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February 15, 2007

“Celebrating the American Garden: English Influences on American Gardens" theme of 61st annual Garden Symposium

David Howard, head gardener to Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, is the featured speaker at Colonial Williamsburg’s 61st annual Garden Symposium April 29-May 2 at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center. This year’s program will focus on “Celebrating the American Garden: English Influences on American Gardens.”

Howard will speak on “Highgrove, The Garden.” Howard and his team of nine gardeners maintain the Prince of Wales’ world-class garden at Highgrove, his country estate in Gloucestershire, England. Over the last 25 years, His Royal Highness has created a garden diverse in design, dynamically unique and wholly organic. Prince Charles opened his private garden to 20,000 visitors last year.

Howard has a botanic garden background. He worked and studied at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Gothenburg Botanic Garden in Sweden. After spending some time in commercial horticulture working at Hillier’s Nurseries and running a garden center, he went to collect plants in the Himalayas in 1983. In 1988 he became head gardener at Letton Court, Hereford, moving two years later to Penns’ Rocks in Sussex before arriving at Highgrove seven years ago.

Other nationally known speakers who will discuss Britain’s impact on American gardens include:

  • John E. Elsley. Elsley is the director of horticulture for Beaver Creek and Song Sparrow nurseries, which are located in Poplar Grove, Ill., and Avalon, Wis. He received an extensive formal education in the United Kingdom, including the practical and theoretical aspects of botany plus the commercial and ornamental spheres of horticulture. For more than 35 years, he’s built on this education in nonprofit and profit-oriented areas of botany and both ornamental and commercial horticulture.
  • Gordon Hayward. Hayward is a nationally recognized garden designer, writer and lecturer. He has been writing for Horticulture magazine for 25 years, has been a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine for four years and is the author of nine books on garden design. Hayward and his wife Mary have been developing a one-and-a-half-acre garden around their 220-year-old farmhouse in southern Vermont for the past 20 years as well as a tiny garden outside their cottage in the Cotswold Hills of England where Mary is from. His newest book, “The Welcoming Garden,” is about designing gardens at the front of a house and was published by Gibbs Smith Publishing in January 2006.
  • Nan Blake Sinton. Sinton is a horticultural consultant, garden designer and the director of programs for Horticulture magazine, for which she organizes and leads an international series of garden seminars, tours and symposia. She has worked on residential and public design projects both in the United States and Europe. Her travels have taken her to visit gardens around the world from Chile to Japan, New Zealand to South Africa, and in Europe and the United States. In 2001 Nan coauthored, with Dr. David C. Michener, “Taylor’s Guide to Ground Covers,” published by Houghton-Mifflin. In 2004 she was awarded a Gold Medal of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for her work in horticultural education.
  • Holly H. Shimizu. Shimizu currently is executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden, located on the national mall in Washington, D.C., where they have recently opened the new National Garden. An internationally recognized horticulturist and former host of the TV program, “The Victory Garden,” she has been actively growing and studying herbs and roses for many years.

    In afternoon workshops, Colonial Williamsburg’s talented gardening experts will share information on: “Color in Garden Design,” Gordon Chappell, director of landscape and facilities services; “Cottage Gardens: An Escape from Formalism,” Lawrence Griffith, curator of plants; “Garden Structures for Flowers, Herbs and Vegetables,” garden historian Don McKelvey and Colonial Williamsburg volunteer Bill Krebs; “A Little Garden Whimsy,” visual merchandisers Carol Gibbs, Cindy Cragg, Don Thomas and Owen Sharman; “The Timeless Charm of Tussie-Mussies,” Colonial Williamsburg volunteer and herb enthusiast Julie Stanton; and “Floral Arranging in English Containers,” landscape foreman and floral designer Mary Hunter Curry.

    Bus trips to private gardens in a Williamsburg neighborhood close to the Historic Area, and an afternoon at Jamestown Settlement are scheduled. A variety of walking tours and early bird programs also are provided. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Fine Gardening magazine and the American Horticultural Society are co-sponsors of the 61st annual Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium.

    Pre-registration and payment in full are required. Payment can be made in the form of a check or charged to American Express, Discover, Visa or MasterCard. The $349 per person fee includes the opening reception Sunday, April 29, four refreshment breaks, a lunch, program presentations and a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass to exhibition sites, trade shops and gardens valid for the duration of the conference.

    Special hotel rates are available at The Resort of Colonial Williamsburg for Garden Symposium registrants and include a complimentary copy of the book, “The Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg,” by M. Kent Brinkley and Gordon W. Chappell. Hotel rates are for single or double occupancy, per night, and do not include applicable taxes.

    Distinctive dining options are offered throughout The Resort of Colonial Williamsburg 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 is available with a full menu of services. A team of experts have collaborated to create a spa that exudes southern charm, harmonizes with its historical surroundings, reflects its colonial heritage, and honors traditions of wellness and relaxation throughout American culture. Spa reservations can be made when registering for the conference online or by phone.

    There are four easy ways to register for Garden Symposium and make room reservations:

  • Online: www.ColonialWilliamsburg.org/conted
  • 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.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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