Troy Scott Smith
TROY SCOTT SMITH is the head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England. His horticultural career of over 30 years includes being head gardener at the Courts Garden in Wiltshire, and Bodnant Gardens in Wales. His expertise of rejuvenating English landscapes captured the attention of Sissinghurst Castle, a most famous National Trust Garden. Troy was appointed the first male head gardener. Since his appointment in 2013, Troy has been revitalizing this historic landscape that provides inspiration to gardeners worldwide. 

“Restoring Vita’s Vision for Sissinghurst”: Troy Scott Smith is on a mission to rejuvenate the Sissinghurst Castle Garden, a garden that is beloved by millions worldwide. One must have great courage and confidence to accept such an undertaking (we gardeners are terribly opinionated) but Troy is a truly gifted gardener who is determined to restore the artistic spirit of its creators, Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicholson. He will take us on a journey from the inspiration of the original plantings through the ensuing years and then how he will “re-Vita-lize” one of the worlds greatest gardens. 

Will Rieley, PLA
WILLIAM D. RIELEY, PLA, is the founder and principal of Rieley and Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is one of the premier authorities on research, design, and preservation of public parks, roads, parkways, and a plethora of historic sites & gardens. In May 2016 Will was awarded the Historic Preservation Medal, one of the highest honors bestowed annually by the Garden Club of America. The Garden Club of Virginia has also endowed a fellowship in his name. In addition to teaching at the University of Virginia for more than 20 years, his contributions are many and have included the Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Poplar Forest, the Virginia Executive Mansion, and the entrance corridor to Monticello. 

 “Jefferson’s Landscapes: A Historical Perspective”: when the name Thomas Jefferson is mentioned, we think “Founding Father” but William Rieley wants to introduce us to the Thomas Jefferson who created a different type of revolution; organic landscape architecture. Jefferson believed that close observation of nature led to a landscape design that released the genius of the place in all its beauty. He was so enthused he started planting Monticello 2 years before building the house. Join us as we investi- gate the source of Jefferson’s creative muse.

Kelly Ann MendezKERRY ANN MENDEZ is a nationally renowned garden speaker, educator, author and design consultant based in Kenebunk, Maine. Her website, pyours.com is a go-to for knowledgeable gardeners everywhere and her blog and newsletters are read by hundreds every week. For her work Kerry Ann was awarded the Gold Medal by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2014. 

“Design Lessons Learned From Magnificent Gardens” How do we take all that we’ve seen and apply it to our own gardens? Kerry Ann Mendez will emphasize the design essentials that create great gardens and apply them in a way that accommodates home gardens of any size. She will address texture, movement, color, garden accessories, and more. Kerry Ann will share design strategies that transform conventional gardens to stunning, personalized places of retreat and enjoyment.

Ted Stevens TED STEVENS: If you mention the name Ted Stevens to any gardener in the Carolinas, he or she will immediately know him as the consummate plantsman. Ted and his brother started their nursery in Augusta, South Carolina in 1973 and soon became the largest in the area, supplying plants to customers as far away as Virginia. Ted still goes to far-away places annually, searching for plants to bring back to trial in the nursery, and providing the Carolinas with new species that will grow well in their gardens.

“Choosing the Best Plants for Carolina Gardens”: Considered a plantsman’s plantsman; Ted Stevens has been gardening in the Carolinas for his whole life and knows which plants will stand up to the vagaries of our weather and which will become a pitiful ghost of it’s original self. He’ll tell us about the hybrid trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals that improve on the species and those that are best left at the garden center.; He has put new introductions through a trial run and will give us “the down to home truth” of their worth. During the day we’ll learn of the inspiration that creates gardens, design strategies for home gardens and then Ted will present the plants that will make them come alive.