Talks

Thomas Rainer is a highly sought after public speaker whose passionate and provocative talks have inspired and entertained audiences all over the east coast. Thomas speaks on various topics, many related to the future of planting design and the intersection of beauty and ecology.

If you would like to talk with Thomas about speaking to your group or symposium, please contact him at groundeddesign@gmail.com. Past topics are listed below, but topics can easily be tailored to your group and needs.  

What people are saying:

""This is the best presentation I've heard in 30 years of this conference."

"That was a special lecture that Thomas gave this past winter at the New York Botanical Garden, signaling a kind of turning point for native and naturalistic design."

Thomas' talk "was a turning point for the next generation of garden designers that take into consideration both the art and ecology of great garden making. Thomas has a new contemporary voice. I was pleased that so see many ears and eyes were listening and seeing so attentively. I certainly was."

"I have never invited a speaker in consecutive years, but your message was so on-point for us, I felt it would appropriate."

"Thomas Rainer combined humor, useful information and inspiring images in his talk Saturday on achieving romaticism in our gardens with hydrangeas and other worthy plants."


2014 Talks and Lectures:

January 9-10  New Directions in the American Landscape, 25th Anniversary: Assessing & Reassessing Ecological Landscape Design. Connecticut College, New London, CT

9am-5pm. "Artful Interpretations" Join landscape architect Thomas Rainer to learn how an understanding of naturally occurring plant communities can reshape traditional landscape design aesthetics and offer new ways of looking at the native versus exotic debate. Specific strategies for adapting wild plant communities to a variety of urban and suburban settings will be explained, demonstrating ways to achieve a new level of aesthetic richness and ecological functionality in our designed landscapes. Other speakers include James Hitchmough, Nancy Aten, Travis Beck, Kurt Culbertson, Carol Franklin, Carol Gracie, Rebecca McMackin, Darrel Morrison, Nick Novick, Marc Pastorek, and Larry Weaner.


9am-5pm. "Artful Interpretations" Other speakers include Nancy Aten, Travis Beck, Kurt Culbertson, Nigel Dunnett, Carol Franklin, Carol Gracie, James Grimes, Rebecca McMackin, Darrel Morrison, Marc Pastorek, Thomas Rainer, Larry Weaner.


March 1  Miami Valley Gardening Conference, Dayton, Ohio. Gardening for the Next Decade

Keynote Speaker along with Jeff Lowenfels. Sinclair Comm. College Ponitz Center.


March 20  The New York Botanical Garden. 14th Annual Winter Lecture Series

10am-12pm. "Designing with Native Plants." This thought–provoking critique of the current approach to designing with natives will suggest an alternative: bold, modern composition based on artful interpretations of native plant communities. Even a limited palette can have the emotional power of a large landscape when it evokes our deeper associations with plants. This process of distilling native communities into striking, adaptable patterns—particularly in urban and suburban sites that have little in common with the native plants that once flourished there—provides an inclusive road map for creating lush, dynamic plantings that can be replicated in any setting.


May 20  Georgia Perennial Plant Association, Atlanta Georgia. 7pm
7pm. "Designed Plant Communities" Barbara Allen Memorial Lecture


June 7th  Mid South Hydrangea Society. Memphis, TN. Dixon Gallery and Gardens

July 19th Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. Western Carolina University
9:00-10:00am. Saturday morning plenary session.

October 17th Perennial Plant Conference, Scott Arboretum Swathmore College

October 23-24 Charles Gillette Forum at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Richmond Virginia.
Thursday evening and Friday during day. Speaking with Adrian Higgins, Travis Beck, and Sheila Brady.
"Making Beauty Sustainable"

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