled Preserving Native Plant Knowledge for Their Future, explores interesting examples of wild food and medicine that grow here in New England; shares stories from the pages of history; and demonstrates how wild plants can promote healthy living for generations to come. He discusses how useful knowledge of plants is passing from this culture due to the absence of a meaningful connection to nature and how botanical gardens, museums, land trusts, and similar institutions are attempting to re-establish an interest in local flora. Discussion of beauty, rarity, and interesting natural history is not enough to engage all people in becoming active in local ecology, but wild food and medicine do offer a real way to connect people with the importance of land conservation. These topics have been relegated to the fringe of our society, but nutritional, anthropological, and medical studies show that people cannot live a healthy life without them.

(Arthur Haines, Research Botanist, New England Wild Flower Society, is author of Flora Novae Angliae,  Ancestral Plants and several other books and peer reviewed articles. Haines is presently working with the Society on Go Botany, an online botany education site using Flora Novae Angliae as a resource. In addition to his work with New England Wild Flower Society, Haines owns and manages the Delta Institute of Natural History in Canton, Maine, a school for small group instruction on a diversity of natural history topics with focus on plant taxonomy and primitive technologies. Haines is also Vice President of the Josselyn Botanical Society. He grew up in the western mountains of Maine, a rural area where he began his independent study of foraging, taxonomy, and survival techniques.)to New England Wild Flower Society, 180 Hemenway Rd, Framingham, MA 01701. For more information see or call 508- 877-7630 X 3303.

The symposium will be held in room 102, Conant Hall at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, VT. For directions see Members of co-sponsoring organizations $47, nonmembers $53—includes lunch, symposium packet, and parking. Send name, address, telephone number, organization name and e-mail address along with payment to New England Wild Flower Society, 180 Hemenway Rd, Framingham, MA 01701. For more information see or call 508- 877-7630 X 3303.