Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens in settings as far-flung as Shanghai, the Hudson River Valley, and Australia. In vibrant visuals they explore how each garden has taken a unique approach to design and interpretation as they all celebrate plant collections, conservation, education, and the distinctive environments and landscapes in which they bloom.
Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.
February 13 Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Western Australia Botanic Garden
The only garden in North America to focus solely on alpine plants, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in the Colorado Rockies is the highest-altitude public garden on the continent. Compact and exquisitely landscaped, it interprets the diversity and complexity of alpine plants of the world. Superb horticulture and educational signage are hallmarks of this remarkable garden.
Located in the world’s most remote provincial capital, Western Australia Botanic Garden is the jewel of Perth. Set above the Swan River in Kings Park, its landscape displays a highly regionalized collection of plants. Southwestern Australia is one of the earth’s five Endemic Kingdoms for plant diversity, making this garden one of the world’s most unique living laboratories.
Presenter Keith Tomlinson, superintendent of the American Horticultural Society, has worked as a naturalist for 35 years and studied wilderness areas and botanical gardens around the world. His is the author of numerous technical and popular articles on the conservation of plant diversity, botanical garden travel, and environmental education.
February 20 Chenshan Botanical Gardens and Huntsville Botanical Garden
Tucked in the suburbs of Shanghai, Chenshan Botanical Gardens create a green oasis within one of the largest population centers in the world. Learn how one of the most popular places on the grounds was carved out of a forgotten quarry; virtually stroll through the serpentine conservatories where plants have been collected from all over the world; and learn about the gardens’ extravagant horticultural festivals, which spotlight plants from roses to waterlilies.
On the other side of the world, Huntsville Botanical Garden blooms within a special ecosystem in the United States. Northern Alabama is a top biodiversity hotspot, and the gardens embrace and reflect that variety with masses of wildflowers native to the region and a bottomland forest lush with thousands of examples of trilliums.
Presenter Chelsea Mahaffey is the manager at NOVA Parks’ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Virginia and a graduate of the Longwood Gardens Fellows program.
February 27 Innisfree and Fairchild Tropical Garden
Travel from the scenic Hudson River Valley to subtropical peninsular Florida to visit two diverse gardens. Developed between 1930 and 1960, Inisfree was the private garden of Walter and Marion Beck and drew its inspiration from scroll paintings of the 8th-century Chinese poet and painter Wang Wei. With the help of landscape architect Lester Collins from Harvard University, the garden journey was shaped to lead visitors through individual "cup" garden scenes inspired by the Chinese paintings, which meld seamlessly into one large cup around a glacial lake.
Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables melds a sublime subtropical landscape with important plant collections and horticultural excellence, as well as research, conservation, and education. Palms are a particular specialty, with an outstanding collection of over 400 species. An internationally important collection of more than 3,700 cycads is displayed in sweeping beds under spreading oaks. The conservatory features orchids, aroids, and bromeliads. The garden is set against a backdrop of lakes in a park-like setting.
Presenter C. Colston Burrell is a lecturer, garden designer, and photographer. The author of 12 gardening books, he has twice won the American Horticulture Society Book Award.
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