Botanical Garden winter lectures aim to help gardeners

By Denise Attaway
Clemson University

CLEMSON — It’s a new year, and the South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson University is ready to teach gardeners some exciting new methods and techniques to help their gardens grow in 2017.

The Garden’s 2017 Winter Lecture Series is set to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 11, 18 and 25 in the Hayden Conference Center at 156 Duck Pond Lane in Clemson.

The series, titled “Gardening for a New Century,” features a variety of well-respected experts who share innovative approaches to gardening for the 21st century.

The authors of both “The Bio-Integrated Farm” and “Planting in a Post-Wild World” will participate in the South Carolina Botanical Garden’s 2017 Winter Lecture Series at Clemson University.

Patrick McMillan is the series’ keynote speaker and will open the series Feb. 11 with a presentation on the transformation of the Botanical Garden’s plant collection in the face of climate change over the past decade. He will explain implications of this change for home gardeners. McMillan is the Botanical Garden director, as well as host, co-creator and writer of the popular Emmy-award winning ETV nature program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.”

An introduction to permaculture will round out the first day of the series. Shawn Jadrnicek, manager of the Clemson University Student Organic Farm and author of “The Bio-Integrated Farm,” will illustrate how to harness natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, rainfall, organic matter and animals, and how to integrate these components into a functioning system to benefit life. Permaculture is a revolutionary approach to home gardening that encourages gardeners to employ nature to do much of the ongoing garden work and enables gardeners to reap the rewards.

On Feb. 18, the opening talk will be on the importance of “Low Maintenance Perennials” for home landscape. Ellen Vincent, a Clemson University landscape specialist, will offer her expertise and strategies for success with regard to design, installation and maintenance of perennial gardens. Vincent will highlight perennials that need little attention but create huge impact. By choosing plants that require little water, minimal fertilizers and few, if any, pesticides, home gardeners can be at the forefront of implementing sustainable landscaping practices.

Also on Feb. 18, Ted Stephens will discuss “Lime and Liming, Revolutionize Your Garden.” The presentation will show a simple and effective way to enjoy better disease control, insect control, flower and fruit production, improved soil structure and microorganism activity by applying correct applications of lime. Stephens has well over 30 years of experience as a noted plantsman and owner/operator of Nurseries Caroliniana in North Augusta. He will share his vast plant knowledge in his presentation.

Revolutionary, sustainability and beauty are themes that run throughout the lecture series. Claudia West will bring all of them together in her lecture on Feb. 25. West’s presentation is titled “Planting in a Post-Wild World,” based on her book of the same name co-authored with Thomas Ranier. The book has been heralded as a clear break from traditional horticultural design traditions by Architectural Digest and others.

Courtesy photos
South Carolina Botanical Garden director Patrick McMillan will be the keynote speaker at the garden’s 2017 Winter Lecture Series.

West’s presentation will be followed by a talk aimed at enabling gardeners to support wildlife, specifically birds, through the addition of bird-friendly plants to the landscape. Presenter Matt Johnson is the education manager for the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at the Francis Beidler Forest. His main focus is to raise awareness for bird conservation through environmental education and community outreach.

The cost for the series is $90, or $35 for individual sessions. Friends of the Garden members get a 10 percent discount. For more information or to register, contact Susan Watts at (864) 656-3405 or

Several events are scheduled to be held in the Botanical Garden this winter. For a full schedule of listings, visit