STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Berkshire Botanical Garden presents internationally recognized gardener Tom Coward featuring “The Legacy of Wild Gardener William Robinson” at its annual Winter Lecture at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Duffin Theater, Lenox Memorial Middle/High School, 197 East Street, Lenox, Mass.
Considered one of the most highly respected gardeners working in Britain today, Tom Coward is the head gardener of Gravetye Manor, the former estate of Victorian “wild garden” exponent and author William Robinson, who established the historic gardens in 1885. Situated in the Ashdown Forest of Sussex— the basis of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books — this would become Robinson’s inspiration for the creation of the English natural or wild gardens. The English Flower Garden and The Wild Garden were Robinson’s most notable books on the topic. The meadows of Gravetye’s wild garden are composed of naturalized bulbs and perennials mixed with native wildflowers.
Building on his experience restoring the wild gardens of Gravetye, and drawing from the inspiration of North American meadows, Coward will describe his process of how he continues to develop the wild garden at Gravetye and how the concept might translate to our own gardens. “The work Robinson initiated in the late 1880’s has evolved so much and influenced much of our gardening today, all over the world,” said Coward. “Some of the modern wild gardens that are being developed today are so exciting, particularly in the USA. It is important for us to keep Robinson’s wild garden abreast with this development. We are always trying to keep the garden moving forward. Robinson would have never wanted his garden to become a mausoleum to a moment in time and so we feel that the best way to care for our heritage is to keep in developing.”
Tickets for the Winter Lecture are $45 or $35 for members of Berkshire Botanical Garden and are available online at berkshirebotanical.org or by calling 413 320-4794. Discounted tickets are available for groups of six or more. Included in the ticket price is a post-lecture reception at Lenox Memorial Middle/High School — a Winter Lecture tradition that provides an opportunity for fellow gardeners to reconnect in the off-season. Copies of the latest version of Robinson’s The Wild Garden will be available for sale along with other horticulture books and gifts. In case of inclement weather, the Lecture will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 23.
Established in 1997, the Winter Lecture series was initiated by the Berkshire Botanical Garden to bring inspiring and noted speakers to the region to talk about horticulture, landscape design and history, plants and plant exploration, and home gardening. Past speakers have included such luminaries as Marco Polo Stufano, Dan Hinkley, Penelope Hobhouse, Bill Cullina, Fergus Garrett, Debs Goodenough, Dr. Michael Dirr, Ken Druse, Anna Pavord, Thomas Woltz, Arne Maynard and Margaret Roach. Proceeds from ticket sales support the Garden’s educational efforts. Sponsored by the Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Mass.
Advance registration for Winter Lecture is highly recommended, but walk-ins are welcome, space permitting.