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Art of Gardening Symposium

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University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

1207 Seminole Highway

Madison, WI 53711

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Cover Photo: Nigel Dunnett, Plantings at the Barbican, London, UK

An exciting and inspirational day is in store as we explore cutting edge horticulture and landscape design. Top-notch speakers, industry leaders, and award-winning authors will present their unique perspectives on garden design, plant selection, and more. Morning refreshments and lunch are included, and authors' books will be available for purchase.

Any ticket purchase includes the follow up event, "Bringing it Home," on Saturday, April 8. Bringing it Home features hands-on workshops and design guidance from local experts, helping you apply the big ideas from our panelists to your own back yard.

Thank you to our event partners and sponsors:

The Flower Factory | Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society | Madison Area Master Gardeners Association | Mendota Lake House | UW-Madison Arboretum | Wisconsin American Society of Landscape Architects


Low-Input, High-Impact Planting: Creating Dramatic Landscapes with Designed Plant Communities

Nigel Dunnett is one of the world’s leading voices on innovative approaches to planting design. He is a plantsman, designer, and pioneer of the new ecological approach to planting gardens and public spaces. His work revolves around the integration of ecology and horticulture to achieve low-input but high-impact landscapes that are dynamic, diverse, and tuned to nature. Nigel is Professor of Planting Design, Urban Horticulture and Vegetation Technology at Sheffield University, and an Ambassador for the Royal Horticultural Society.

Nigel explores how he works with ever-changing successional layers of planting to create dramatic, sumptuous, beautiful, dynamic, sustainable plantings, full of visual delight, and rich in biodiversity, using the Plant Community-based approach. He uses combinations of perennials, grasses, shrubs, annuals and bulbs and his approach is rooted strongly in a sustainable ‘high-impact, low-input’ philosophy, a strong belief in maximizing people’s contact with a heightened nature-like experience, and a philosophy based on ecological principles. Nigel is particularly interested in exploiting the potential of impressionistic color in naturalistic plantings. Examples of Nigel’s work include the London Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; The Barbican Centre, London; and Trentham Gardens.


Magical Mixes

Jacqueline van der Kloet is a world-renowned garden designer and plantswoman, who’s philosophy of a pleasant garden is formed by a simple and clear design combined with a balanced plant scheme. Jacqueline has designed numerous mixed planting schemes throughout Europe, including the famed Keukenhoff Lisse, a 10-acre display garden of flowering bulbs. She also has designed the spring bulb displays for the award-winning Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the Seasonal Walk at the New York Botanical Garden.

Jacqueline will explore how to use bulbs as part of a total plant scheme, rather than as individuals, using her personal garden, De Theetuin, and the gardens of her clients around the globe, as a living laboratory. She will discuss sustainability of plantings, exploring how to work with bulbs that perform over a number of years. Color, structure, and plant combinations of perennials, biennials, and shrubs also are addressed in her design process.


The Layered Garden

David Culp is the creator of the gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. His articles have appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Fine Gardening, Green Scene, and many other publications. He is a former contributing editor to Horticulture magazine and served as chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Hardy Plant Society. Brandywine Cottage is listed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Gardens, and David’s acclaimed book, The Layered Garden, was selected by the Garden Writers Association as the 2013 Best Overall Book. “

David will explore how to recreate the majestic display of his beloved two-acre Pennsylvania garden, Brandywine Cottage. It contains a basic lesson in layering—how to choose the correct plants by understanding how they grow and change throughout the seasons, how to design a layered garden, and tips on maintaining it. To illustrate how layering works, David will take you on a virtual tour through each part of his celebrated garden. The lecture culminates with his signature plants for all four seasons.


Lessons from the Road

Susan Cohan APLD, is well-known in the landscape and design communities for both her design work and for her writing about design. She is the principal of Susan Cohan Gardens, a boutique landscape design studio specializing in residential design projects in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan region. Collaboration with other designers and craftspeople allow the artisanal details, creative use of traditional materials and fine craftsmanship to be hallmarks of her landscape design projects.

The act of gardening is one of observation and it's often said that travel opens up our eyes to the world, but what does it mean for how we think about our gardens and their design? Do we observe them differently? Do we think about our specific environment in relation to the world at large? What design ideas can be brought back from the next town, state, from across the country or from a visit to another country? How can we interpret those ideas and make them work for our own patch of land? Garden designers of all persuasions, professional and amateur, can learn more from standing in another's garden than they can from any book or magazine. These are the lessons from the road.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

1207 Seminole Highway

Madison, WI 53711

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