Hear from a Professional Educator Mary teaches and lectures about various aspects of gardening and nature. Her lectures are approximately one hour in length but can be adjusted to fit specific time frames. If you don't see a lecture that interests your group, she is well versed in other topics not listed here. Tours of Countryside Farm and Nurseries or Cross Keys Farm are also available for groups of ten to fifty. Contact Mary at 434.953.6661 to schedule your lecture or visit and discuss fees.
Need an article for publication, or to consult with an expert for an article you are writing? Contact Mary for more information.
Need an expert consultation for your home garden or professional farm? Raul and Mary are available for a fee of $50 per hour. Contact Mary for more information.
Available Lectures Autumn Companions Learn Mary’s favorite plant combinations for the season and use her guidelines to create your own. Spring Companions and Summer Companions lectures also available, as well as one about Fabulous Fall Foliage.
Bad Boys of the Garden and How to Control These Pests Discover some of the major pests found in gardens and what to do about them. This sensible approach will explain the life cycles of these creatures and several ways to keep them under control.
Beautiful Bulbs Bulbs are easy to grow with many advantages to gardens. Learn which bulbs to add to your garden and a few others you might not want to live without.
Chop Chop: The Art of Pruning Trees and shrubs are frequently ruined or killed because of improper pruning techniques. Learn how, when and why to prune for beautiful, long-living trees.
Critter Control Groundhogs, skunks, rabbits and deer…some years, it seems these critters get more of the garden produce than the gardener! This informative lecture provides animal-friendly tips and techniques to help keep these critters at bay.
Creating a Butterfly Garden Butterflies are a beautiful addition to the garden space, adding color, movement and interest. Learn fascinating facts about butterflies, their lifecycles and ways to attract them to your garden spaces. Creating Backyard Habitats Learn how to make your garden a haven for wildlife and why you should want to.
Designing Your Garden Learn basic principles of garden design and ways to give your landscapes more impact. This class will teach methods to increase curb appeal, value and improve the use of home spaces.
Diagnosing Plant Diseases All sorts of diseases can destroy plants, but how do you know what they are and what to do about them? Find out simple ways to become your own detective and decipher what is killing what’s growing in your garden.
Down and Dirty: Understanding Soil Soil is the most important—and least understood—aspect of gardening. Mary unravels this mystery in a fun and easy-to-understand lecture explaining types of soils, its purpose and how it benefits your plants.
Edible Landscapes Nothing tastes better than produce you grow yourself. Learn everything you need to know to choose and grow your own vegetables, no matter what kind of yard you have.
Fabulous Fall Foliage Learn about Mary’s favorite trees, shrubs and perennials that bring exceptional fall color and interest to the garden. Also check out lectures for Autumn Companions, Spring Companions and Summer Companions.
Garden Heroes: Beneficial Insects Learn which insects are beneficial to your garden, about their life cycles and ways to encourage them to live in your landscape.
Gardening in the Golden Years Research shows that gardening and being in nature are beneficial for your health, both physically and mentally. But gardening is hard work, and one wrong move can be painful or cause injury. Discover ways to create a beautiful garden while staying off the ice pack and out of the hospital.
Going Green in a Brown World Going Green may be a popular movement, but there are some less glamorous aspects to organic gardening to which others may protest. This humorous lecture allows you to discover ways to ease into the organic movement while training the people around you to accept it.
Growing for Beginners Understand the principles of growing annuals, biennials, perennials, vines, shrubs and trees. This beginner’s class teaches general information about each of these plants to help the new gardener become a success in the garden.
Growing Up Gardens are three-dimensional. Learn ways to add verticality to your garden spaces to create more interest and beauty.
In a Pickle Pickles are a great way to enjoy and preserve your garden’s annual produce. Learn the background of many condiments and some of Mary’s favorite recipes.
Incredible Edible Apples Learn the history of apples and how they found a place in the heart of the American populace, as well as how apples are grown and varieties to grow.
Oh, Deer! While beautiful, deer are an ever-increasing problem in the home landscape and can cause great damage to your plants. With inaccurate data abounding, this talk will help bust some of those myths while helping you determine the best methods for keeping these pesky animals out of your garden.
Ornamental Grasses Ornamental grasses are hardy plants, withstanding harsh garden conditions while bringing beauty to the garden. Learn the different varieties and how to use them in your landscape.
Rocks in Garden Design Dealing with a few rocks in your home landscape? Learn the advantages of rocks in garden design. And also get introduced to the wonderful plants and fun of creating a rock garden.
Seven Ways to Kill a Tree Mary demonstrates some of the abuse trees withstand in our landscapes and teaches you how to keep your trees healthy and happy—and alive!
Sex in the Garden: How Plants Reproduce Let’s make plants! First learn how plants reproduce and then discover the techniques to make more of the plants you love.
Spring Companions Learn Mary’s favorite plant combinations for the season, and use her guidelines to create your own. Autumn Companions and Summer Companions lectures also available, as well as one about Fabulous Fall Foliage.
Summer Companions Learn Mary’s favorite plant combinations for the season and use her guidelines to create your own. Autumn Companions and Spring Companions lectures also available, as well as one about Fabulous Fall Foliage.
The Importance of Trees Trees are important to urban landscapes. Learn how they are used in streetscapes, parks and small properties as well as their importance and the ways they benefit communities and society. The Lazy Gardener We all want a beautiful garden, but many of us don’t have the time or energy to do all the hard work necessary for the look we want. Have a few laughs while learning low-maintenance tips and techniques for managing your garden spaces.
Trees and Proper Care Trees are beautiful, dignified and majestic and should be in our landscapes for generations. Learn about trees, how they grow, how to use them in the landscape and how to care for them properly.
To Turf or Not to Turf A lawn is not always the best thing for the environment, or your wallet. Learn many reasons to ditch your lawn and what you might do instead. Turf: The Perfect Complement to Your Garden American landscapes often include lawns. If you’re going to have one, it needs to look good. Learn everything you need to know to have the perfect lawn to go with your garden.
Understanding Plants This is a class in basic botany for beginning gardeners. Gain a broad understanding of plants and how they grow for the best start in your gardening endeavors.
Water in the Garden How is water used in the garden? What is its purpose and how do plants use it? This class will explain the qualities and characteristics of water and why it is so important to plants.
Waterwise Gardening Gardens need water to survive, but water is increasingly a dwindling resource. Learn how to have a beautiful garden while saving and preserving this precious commodity.
Weeds or Medicine? Early colonists brought many weeds to the Americas because they were important for medicine or food. Learn about some of these plants, their histories and the health benefits of adding them into your diet.
Woody Plants Trees and shrubs are an important part of landscape plans. Learn the characteristics of these plants, how they grow and what they need to stay healthy.
Zombie Caterpillars and Other Insect Oddities Learn how the study of insects is a fascinating lesson of war, love, camouflage and survival of the fittest.