Back to All Events

New London, Connecticut: Thomas Rainer

  • Connecticut College, Crozier-Williams Building 270 Mohegan Avenue Parkway New London, CT, 06320 United States (map)

Connecticut Master Gardener Association's 25th Anniversary Symposium:

 "NATURE’S PUZZLE: Putting the Pieces Together"

Connecticut College  March 17, 2018

His lecture will provide a shift from thinking about plants as individual objects to communities of interrelated species. When you plant in communities, you manage the entire planting, not each individual plant. Many garden books focus on what to plant, but few focus on how to arrange plants to fit together in ecological combinations.

Thomas Rainer is a registered landscape architect, teacher and writer living in Washington, D.C. He is a specialist in applying innovative planting concepts to create low-input, attractive and ecologically-functional designed landscapes. His recent work focuses on the artful interpretation of wild plant communities into designed plantings that thrive in the context of towns and cities. He teaches planting design for the George Washington University Landscape Design program and regularly speaks to audiences throughout the country on sustainable planting design.

His Lecture will illustrate a turning point in landscape design, leaving fixed patterns behind and looking forward to living process as inspiration for dynamic modeling. Celebrating the flux of biological and cultural communities and its relationship to natural resources is the key to successful design and stewardship. Using examples of water-conserving designs based on northeastern natives, he will illustrate an ethical approach that results in beautiful, useful and sustainable landscapes.

Rick Darke is owner of Rick Darke LLC, a Pennsylvania-based consulting firm focused on landscape ethics, contextual design and photography. Darke’s work blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the design and management of living landscapes. His many books include “The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden” and the “Gardens of the High Line: Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes”.

Seating is limited to 400
Register early for best selection of sessions

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: Choose 2 breakout sessions: 1 for AM, and 1 for PM
Click on the Speaker's Name to view/download their handout (not yet available)

1. Nancy DuBrule-Clemente: The Butterfly Connection. 
Owner of Natureworks in Northford, CT, Nancy will share her insights of how studying and raising Monarch butterflies have informed her thinking about organic gardening, the use of chemicals, and the importance of grasses, weeds, and plants you may not think are vital to this effort. You will learn all about the larval food plants needed for CT butterflies and Nancy’s favorite nectar plants for summer feeding and fall migration.

2. George Coombs: The Science Behind Native Cultivars
Horticultural Research Manager at Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. George will review the results of various research projects aimed at discerning if cultivars are able to support wildlife as well as their native species counterparts. This lecture will cover pollinators and leaf-eating insect behavior across many different types of popular garden plants.

3. Dan Long: Beyond the Trellis: Using Innovative Techniques to Support Vines and Climbers
Dan, owner of Brushwood Nursery, specializes in unusual vining plants. There is so much potential! Clematis and climbing roses are natural partners. Training vines to cascade through other objects, or as climbers in shrubs and small trees as well as using them as ground covers will be illustrated.

4. Ellen Ecker Ogden: The Art of Growing Food
Ellen is an award-winning food and garden writer based in Vermont, and co-founder of The Cook’s Garden seed catalog. Her talks give fresh ideas for how to design a kitchen garden rich in details. She will illustrate her six steps to successful kitchen garden design, based on classic design techniques. Included is a primer on foursquare crop rotation for healthy soil, and how to give your kitchen garden unique style.

5. Annie White, PhD: How Native Plants Affect Pollinators
Annie is owner/principal designer of Nectar Landscape Design Studio in Burlington, Vermont, specializing in artful and ecologically sensitive landscape designs. The growing demand for native plants, coupled with the horticulture industry’s desire for unique garden offerings, has led to the increased development of new native cultivars. Annie will share four years of field data that helps determine if these cultivars are as valuable as the true native species in pollinator habitat gardens.

6. Kevin Wilcox: Advanced Pruning Techniques
Kevin is a Connecticut Accredited Nursery Professional who has worked in the nursery industry for over 30 years. His workshop will be a concentrated course on how, when, where and why to prune trees and shrubs. Along with a slide presentation, there will be tools available with which to practice, and examples of trees and their healing abilities.This class will boost your confidence and show you just how simple and straightforward pruning really is.

Earlier Event: March 16
Waynesboro, VA: Claudia West
Later Event: March 21
Sheffield, England: Thomas Rainer