Lecture Arrangements and Topics

If you have a group that would like to be entertained and informed, please get in touch.

 

For event organizers: 

Equipment needs: A digital projector, screen, and darkened room. For large groups, a microphone, and, if you would like me to sell and sign my books, a table and chair.  I am happy to work with groups that want to order my books in advance from the publisher to sell copies as a fundraiser.

 

Fees: $500 plus mileage and tolls if you are within a 100 mile radius of Chatham, New Jersey. If you are further afield, the cost will vary depending on the distance and time involved.  I'm happy to speak to multiple groups at once if you want to pool resources with local clubs. 

Don't see a topic that appeals? Contact me to discuss your needs.

Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life

Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life

In addition to writing poetry, The Belle of Amherst was a gardener. She cultivated flowers on her father's property and in the glass conservatory that he added to the Homestead. This lecture explores Dickinson's gardens through excerpts of her letters and poems, and historic and modern images of her garden.

A Wilder Garden

A Wilder Garden

Lessons about gardening and nature as seen through The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books. This lecture focuses on the natural history of North America through prairie, farm, forest, and gardens.

All the Presidents' Gardens

All the Presidents' Gardens

An entertaining romp through our nation's garden history as seen through the changing grounds at the White House, starring the presidents, first ladies, and their gardeners.

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life

When we think of Beatrix Potter, we imagine blue-jacketed bunnies and other fuzzy fauna. But Beatrix Potter, an intriguing character in her own right, was also quite interested in plants and gardens. This lecture explores Potter's botanical art, the flora and horticulture that appears in her "little books" and Potter's own garden in England's Lake District.

The Pen and the Trowel

The Pen and the Trowel

For years I have been occupied with writers who garden, and whose horticultural interests have changed my planting beds as well as my bookshelves. Starting with Mark Twain and connecting to authors ranging from Henry David Thoreau to Louisa May Alcott, this lecture explores the writing-gardening connection.

Designing Women

Designing Women

Learn design techniques from the Golden Age of American Gardens. Stretching across the turn of the twentieth century, designers such as Marion Coffin, Martha Brookes Hutcheson, and Ellen Shipman transformed the wealth of the Industrial Revolution into beautiful landscapes for estates across the country. This lecture highlights design principles that these women employed, principles that fit gardens of any size.

Beatrix Jones Farrand

Beatrix Jones Farrand

Beatrix Jones Farrand was a groundbreaker. A founding member of the American Society for Landscape Architects, she helped to invent the profession and opened the career for many others who followed, especially women. Long time landscape architect for Princeton University, she also worked for Yale, the New York Botanical Garden, the Rockefellers, and many other private clients.

Curves, Carpets, and Color

Curves, Carpets, and Color

A lecture on Romantic and Victorian gardening in America. Who were the garden tastemakers of the 1800s? Why do some garden historians call us "The New Victorians?" This lecture explores the development of an American landscaping style from formal to romantic to Victorian.

Landscaping Your Historic Home

Landscaping Your Historic Home

Whether your house was built in the 17th century or the 21st, you can create a garden to suit its style. This lecture covers American residential gardening fashion from the colonial period to the present. You will learn design basics and the steps to take to create an authentic, appealing landscape for your home.

Gardening with the Edisons

Gardening with the Edisons

Thomas Edison is known as inventor of the lightbulb, the phonograph, and the movies. Did you know he also had a passion for plants? He and his wife, Mina Miller Edison, created three gardens with the help of Ellen Shipman, landscape architect. In the last great project of his life, Edison also conducted botanical research, searching for an American-grown plant source for rubber.

Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law Olmsted

A look at the life and legacy of the individual who coined the term "landscape architect." While most famous for his public parks, Olmsted's commissions included the Biltmore Estate, the World's Columbian Exposition, and campuses ranging from Stanford to Amherst. For a century, Olmsted and his sons dominated the profession and left a lasting mark on the landscape and psyche of America.

New Ideas from English Gardens

New Ideas from English Gardens

Wake up your beds and borders with fresh ideas from across the pond. This lecture takes a peek at design techniques and plant combinations from contemporary gardens as different as the Eden Project and the Thames Barrier Park. Take inspiration from new designers at the Chelsea Flower Show as well as the horticulturists responsible for breathing new life into historic gardens like Great Dixter.

Then & Now

Then & Now

This hunt for garden history started with a discovery. It was a "visiting gardens" list, circa 1928, found in the archives of the Morris County Park Commission. Miss Caroline Foster drew up the list for the Garden Club of Morristown. Eighty years later Marta McDowell (and friends) tracked down those properties and a few more for good measure. What did they look like then? Have they survived? Come on this entertaining, informative hunt for the treasures of our gardening past.

Plants with Style

Plants with Style

Plants glorious plants! Woody and herbaceous, native and exotic, this lecture will present for new possibilities for your garden palette. We will consider plants as design elements, and sharpen skills in plant selection and layout.

© 2018 Marta McDowell

Then & Now

This hunt for garden history started with a discovery. It was a "visiting gardens" list, circa 1928, found in the archives of the Morris County Park Commission. Miss Caroline Foster drew up the list for the Garden Club of Morristown. Eighty years later Marta McDowell (and friends) tracked down those properties and a few more for good measure. What did they look like then? Have they survived? Come on this entertaining, informative hunt for the treasures of our gardening past.