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Statue in Garden, Photo by Bob Goodhart

20th Annual Gardening Symposium

The Details are in the Garden, Naturally

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Freeman Center

Presented by Christopher Newport University’s LifeLong Learning Society and Grounds Department

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Schedule of Events

7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Plant Sales & Outdoor Market
7-8 a.m. Registration
8-8:20 a.m. Welcome, Announcements & Door Prizes – George Hillow
8:30-9:30 a.m. Finishing Touches: The Power of Details in Garden Design – Colston Burrell
9:30-10 a.m. Visit the Vendors
10-11 a.m. Restoring Pollinators – Lisa Ziegler
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Getting to Great: Growing the Garden – Randee Humphrey
12:30-1:15 p.m. Lunch & Vendors
1:30-2:30 p.m. Container Gardening – Marie Butler
2:30-3:30 From the Ground Up – Lisa Ziegler


Colston Burrell will enthusiastically celebrate garden spaces of various sizes that combine form, color, and texture in hardscape and plants to fashion memorable places. If you have ever wondered why some gardens make your heart sing, chances are you are responding to details. From paving patterns to stonework, fencing, containers and sculpture, the details in both functional and artistic elements make a garden personal and magical. Cole’s passion for gardening and its details are bound to inspire you.

Lisa Ziegler will teach us why every vegetable garden and landscape must include flowers to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. Leaving chemicals behind and providing a safe place for the good bugs to live, raise babies and to eat will transform the garden and benefit the environment.

Randee Humphrey will focus on how Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which was recognized by USA Today in 2016 as one of the nation’s top 4 botanical gardens, has evolved through the years in its goal to connect people to plants and thus improve communities. The presentation will include updates on recent projects that have enhanced the guest experience while building notable plant collections. This will help attendees appreciate the value of great public gardens to individual gardeners and the availability of such a fine resource to Tidewater Virginia residents.

Marie Butler will show you how to design, construct and care for plant containers that you will want to use in your garden. She will share her extensive practical knowledge, and sometimes wild and wacky ideas. You will definitely leave this workshop knowing more and inspired with how useful and beautiful well designed containers are in the garden.

Lisa Ziegler shares the practices that are at the root of the success and beauty of her flower farm; starting from seed and caring for the soil as the most precious gem. Learn how to start seeds and grow your garden organically.


Cole Burrell is an acclaimed lecturer, garden designer, award winning author and photographer. He is an avid and lifelong plantsman, gardener and naturalist. Cole has shared his encyclopedic knowledge of plants and his abiding respect for regional landscapes with professional and amateur audiences for 40 years. He is principal of Native Landscape Design and Restoration of Charlottesville, VA, which specializes in blending nature and culture through artistic design.

Lisa Ziegler is a cut-flower farmer, author, and nationally recognized speaker on organic gardening. Ziegler has been farming in Newport News since 1998 and her three acre farm produces thousands of stems of flowers each week in season. She sells her cut flowers to florists, super markets, farmers markets, a garden share program, and a subscription service. Ziegler loves to share her simplified organic gardening methods through her programs.

Randee Humphrey has been the Director of Education for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden since 2004 with responsibility for public, school, and special audience programs, educational exhibits and interpretation, management of Library and herbarium collections, and community engagement initiatives and partnerships. She has had a 30-year career in the non-profit cultural community and launched the beautiful RVA community engagement initiative in 2013. This effort fostered a regional coalition and social movement of public and private agencies, organizations, and individuals, all invested in improving the quality of life in greater Richmond through public horticulture, urban greening, and beautiful place-making initiatives.

Marie Butler, a Chesapeake Master Gardener Emeritus, earned her degree from NC State University involving horticulture and landscape design. Her teaching experience in vocational horticulture and in Japanese flower arranging, a little State Diplomacy, and the expense of four private tuitions served to land Butler in the Virginia Zoo. Before retiring from the Zoo, she shared her earth-friendly practices with more than 400 wild animals and even more wild children and adults.

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