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2022 Virtual Lecture Series

Reimagining Beauty

January - May 2022

Thursdays, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Imagine looking beyond initial aesthetics to assess a garden’s beauty. What if our valuation of beauty included a garden’s ability to support the broader ecosystem? Through working with nature and looking closer at the plant communities, animal communities, and soil organisms in our gardens, we can strengthen biodiversity and increase local ecosystem productivity. Let’s reimagine beauty together. Join us for a 5-part virtual lecture series to learn how inspiring professionals in the gardening community continue to push the bounds of beauty.

Lectures include: 60-minute presentation on ZOOM, followed by 30 minute Q&A with the presenter.

Check out our best practices tip sheet to ensure you are in tip-top technical shape for the lectures! Olbrich Botanical Gardens is unable to provide technical support during the presentations.

Thank You to Our 2022 Presenting Sponsor

Barbara Mathis


Thursday, january 27, 7-8:30 p.m.

Native Habitats by Design

Craig Bergmann

Craig BergmannCraig will take us on an inspiring journey as he shares his experience and approach designing breathtaking naturalized gardens that embrace nature in northern Illinois and create native habitats.

Craig Bergmann is a registered landscape architect, garden designer, plantsman and lecturer. His award-winning work has been featured in several books including Mary Riley Smith’s The Front Garden, and Susan McClure’s Midwest Garden Design, as well as in periodicals such as Garden Design (Golden Trowel Winner in 2007), Midwest Living, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and others.

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$12 - Olbrich Members

$15 - General Public


Thursday, february 24, 7-8:30 p.m.

The Garden of the Future: Reimagining the American Yard

Thomas Rainer

Thomas RainerAs a leading voice in ecological landscape design, Thomas will share how plants fit together in nature and how to use this knowledge to create gardens that are more satisfying, more resilient, and less work.

Thomas Rainer is a registered landscape architect, teacher, and author living in Arlington, Virginia. A leading voice in ecological landscape design, Thomas has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and The New York Botanical Garden, as well as over 100 gardens from Maine to Florida. Thomas is a specialist in applying innovative planting concepts to create ecologically-functional designed landscapes.

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$12 - Olbrich Members

$15 - General Public

Register Here!


Thursday, March 24, 7-8:30 p.m.

Un-Natural Landscapes: An American Dream

Reba Luiken

Reba LuikenAmericans have long had a plan for controlling their landscapes. Join Reba to learn how the past has influenced our relationships with organisms, often comprising a healthy, beautiful, and productive landscape.

Reba Luiken is the Director of Allen Centennial Garden and an environmental historian. As a professional in public gardens, she is an architect of plant encounters, meeting people where they are and connecting them with plants in new ways though horticultural storytelling. As a historian, she focuses on the history of the plants and people including things like community gardens, horticultural therapy, and education.

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$12 - Olbrich Members

$15 - General Public

Register here!


Thursday, April 28, 7-8:30 p.m.

New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient, Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden

Kelly Norris

Kelly NorrisIn this era of purposeful and thoughtful gardening, planting is a powerful verb. Planting gardens inspired by nature promotes authentic connections with land, environment, and humanity. Kelly will inspire us to deepen our understanding of plants and place in this virtual lecture.

Kelly D. Norris is an award-winning author and plantsman whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Fine Gardening, Garden Design and in numerous television, radio and digital media appearances. His passion for planting at the intersections of horticulture and ecology has culminated in a new book, New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient, Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden which had its debut in January 2021 from Cool Springs Press.

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$12 - Olbrich Members

$15 - General Public

Register here!


Thursday, May 26, 7-8:30 p.m.

Reimagining Beauty at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Jeff Epping, Avery Pronschinske, Dan Schuknecht

ConeflowersJeff Epping, Director of Horticulture

Learn about how Jeff and his horticulture team have converted acres of turf into beautiful, diverse and environmentally functional gardens over the last 25 years, increasing habitat for all the wonderful creatures that call Olbrich home. 

Avery Pronschinske, Horticulturist

Follow the meadows of Olbrich through the seasons, watching them grow, transform and inspire from spring to fall. Each season brings to attention different native and seasonal blooming plants that provide the buffet of options for both wildlife and pollinators. Watch the transformation of a years-worth of growth flash by in beautifully captured images.

Dan Schuknecht, Horticulturist

Explore the intermittent jungle. The Thai Sala at Olbrich Gardens is immediately surrounded by boisterous tropical plantings, but Dan will expand on the tree-covered jungle part of the garden. Learn how woodland plantings, including many native species, can provide dense and tropical feeling in a climate where plants are dormant for half the year. 

$12 - Olbrich Members

$15 - General Public

Register here!


Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719