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Colleen considers herself both an educator and an entertainer. Her lighthearted, interactive, informative PowerPoint and show ‘n tell lectures illustrate various aspects of gardening and green living. Suitable for corporate presentations, libraries, garden clubs, garden-themed weekends, Parks and Recreation departments, nurseries, and Women’s Clubs. She has presented to thousands of people over the past several years, including appearances at the Boston, Chicago, Connecticut and Rhode Island Flower Shows.


Topics include:


Beatrix Farrand, Rediscovered

Colleen as Beatrix

Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959) was America’s first female landscape architect and a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Though overlooked for decades, her work is being rediscovered. Many of her gardens, such as Bellefield in Hyde Park, NY; Hill-Stead in Farmington, CT and Garland Farm in Bar Harbor, ME, have been restored. This talk is a dramatic, 45-minute, first person presentation of the life, times and work of this distinguished “landscape gardener”. 






The Bins and Outs of Composting

An informal, informative look at various composting methods, including bins, heaps, worms, tumblers and electric!

All Season Color in the Garden

PowerPoint presentation showing easy, colorful plants which bloom from March ’til November. Emphasis on deer-resistant material.

Good Night My Garden

Presentation with visuals of what we use to put our gardens to bed. Discussed are bulb planting, what to cut down and what to leave up, composting, deer repelling, lawn care, drying plant material and much more.

Hello My Garden

The opposite of Good Night My Garden.  Also a show ‘n tell, but with discussion of how to start things up in the spring. Pruning, mulching, fertilizing, planning for succession of bloom, annuals and more.

Gardening with the Birds

A primer on best  plants and practices to attract and nurture a wide variety of birds into the garden. Discussed are trees, shrubs, vines, lawns, annuals, perennials and wild plants. Accompanying the program are examples of tools of the trade for avian friendship.

The Merry, Merry Month of May

May is a busy month in the garden, and this show ‘n tell presentation demonstrates how to prioritize chores for maximum enjoyment and practicality. Discussed is May color, what to do with bulb foliage, deer-deterring strategies, mulching, self-sowing annuals, and more.

June is Bustin’ Out All Over

Often the first really warm month of the new season, June can also be strangely devoid of color once the peonies and iris go by. Discussed are other sources of perennial, annual , biennial, shrub, and vine color, along with maintenance, pruning for late color,  deer-deterrence, composting, and much more.

Yankee Doodle Dandy July Garden

As the heat of summer sets in, the garden often fades. It’s easy to have a colorful garden in Spring, but challenges appear in mid-summer. Discussed are techniques to prolong color, focusing on daylily, astilbe, hosta, among others. Watering strategies and time-saving methodologies included.

Fall Frolics

How to have a colorful garden as the season wanes. How to plant for color, texture, wildlife interest, and hardiness. Included are such perennial stalwarts as Joe Pye weed, the asters, cimicifuga, sedum, and annual glories such as cleome, portulaca, and salvia ‘Victoria Blue’.

Get a Big Bang from Hardy Bulbs

Learn how a few hours of labor in autumn will produce weeks upon weeks of gorgeous spring color. This upbeat talk includes tips & techniques on selecting, planting, critter-proofing and prolonging bulb life. 

Tools of the Trade

Ruth Stout told us how to “have a green thumb without an aching back”. Part of the answer is using the proper tools. What can we absolutely not do without? Discussed are tips for care and use of wheelbarrows, clippers, trowels, trugs, hori-hori, weeders,  loppers, and many more.

Bad Boys and Graceless Girls

There are wild thugs wanting to destroy our landscapes. Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, mile-a-minute vine, bamboo, among many others. Learn how to identify, & control out-of-control invasive plants for a more balanced ecosystem.

Mentors and Memories in the Garden

Discussion of my garden memoir, “Mentors in the Garden of Life”.  The importance of garden stories, and how to honor and remember the people who taught us life lessons while digging in the dirt.

Not Tonight, Deer

Gardening in deer country demands a multifaceted approach. Included is the recipe for my never-fail deer repellent, along with other strategies for outwitting the dratted deer, including lists of deer-resistant material. We also discuss what to do about voracious voles, bodacious bunnies, greedy groundhogs, and other nefarious nabobs of the garden. 

Simple Seed Starting

PowerPoint and show ‘n tell; seed starting is discussed with display of equipment, hints, tips and stories of success and failure. Weather and time permitting, trays of seedlings accompany the lecture.

“O” is for Ornamentation“

The basics of decorating our gardens. We discuss how much, what style to choose, how much is too much, how to use collections, antiques; and care of garden decor.

Foundation Plantings 101

How to use a variety of plant material to disguise our home’s foundation and help the house “settle” into its location. Included is information on pruning and selecting colorful shrubs, grasses, and annuals & perennials.

Wise Watering

How to use the gift of water. Rain barrels, soaker hoses, garden hoses, watering cans. Portable water bladders and tree-gators. Drought-tolerant plants. When to water and why.

Self-Sown Lovelies

How to have a beautiful garden by letting Mother Nature do the work. Discussed are such plants as lunaria, forget-me-not, bleeding heart, tiarella, phlox, and aster. How to both encourage and control these beauties.

Perennial Plants of the Year, 1990-2011

The easiest plants to grow are those recognized each year by the Perennial Plant Association. This lecture focuses on the award winners of the past 20 years, from sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to amsonia hubrectii; why they were chosen and how to grow them.

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Colleen offers a series of gardening classes in her home ornamental and vegetable gardens. Classes are small and dedicated to developing hands-on skill in planting, transplanting, bulbs, design, critter control, plant identification, plant shopping, hardscaping, ponds, and much more. Contact Colleen at for further information and reasonable rates.



Learn about:

  • Plant selection
  • Critter control
  • Design and layout
  • Structure
  • Screening
  • Container gardens
  • Soil preparation
  • Paths
  • Composting
  • Fertilizing
  • Maintenance
  • The art of planting
  • The art of purchasing
  • Waking the garden up/putting the garden to bed

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