The Secret Garden
Friday, September 17, 9:00 am–5:00 pm


Registration is now closed. 

Frances Hodges Burnett’s 1911 novel The Secret Garden has been a gateway to gardening for generations of readers. Revealing both the magical metamorphosis of hidden spaces and the transformational aspects of nurturing nature, the novel inspires us to re-examine the latent possibilities of places and people. Join us to explore secret gardens and garden secrets through a series of talks and walks with experts and authors from the fields of horticulture, landscape architecture, and horticulture therapy. 

Winterthur’s Garden Symposium has been approved for LA CES HSW.


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Welcome & Introduction

Chris Strand
Brown Harrington Director of Garden & Estate, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library


The Secret History of The Secret Garden

Marta McDowell
Author and Teacher of Landscape History and Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden

Explore the backstory of the classic novel through the life of its author, Frances Hodgson Burnett. Discover the restorative power of her gardens in Kent, England; Long Island; and Bermuda, and their connections to her fictional creation at Misselthwaite Manor, the book’s setting.


Urban Nature: Human Nature

Peter del Tredici
Senior Research Scientist emeritus, Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University;
Visiting Lecturer of Applied Ecology and Planning, MIT

Urban ecosystems are the ultimate manifestation of the dynamic conflict between humans and nature—between our desire for neat, orderly landscapes and our fear of messy ecological chaos. This presentation focuses on the plants that grow without cultivation in cities and their remarkable ability to flourish in spite of stressful environmental conditions. This spontaneous urban vegetation is as cosmopolitan as the city’s human population and, quite frankly, is better adapted to our rapidly-changing climate than the native species that once grew there. Like it or not, the ecosystems created by these plants have become the new ecological normal, and it is time we recognize that they are not only making our cities more livable, but also helping clean up the mess we have made of the planet.



15 minutes./p>


The Secret Garden: Landscapes Through a Gardener’s Lens

David Rubin
Founding Principal, David Rubin Land Collective

Landscapes and gardens are highly political constructs, reflecting the culture and character of the citizenry that create them. Rubin will explore the resonance of creating place and the inherent emotion to be found in gardens as narratives, as personal constructs, and as community builders.



#1 Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, romaine hearts, ciabatta crouton, shredded parmesan
#2 Applewood smoked ham sandwich, Swiss cheese, apricot chutney, greens, on pretzel roll
#3: Moroccan chickpea wrap, roasted beets, field greens, lemon parsley, feta crumbles
      All lunches include fruit, kettle chips, house made cookie, and bottle of water


Walks & Workshops

Pre-registration required. All walks begin at the Visitor Center Patio (through the Café)

A – Enchanted Woods
Suzanne French, Interpretive Horticulturist, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Discover the magic of a woodland garden created for children under a majestic canopy of oak, tulip, and beech trees. Take a walk through Enchanted Woods and learn how its design encourages children of all ages to experience imaginative play, connect with nature, and develop a sense of wonder.

B – Introduction to Forest Therapy
Anisa George, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Certified Guide

Forest Therapy is a healing practice inspired by the Japanese art of shinrin yoku, or “forest bathing.” It enables individuals to slow down and cultivate a deeper sense of connection both with nature and with themselves. Enjoy a guided walk during which you will deepen your personal connections to the natural world and explore how mindful time with nature can increase your sense of calm, resilience, clarity, and connection to your true self.

C – The Transitional Garden
Carol Long, Garden Curator, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Gardens are in a constant state of transformation as the elements defining them change seasonally, yearly, and sometimes abruptly. Take a walk through three adjacent gardens—Azalea Woods, Browns Meadow, and the March Bank—to learn how these spaces were designed and are maintained in accordance with Mother Nature’s influence.

D – Curator-led Tour of Outside In: Nature-inspired Design at Winterthur
Alexandra Deutsch, Director of Collections, and Kim Collison, Curator of Exhibitions, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Beginning in childhood, Winterthur founder Henry Francis du Pont was a collector, gathering birds’ eggs, plants, and other natural objects from the gardens and woods. In later years, that same drive to “gather” and create beauty with objects was translated on a grand scale into his remarkable collections of decorative arts. Explore the exhibition Outside In: Nature-inspired Design at Winterthur with its curators and consider the many ways that H. F. du Pont looked to nature for inspiration for his interiors and brought the outside in, creating an aesthetic that has inspired designers ever since.

E – Uncovering Library Treasures

The Winterthur Library is a treasure trove of resources pertaining to garden and landscape design in Britain and North America across three centuries. From 18th-century pattern books to 19th-century plant catalogues to 20th-century autochromes of the early Winterthur garden, librarians, graduate students, and visiting scholars will share a few of their favorite selections and discuss the flourishing research they inspire and enrich.


Horticultural Therapy: Using the Garden’s Secrets to Heal

Abby Jaroslow, HTR, CH
The Alice and Herbert Therapeutic Conservatory at Moss Rehab/Einstein Healthcare

The relationship between people and plants has been evident since ancient times. In the modern world, research and clinical observation support the idea that spending time in nature has physiological, emotional, and social benefits. Learn how skilled horticultural therapists utilize this knowledge to create treatments for improved health and wellness across a wide spectrum of individual needs.


The Power of Plants and People

Sue Wyndham
Director of Programs, Delaware Center for Horticulture

The Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Branches to Chances Return to Work Program is a re-entry program focused on job readiness and horticultural skills training, life skills development, and character-building outcomes. Launched in 2009, Branches to Chances has evolved into a collaborative, partnership-based curriculum, which incorporates mindfulness practice and emotional and mental wellness support to complement the hands-on training experience and classroom curriculum. For some participants, this is an introduction to public gardens and horticulture and their first time experiencing what Delaware Center for Horticulture promotes as “the power of plants and people.”





The Magic of Children’s Gardens: Inspiring Through Creative Design

Lolly Tai
Professor of Landscape Architecture, Temple University

An examination of 19 case studies of public children’s gardens reveals primary goals, concepts, and key considerations for designing outdoor spaces that are attractive and suitable for children. Two case studies from the presenter’s recent book illustrate how key design elements are integrated in creating children’s gardens. Through beautiful graphics and photographs, the audience will gain an understanding of the design process and key considerations for designing inspiring children’s gardens.



Happy Hour and networking option: conference participants are invited to register for Harvest Tasting at a special price for symposium participants.


Harvest Tasting

4:00–-7:00 pm
Reflecting Pool

Prohibition inspired the du Ponts to create a wine cellar that could last the rest of their lives. A dozen or so closets, cellars, and storage areas were packed with wine across the 2,000-acre estate. After the death of Colonel Henry Algernon du Pont in 1926, Henry Francis du Pont inherited Winterthur, where he continued to enjoy the extensive collection of wines from his father, as well as his own, into the 1960s.

Enjoy a beautiful evening in the garden as you sip on wines from around the world, perfectly paired with an apertivo. Each wine—sparkling rosé from France, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, gewurztraminer from Germany, chenin blanc from South Africa, sangiovese from Italy, and cabernet sauvignon from America—will highlight a unique wine region, including some of H. F. du Pont’s favorites. Wander throughout the Reflecting Pool area as you enjoy live music and relax beneath the early autumn skies. $90; $85 for Winterthur and Delaware Museum of Natural History members; $75 for Garden Symposium participants; $35 per designated driver

Outdoor event. Limited transportation available.

Speaker Bios (in alphabetical order)

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Peter del Tredici has been affiliated with the Arnold Arboretum for more than 30 years. He has worked with a number of plants, most notably ginkgo biloba, conifers in the genera Tsuga and sequoia, various magnolias, and several Stewartia species (family Theaceae), integrating various aspects of the botany and ecology of a given species with the horticultural issues surrounding its propagation and cultivation. This fusion of science and practice has also formed the basis of his teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (since 1992), especially as it relates to understanding the impacts of climate change and urbanization on plants in both native and designed landscapes. His recent research has expanded to the subject of spontaneous urban vegetation, which resulted in the publication of Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide (Cornell University Press, 2010).


Abby Jaroslow, Horticultural Therapist, has an extensive background in historic preservation, architecture, and public art. She began her career working on large scale public sculptures in California and eventually moved to New York City to work in materials conservation and landscape restoration on public environmental and parks development projects at South Street Seaport, Riverside Park, and Central Park, among others. Jaroslow manages the Sachs Conservatory at Moss Rehab, where she designed the gardens and developed an extensive and integrated horticultural therapy program. She collaborates with the treatment teams, serving individuals recovering from brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, amputation, and complex neurological conditions.


Sue Wyndham is the director of programs at the Delaware Center for Horticulture, where her team works to advance their educational community outreach and greening initiatives. She previously worked as a landscape planner at the University of Delaware (UD), collaborating with a diverse campus community to enhance and develop its outdoor spaces, and serving on its professional advisory board to support its new BLA program. A registered landscape architect with training and experience in the fields of horticulture and psychology, she has worked for more than 30 years in for-profit and not-for-profit settings, advocating to preserve and improve outdoor public spaces through landscape design, community collaboration, and promoting environmental literacy and stewardship.


Marta McDowell lives, writes, and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. She shares her garden with her husband, Kirke Bent, their crested cockatiel, Sydney, and assorted wildlife. Her garden writing has appeared in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, and Country Gardening. She is a regular contributor to the British journal, Hortus. Marta’s work typically follows the relationship between the pen and the trowel, that is authors and their gardens. Her books include Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, and All the Presidents’ Gardens, which was a New York Times bestseller and won an American Horticultural Society book award.


David Rubin is Founding Principal, David Rubin Land Collective, recipient of the 2011–2012 Garden Club of America Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture from the American Academy in Rome, and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. His visionary contribution to the field in “empathy-driven design” is a hallmark of the studio, earning increasing renown for fusing issues of social justice in cities with excellence in the design of public spaces. His work has received awards and honors from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Institute of Architects. David serves as Design Critic at Harvard University School of Design and was the Nadine Carter Russell Chair in Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University for spring 2020.


Lolly Tai, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Temple University, focuses on sustainable landscape design. Tai’s experience includes a wide range of landscape architectural design projects of varying scope and scales. She incorporates innovative technologies of best management practices, green infrastructure, and forward-looking strategies into her classroom projects. Tai’s courses include design studios, research design methods, computer graphics, materials, and methods of construction and site engineering. Her research emphasis is on designing spaces that afford children the opportunity to engage in creative and active play, which is crucial to children’s mental, moral, emotional, and physical development. Author of the acclaimed books The Magic of Children’s Gardens: Inspiring Through Creative Design [Temple University Press, 2017] and Designing Outdoor Environments for Children [McGraw-Hill, 2006], she has written articles on computer technology, landscape architecture education, service learning, design build, and outdoor environments for children, which have been published in Landscape Architecture Magazine, Landscape Journal, Landscape Review, and other journals.

The 2021 Winterthur Garden Symposium was organized by Linda Eirhart, Curator, Horticulture; Lois Stoehr, Curator of Education; and Chris Strand, Brown Harrington Director of Garden & Estate.

Photo by Bob Leitch