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Janet Draper, Smithsonian Gardens Mary Livingston Ripley Garden horticulturist

September 9 – Plants, Passion and Perserverance: A Focus on Positive Solutions and Experience Gained

Speaker: Janet Draper, Smithsonian Gardens, Horticulturist

Gardening is challenging wherever it is that you put a shovel in the dirt.  Mother Nature continually reminds you that you are not in control, and to remain sane, you need to roll with the punches! Gardening at Smithsonian Gardens presents opportunities to share with countless people from around the globe, but it also comes with its own unique challenges.  Join Horticulturist Janet Draper as she looks back on her 20-plus years of learning and sharing in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden.  She will share some of her lessons learned the tough way and how she deals with challenges and turns them into opportunities.

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Philip Evich, Horticulturist for Smithsonian Gardens

September 16 – Seeds and How to Find Them

Speaker: Philip Evich, Smithsonian Gardens, Horticulturist

Join us as we explore the botanical wonder that is seeds! Ever wondered where seeds come from or how they are made? From flower, to fruit, to seed, we will take a deep dive into the various changes that plants go through in a year. Learn how to fold your own seed packet and the basics of seed collecting to get you out in the garden and saving seed  for the future!

Philip Evich is a Pathways Horticulturist currently working with the Smithsonian Gardens team at the National Museum of Natural History. He has a passion for native plants and sustainable agriculture, as well as ecology and taxonomy.

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Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine

September 23: Getting Most Out of Your Small Space/Urban Garden

Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Editor and Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine
Using examples from D.C.-area gardens, Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener magazine, will illustrate basic design principles for maximizing garden space. Kathy will address common small-space challenges such as creating privacy and adding light to shady areas. She’ll offer innovative low-or-no-budget solutions as well.

Kathy Jentz is editor and publisher of Washington Gardener magazine and hosts the popular GardenDC Podcast. She is also the editor of the Water Garden Journal (IWGS), The Azalean (ASA), and Fanfare, for the local daylily society.

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Sandra Flowers, Director of Horticulture and Grounds at the National Cathedral

September 30 – Washington National Cathedral Gardens: Divine Inspiration & Earthly Challenges

Speaker: Sandra Flowers, Director of Horticulture & Grounds Washington National Cathedral
Landscape designer Florence Brown Bratenahl worked with landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to lay out the gardens of the Cathedral Close in the early 1920s.  They were presented with a huge mass of soil displaced by excavation for the Cathedral atop the steep incline of Mount St. Albans in Washington, D.C.  Bratenahl envisioned “A Garden of the Ages” and designed a terraced medieval garden divided into garden rooms using historic plants and sculpture.  The divine garden she created has blessed visitors for nearly a century.  Continued construction, the sloped topography and steadily increased visitation has led to maintenance challenges over the years. This lecture will discuss both the divine and the challenging aspects of these beloved gardens.

Sandra Flowers has a Master’s Degree in Science from Georgia State University.  She came to the Washington National Cathedral in 2013 as the Bishop’s Gardener, transitioning through Garden Manager, then became Director of Horticulture & Grounds in 2015.

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CIndy Brown, Smithsonian Gardens Manager of Collections, Education and Access and Education

October 7 – Saving Seeds: Saving Memories, Diversity or Funds? 

Speaker: Cindy Brown, Smithsonian Gardens’ Manager, Collections, Education & Access 

So, you want to learn how to save seeds. Just as important as the “How” is the “Why”. Once you decide why you want to save seed then understanding seed saving basics is the next step. Cindy Brown, Smithsonian Gardens’ Education and Collections Manager, will discuss the tedious, sometimes stinky, always mysterious, often frustrating art of seed saving.   

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Landscape Architects 2, Paul Josey, Ted Hartsig

October 14 – A Soil Management Plan for the Future

Speakers: Paul Josey, ASLA, ISA, Wolf Josey Landscape Architects, Principal & Ted Hartsig, CPSS, Olsson, Soil Scientist 

The planting soils surrounding the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C uniquely reflect the planting soil trends at the time of each museum’s completion (or most recent renovation) over 175 years. Encompassing 59 acres, this has created a diverse patchwork of soil types and maintenance approaches in a relatively isolated footprint with varying levels of success facing the high use and current climate crisis. 

By looking at each of these landscapes in comparison to one another, the 2021 Smithsonian Gardens Planting Soils Management Plan conveys the current condition of various soil designs and creates an approach for remediation and planning for the future. This presentation will provide insights into successful and failing soil trends over time, and what can be done to plan for the future. 

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Habitat of Flight outside of the National Air and Space Museum
Habitat of Flight outside of the National Air and Space Museum

October 21 – Don’t Plant That, Plant This! POSTPONNED

Speaker: Alex Dencker, Smithsonian Gardens’ Horticulturist 

Why do gardeners continue to add plant pests to their landscapes? Maybe we choose familiar, easily available plants, with stunning flowers, spectacular color, or appropriate forms for our gardens because we don’t know what else is available. Alex Dencker will discuss how to avoid plant pests and suggest plants that look great and make positive contributions to a garden’s habitat. 

Frederique Lavoipierre

October 28 – Garden Allies: An Introduction to Life in the Landscape

Speaker: Frédérique Lavoipierre 

Frédérique Lavoipierre introduces program participants to the many phenomenal organisms that create a thriving, balanced community in a garden. Her PowerPoint presentation is brought to life with macro photography of insects, habitat in gardens, and illustrations from her book – Garden Allies: An Introduction to Life in the Landscape. Following a brief introduction to conservation biological control and its benefits, the audience is introduced to life in the soil, pollinators and other flower visitors, predators and parasites, other common garden insects, spiders and other non-insect arthropods, and vertebrates.   

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