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March 11, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg’s 65th Annual Garden Symposium Offers “Timeless Ideas for Today’s Gardens” April 10-11

Colonial Williamsburg’s gardens have provided inspiration to generations of gardeners. During “Timeless Ideas for Today’s Gardens” at the 65th annual Garden Symposium, gardeners can glean ideas from the diversity of plants and functional designs that are part of the Historic Area’s charm. The symposium will be at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on April 10-11.

Speakers give practical tips on creating beautiful gardens that reduce maintenance yet benefit the environment and include:

  • Joe Lamp’l, executive producer and host of the television program, “Growing a Greener World,” provides solutions, not just for gardeners, but for anyone who cares about our environment by offering useful and practical ways for each of us to collectively have an influence.
  • Suzy Bales, award-winning author, lecturer and flower arranger, shares her advice culled from 30 years of triumphs and defeats.
  • Stephanie Cohen, author and lecturer, The Non-Stop Garden, shares ways to incorporate trees, shrubs, vines, annuals, perennials, grasses, tropicals, herbs and veggies into one vibrant garden.
  • Doug Tallamy, professor and chair of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology, University of Delaware, discusses the important ecological roles of the native plants in our landscapes and emphasize the benefits of designing gardens with these roles in mind.
  • Paul W. Meyer, director of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, describes how gardeners and landscapers can select the right tree for the site, resulting in plantings that are more adaptable, sustainable, and likely to be more resistant to insects, diseases and other environmental stress factors.
  • Denise Greene, landscape designer and owner, Sassfras Farm, Gloucester, Va., discusses how to use native perennials to bring pollinators into your garden, describing which species work well in different planting situations in the mid-Atlantic, their basic characteristics as they apply to garden design, and the pollinators they might attract.
  • Roxanne Nersesian Paul, senior coordinator, Community and Volunteer Outreach for the National Wildlife Federation in Reston, Va., discusses Gardening with Wildlife in Mind. Learn how to attract birds, butterflies, and other backyard wildlife to your yard.

    Other concurrent sessions feature Colonial Williamsburg staff, area experts and Garden Symposium speakers. Sessions include:

  • “Timeless Floral Designs: Celebrating 75 Years of the Williamsburg Style,” Clark Taggart, Williamsburg Inn Floral Designer;
  • “Top Ten Horticultural Malpractices,” James Orband, Senior Extension Agent Emeritus, Yorktown, Va.;
  • “What’s Brewing in the Garden?” Williamsburg Lodge Executive Chef Rhys H. Lewis, Chef Ken Clasen and beverage specialist William Brite;
  • “Garden Bouquets and Beyond,” Suzy Bales;
  • “Perennial Garden Design – Making the Right Choices,” Stephanie Cohen;
  • “Gardening for Life,” Doug Tallamy;
  • “Herbs for Use and Delight,” Laura Viancour, Colonial Williamsburg’s gardens program manager;
  • “Flora and Fauna of the Historic Area,” Colonial Williamsburg landscape supervisor Susan Dippre;
  • “Fruit For Your Landscape,” Colonial Williamsburg landscape supervisor Rollin Woolley; and
  • “Tall Treasures,” Historic Area garden tour.

    During “Behind the Scenes at the Production Nursery,” meet with Colonial Williamsburg costumed interpreters and gain insight into what they do. Participants include:

  • Wesley Greene, gardener, Historic Trades. One of the many benefits of saving seed is that it preserves the nation’s food’s heritage. Wesley will share tips and show how to save some of your favorite vegetable seed.
  • Max Hamrick, weaver. Eighteenth-century dyers had to master mixing dye recipes and dyeing yarn. Max has produced every color known in the 1700s and will have samples of natural dye materials and wool yarn dyed with them.
  • Bill Krebs, apiarist and garden volunteer. With much of the food supply dependent on pollination by honeybees, colony collapse has helped to raise awareness of the significance of bees.
  • Elaine Shirley, manager of Rare Breeds. Colonial Williamsburg’s Rare Breeds program was begun to preserve genetic diversity in livestock. The Leicester Longwool sheep, one of the breeds in Colonial Williamsburg’s program, will be available as Elaine discusses caring for this uncommon breed.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the American Horticultural Society (AHS) are co-sponsors of the 65th annual Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium.

    Registration is $100 per person for Sunday only and $85 per person for Sunday only for AHS members; $125 per person for Monday only and $110 per person for Monday only for AHS members; $200 per person for both days, and $175 for both days for AHS members. Nominal fees are charged for optional tours.

    Register for the conference by going online at or by calling 1-800-603-0948, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    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. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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