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Tovah Martine horticultur author writer photo lecturer

Lecture Descriptions

Announcing a New Lecture!

Boot Camp for your Senses
     A lecture by Tovah Martin

     Your garden could be so fulfilling, if you plug in. Created to coincide with the publication of Tovah’s new book, The Garden in Every Sense and Season, this lecture explores the garden on all levels by attuning your nose to the scents and training your ears to listen. Learn to garden with eyes wide open, ears to the ground, and hands outstretched. Tailored to the current season to make each presentation dynamic, this lecture will lead your group through an odyssey of exploration to awaken the senses and arouse your abilities of perception on all levels. Sharing advice and ideas to deeply enhance the gardening experience while also incorporating a “Smellathon” to help get nostrils in gear, this lecture is beautiful and fun as well as highly practical. Want to broaden your horizons? After his presentation, your garden will be more savory, you will know its touch, smell its aromas, hear its voice, and see it anew.

Gardening as if the World Depends on Us
     A lecture by Tovah Martin

     Worried about the world? Take action! Actually, just by being a gardener, you are already making a big difference. Want to do more? Gardens offer so many opportunities to link with nature and rescue the world. What can you do to help? Everything! This lecture is filled with ideas from gardeners who rallied their acreage in backyards large and small to make a difference. From 21st Century versions of Victory Gardens to pollinator plants, native shrubs, and bird forage with scenic excursions into cover-the-earth density plantings, lawn alternatives, herbs, and drought-tolerant suggestions, we talk about how you can ally with nature to make the world a better place for all creatures. The results are ravishing—these gardens bristle with beauty and overflow with pride. With a trowel in hand, you can save the earth.

The Indestructible Houseplant

      Deep down inside you’ve always yearned to grow houseplants, right? Who doesn’t want to bask in the calming beauty of something green cohabitating in your home? If only you had a green thumb…

     In this illustrated lecture, Tovah Martin urges you to give peace lilies a chance. With the new generation of unkillable houseplants, cohabitating with plants doesn't have to be high maintenance. Select one of these readily available ironclad plants, and your home is going to be a walk in the park without any stress, mess, or bother. Even if you have less-than-ideal conditions, this lecture provides recommendations for dozens of tough cookies that can survive and thrive despite challenging situations. And there is nothing ho-hum about these houseplants. You will see trendy new versions of beloved workhorses such as sansevierias, nerve plants, Chinese evergreens, begonias, spider plants, ferns, and all your favorites. Plus, creative ideas for fun, funky containers to put pizzazz into your windowsill will be presented. We'll talk about matching the right plant with your situation and personality; we'll discuss potting, watering, fertilizer, maintenance, and all your indoor issues. And we'll tackle mixing and matching indestructibles with a demonstration on how to make it happen. Never kill another houseplant!

Indestructible Houseplant Live Beauty Pageant!

      If you thought that houseplants were boring—look again. Check out today’s stunners! The new generation of windowsill worthies are not your grandmother’s dusty houseplants. And just to prove how glamorous houseplants can be, Tovah Martin will strut outrageously handsome houseplants down the runway. Move over haute couture! These beauty queens are not just long and lithe. Some are curvaceous, others are kinky. What our begonias, peperomias, ferns, agaves, etc. all share in common is that they are indestructible—as long as you select the right match for you and your home. To help you find the green roommate of your dreams, we’ll talk about every photosynthesizing supermodel. The comely unkillables will be accompanied by a running lively commentary on how to host these hubba-hubba houseplants. Plus, questions will be entertained. Come and be dazzled.

     This lecture/pageant is limited to locations within driving distance of Connecticut.

The Unexpected Houseplant

      Get ready for the Houseplant Revolution. What the world needs now is more green close by – and houseplants are the answer. These aren’t your grandmother’s dowdy, dusty versions. These are houseplants with panache. These are plants that you didn’t necessarily associate with windowsills. Have you ever thought of growing a perennial as a housemate, for example? Heucheras and primroses are just a couple of the unexpected houseplants recommended in this lecture. And we talk all about how to bust houseplants out of their plastic past and into a swank future. What? You’ve tried and failed with houseplants? Here’s how to make your windowsill into a success story without quitting your day job. You and kangaroo paws are going to live happily ever after.

Infusing the Garden with Personality

Infusing the Garden with Personality      You are what you eat, you dress for success, why not harness your garden as an expression of the inner you? In this interactive lecture, we explore how a garden can reflect your personality. We discuss infusing your personal space with personality, panache, and punch while searching for your deeper individualist. No matter if you’re accessorizing a grand estate or tucking a few treasured objects into a windowsill terrarium, there’s always opportunity to follow your own drummer. Using examples from some of the finest gardens in the country and quoting from many of the most astute gardeners in the world, we demonstrate how to have fun and optimize your landscape in this digital slide lecture. The lecture finale is a terrarium planting demonstration.

Terrariums & You

     When you need nature close by, houseplants are the answer. And if you’ve always yearned to host houseplants, but failed – this lecture will come to the rescue. The answer is crystal clear: Glass can serve as a solution to bond botany and you. With the aid of a terrarium, you can host nature almost anywhere – in your parched apartment or your dim office cubicle. In addition, terrariums can be the ideal venue to bring nature into children’s lives. These “small worlds” introduce beauty, botany, whimsy, sophistication, and sparkle into any decor, but these projects are also surprisingly inexpensive. Not only will we share all sorts of recycling ideas for enlisting everything from vases to cake stands, fishbowls, lemonade pitchers, cookie jars, etc for growing plants and showcasing nature, but recommendations for plant selection, care, and maintenance will be shared. This lecture demonstrates precisely how to work with glass enclosures of all types to incorporate green into your life, no matter how busy your schedule might be.

Terrarium Workshops

     The gardening world’s most rewarding make-and-take, everyone succeeds at a terrarium workshop. Appropriate for groups ranging from 2nd graders to seniors, this workshop leads you through the making of a terrarium step-by-step. In this 1 ½ to 2 hour class, every attendee is able to create a small world encased in glass by the end of the session. All kinds of budgets can fit into this configuration and, if desired, materials can be supplied to make it happen within the New England region and its close neighbors. Farther afield, detailed lists of materials can be furnished to help you prepare the ingredients for the workshop. The venue begins with an explanation of terrariums and how they work to minimize maintenance and make indoor gardening sparkle. From there, we move into a step-by-step demonstration. And then everyone crafts their own little glass-encased masterpiece. Every attendee has a fantastic, creative, enabling, rewarding time! With decades of experience in growing terrariums of all descriptions, I’m the expert in this craft and share exactly how to correctly construct terrariums that live happily ever after.

Trowels & Tomorrow: Garden Stewardship

Trowels & Tomorrow: Garden Stewardship     The beauty of gardens is that they mature. This is a lecture about horticultural preservation, stewardship, and how gardeners grapple with change. We address the challenges of bringing landscapes into the next generation. Whether you have inherited a landscape or created a garden over decades and now face mature trees and shrubs that require preemptive pruning or relocation, we explore issues and answers. We look at woodland gardens and grand estates, we explore gardens great and small. We tackle such sticky wickets as rehabilitating overgrown boxwood hedges and coping with plants that were once considered exotics but have now been unmasked as invasives. This is a lecture about bringing yesterday’s gardens into tomorrow. But we also talk about plant preservation and heirloom varieties, honoring the people who have worked to preserve vintage ornamentals so those plants with a past can become the superstars of future gardens.

Putting Perennials through their Paces

Putting Perennials through their Paces      Many perennials are the bread-and-butter of the garden – and we see them repeated over and over again. We love these goodfellows, it’s true. But why not do some fancy footwork in the garden? Doing stunts with perennials is what this lecture is all about. In it, we’ll talk about perennials that thumb their noses at perilous environments – such as seaside gardens and far north landscapes. We’ll also talk about daring deeds with color – pulling the stops with perennials. But the real crux of this lecture will come when we discuss perennials through the seasons and how they can be combined with bulbs – both hardy and summer bulbs. Tracing the rise of the newest manifestation of the mixed border, we’ll see the union between perennials and bulbs translated into Wynn Sayman’s Berkshire spring fling. Then we’ll show how Piet Oudolf, the famed Dutch designer, and Jacqueline van der Kloet pulled it off at the NYBG Seasonal Walk. Finally, we’ll show the High Line project where perennials straddle the catwalk of an exposed/windswept/raised garden and thrive. These perennials are the epitome of plants that never say die. If they can survive in shallow soil, in beating sun, on a blustery bridge abutting the water – then your garden should be a piece of cake.

  Tovah Martine horticultur author writer photo lecturer