Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

April 24, 2009

Gardening trends explored during 63rd Annual Garden Symposium April 30 - May 2

A natural rhythm is always present in our gardens. The theme of Colonial Williamsburg’s 63rd Garden Symposium is “The Natural Rhythm of Gardening” which focuses on creating gardens that are both aesthetically rich and ecologically sound. The event will be held April 30-May 2 at the Williamsburg Lodge and conference center.

Speakers will share tips that promote healthy plants, beautiful landscapes and responsible gardening and include:

  • David Howard, horticulture consultant, Gloucestershire, England. Mr. Howard’s career in horticulture has been diverse, having worked in commercial horticulture at Hillier Nurseries, collecting plants in the Himalayas and serving as the chief gardener for His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. In this entertaining presentation, “My Gardening Life,” he will discuss the trends in horticulture he has observed during his 30 years of gardening.
  • Felder Rushing, horticulturist, writer and lecturer, Jackson, Miss. His talk, “Slow Gardening: Enjoying Our Gardens in a Hectic World,” focuses on his sensory approach to gardening which helps gardeners make better use of their time and energy by focusing on seasonal rhythms instead of repetitive chores.
  • Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee's Garden, Felton, Calif. During her lecture, “From the Ground Up: What’s New and Unique from Seed?” Ms. Shepherd will provide a preview of exciting items, including interesting heirloom perennials that bloom their first year from seed; the best new sweet peas; vegetables you may not have thought of growing from seed; and gourmet picks for the cook’s garden. Her recommendations come from her expertise as a lifelong gardener and her years of consultation with seed producers from all over the globe. Indeed, her gardening values and enthusiasm have encouraged many to be in tune with nature and the seasons by growing plants from seed.
  • Lisa E. Delplace, a principal and the CEO of Oehme, van Sweden (OvS), Washington, D.C. The New American Garden style, developed by the firm OvS more than 20 years ago, transformed the way Americans perceive gardens. Ms. Delplace will discuss the importance of designing within a regional context to maximize the impact of seasonal change in the garden during “Natural Gardens: Embracing an Aesthetic of Region and Seasonal Change.”

    Garden Symposium attendees will be able to enjoy concurrent 60-minute sessions that will feature Colonial Williamsburg staff, area experts and Garden Symposium speakers. Sessions include: “Combining Historic Roses, Bulbs and Other Heirloom Plants in Contemporary Gardens,” Felder Rushing, horticulturist, writer and lecturer, Jackson, Miss.; “Pruning Deciduous Small Trees and Shrubs,” Jim Orband, Extension Agent, York County, Va.; “Reflecting Nature in Floral Design,” Clark Taggart, Floral Design Manager, Colonial Williamsburg; “Flowers and Herbs of Early America,” Larry Griffith, curator of plants, Colonial Williamsburg; “Pruning Evergreen Shrubs and Small Trees,” Jim Orband, Extension Agent, York County, Va.; “Heirlooms or Hybrids: Growing the Best Vegetables for the Home Garden,” Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee's Garden, Felton, Calif.; “The Best of Both Worlds: Combining Native Plants with Exotics,” Wesley Greene and Don McKelvey, garden historians, Colonial Williamsburg; “What Happens Next? Managing Your Garden,” David Howard, horticulture consultant, Gloucestershire, England; and “Cooking with Seasonal Herbs and Vegetables,” Rhys H. Lewis, executive chef, Williamsburg Lodge.

    There also will be optional tours, both on and off site, offered on Thursday, April 30 and Saturday, May 2. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

    For Thursday’s tour, five lovely private gardens that vary in both size and formality have been selected in Governor’s Land, a planned community located amid the beauty of the James and Chickahominy Rivers in Williamsburg. One highlight will be a formal English garden that was recently featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

    On Saturday, magnificent properties along the rivers and creeks in the Gloucester County community have been lined up to visit, including Brent and Becky's Bulbs. The four-generation family business started by the Heaths in 1900 annually ships nearly one million bulbs nationwide and has a celebrity clientele that includes Steven Spielberg. The garden of Colonial Williamsburg President Colin Campbell and Nancy Campbell is on the itinerary. Seated on a rise over the York River, Pigeon Hill captures a vast view of the York River and its shoreline. Guests will enjoy the great expanse of lawn, marsh and meadow before gazing across the wide river. Surrounding the house are flower beds contained in fieldstone from western Virginia. Although the beds have been planted for all seasons, the pastels of spring blossoms will predominate in May.

    The trip to Richmond on Saturday will include a visit to a private garden, Redesdale, which was built in 1925 by Leslie Reed in the style of an English country estate. Guests will enjoy seeing the various garden rooms designed by the well known landscape architect Charles Gillette in 1935.

    The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, one of the most acclaimed horticultural destinations in the mid-Atlantic region, also is on the itinerary for the Richmond trip. Private arrangements have been made for rose horticulturist Neil Greishaw to discuss some of the new cultivars and innovative design features and growing techniques that allow roses in this garden to thrive in Richmond’s challenging climate. Another exclusive feature of this tour will be the rare opportunity to look at original botanical paintings by Alexandre Descubes from the period 1875 – 1919. The plants in the collection are mainly from the Indian sub-continent and each work is annotated with extensive botanical information.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Fine Gardening magazine and the American Horticultural Society (AHS) are co-sponsors of the 63rd Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium.

    Registration is $279 per person for the public and $254 for American Horticulture Society members and includes the Thursday walking tour and refreshments at break times, a buffet lunch, a reception and dinner, four general sessions and three concurrent sessions on Friday, May 1.

    For the 2009 Garden Symposium, guests can register exclusively for lectures on Friday, May 1. Lectures-only registration is $189 and includes all programming and refreshments from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Lectures-only registration for AHS members is $164.

    Preregistration and payment in full are required.

    Payment can be made in the form of check, or charged to American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard.

    There are four easy ways to register for the Garden Symposium:

  • Online:
  • Phone: 1-800-603-0948, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Fax: (757) 565-8921
  • Mail: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Conferences, Forums and Workshops, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, Va. 23187-1776.

    Special hotel rates are available at The Resort Collection of Colonial Williamsburg for Garden Symposium registrants. Hotel rates are for single or double occupancy, per night and do not include applicable taxes. For room reservations call 1-800-261-9530, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. (ET).

    Distinctive dining options are offered throughout the Colonial Williamsburg Resort Collection and in the Historic Area. From a classically elegant setting to a more casual atmosphere to signature tavern dining experiences, each of Colonial Williamsburg’s restaurants and taverns is within steps of the conference facilities. Dining reservations can be made by calling 1-800-261-9530, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg offers a full menu of services. A team of world-renowned experts have collaborated to create a spa that exudes southern charm, harmonizes with its historical surroundings, reflects its colonial heritage, and honors traditions of health and wellness throughout American culture. To make your reservation, please call 1-800-688-6479.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

  • Footer