Words for a thoughtful gardener


On Sunday, September 30, 2012, the Arboretum hosted its second annual Tent Symposium. This event is held in the Arboretum’s South Meadow under a glorious multi-peaked white tent that houses an elegant fundraising gala, Magic in the Meadow, the evening before. The mood of happy anticipation was justified with the advertised lineup of speakers, the beautiful day, and the glorious setting, but it was evident too that the previous evening’s dazzle seemed to remain in the air. 

Reflecting upon my comments to welcome the afternoon’s first speaker, DC-based landscape architect Thomas Rainer, I realized how much his work reflects the lessons Adkins Arboretum is teaching about the importance of protecting and creating landscapes for human health and well-being. Here is my welcome and introduction.


Ellie Altman

Executive Director, Adkins Arboretum



Welcome to the Arboretum’s second annual tent symposium. Is there a better place to be on a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, enjoying fresh air and listening to two celebrated gardeners talk about what they love? To be inspired to become celebrated gardeners ourselves—good stewards of the earth. This is Sunday School at its best. If anyone should ask why you weren’t in church today, explain that you had a conflict with church today because you were at Sunday School.


Now to introduce our first speaker, Landscape Architect, blog writer extraordinaire, Thomas Rainer.





Thomas Rainer dares to be politically incorrect by balancing aesthetic goals with the ecological goals of gardening with plants. He has not been willing to accept that gardening with native plants means living with wildness that some of the year is frankly a mess and some of the year barren. He has raised the standards for creating stunning gardens with natives. He is leading the pendulum back from its swing toward a single focus on wildlife habitat to a balance that recognizes the need to create habitat for humans as well as wildlife. He is committed to being forthright and honest with the public that gardening with natives is not a no-maintenance proposition. Gardening is work and weeding, pruning, deadheading, dividing, mulching. Planting and transplanting are gardening tasks – gardens require gardening.


Thomas is a thoughtful gardener. If you are not a regular reader of his blog, I highly recommend your signing up to receive his pearls of wisdom at groundeddesign.com.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s