The Annapolis Horticulture Society continues to amaze me with the quality of speakers they present for their members and the public, and tomorrow night’s talk is no exception. Speaking with inspiring visuals will be the DC-area landscape architect Thomas Rainer on the subject of Cottage Gardens with Natives. Rainer’s an expert on designing with natives and moreover, describes himself a “specialist in applying innovative planting concepts to create low-input, dynamic, colorful, and ecologically-functional designed landscapes.” His work “aims at moving planting design from a largely decorative role to one that is essential to addressing the environmental challenges of our day” and having seen images of his designs, I can attest that they hit the mark.
One Rainer landscape I managed to see in person is the planting seen above, turning the humble median strip in the middle of Connecticut Avenue into a simple but unusual vision that stopped me in my tracks and forced me to take a picture. Only later did I learn he’d designed it.
I’ve been a fan of Rainer’s for a while now, first attracted to his highly acclaimed blog Grounded Design. (Don’t miss his recent blog post about trends in garden design.) I’ve also heard him speak – at last year’s Lahr Native Plant Symposium on the topic of Contemporary Garden Design with Natives, which was so provocative and meaty, it merited a second article just about his 5 Myths about Native Plants.
Thomas Rainer’s ideas about beauty and sustainability in garden design are getting lots of notice and having a much-needed impact nationally, so come hear him in person if you can and if you can’t, click on those links and start reading.
Meetings of the Annapolis Horticulture Society are held at St. Anne’s Parish Hall in Annapolis at 7 p.m. from September through May except for January, and are open to the public. Coming up after Thomas Rainer are David Culp on March 6 on the subject of perennials; Dr. Richard Olsen on April 3 talking about Japanese plants and their appeal; and on May 1, Colsten Burrell on the subject of “Natives – History and Us.” Great line-up!