PHYLLIS ODESSEY

“I call myself achlorophyll whore”C.Colston Burrell

C.Colston Burrell
NATIVE plants
and
ECOLOGICAL design

11th Annual Winter Lecture Series
New York Botanical Garden
February 17, 2011

C. Colston Burrell is a garden designer, award-winning author,
photographer,
naturalist, and teacher.
Is it possible to do all that, know all that…I went to find out.

And it is possible to be particularly engaging and modest at the same time.

Burrell is a Southerner and it shows.  His manner mixes old-fashioned charm with 21st. century knowledge.  He began with “I want to share with you a lifetime of discovery.”  When someone wants to SHARE with me, I am immediately positively disposed towards them. 

Burrell set the parameters for the discussion.  He is not purist or heretic, somewhere near the purist, but with a mixture of realism.  
He invoked the mantra of the sustainable sites movement:  DO NO HARM.  And then he asked the question what is native plant?
1.  a plant with medicinal value
2.  a plant that provides food
3.  a plant that adorns the landscape
4.  a plant that can be used as a tool for restortion
5.  a plant that is an object of desire
6.  a plant that is part of food web
7.  a plant to is a structural component in a plant community

The native wildflower meadow at Randall’s Island facing the Harlem River


Burrell traced the evolution of native plant movement/revival.
The call to arms:  think globally, act locally. 
The bumper sticker on his car:  DARWIN LOVES YOU.

Without recounting the entire lecture, as they say you can buy the book or books, Burrell ended the lecture by going locally…talking about his own garden.  A combination of garden and woodland. 

“I am a lazy gardener.   Native plants are a great way to sit outside, watch the butterflies, dragon flies, hummingbirds and have a glass of wine.”  Burrell has a deer fence, which made him extremely happy, until the voles, moles, rabbits, skunks, and woodchucks invaded.  “Now, I ‘m happy if it just lives, self-sows and makes a colony.”

So am I.

C.Colston Burrell is a garden designer, award-winning author, photographer, naturalist, and teacher.  He is a lecturer in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia and principal of Native Landscape Design and Restoration.  He is the author of many gardening books adn has twice won the American Horticulture Society book award (in 2007 for Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide and in 1998 for A Gardener’s Encyclopedia of Wildflowers).  He is contributing editor for Horticulture and frequently write for Landscape Architecture and American Gardener.

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