C.L. Fornari

» Garden Design (74)
» Organic, Sustainable (70)
» Ornamentals (54)
» Program Packages (14)
» Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs (59)


P.O. Box 355 02655

C.L. Fornari speaks to people with all levels of gardening experience, from beginning to avid gardeners, professional landscapers or garden center employees, and even those who say that they have black thumbs.

w: GardenLady.com

w: WholeLifeGardening.com

e: clfornari@yahoo.com

Additional Information

Click here to see another photo of C.L. Fornari answering audience questions.


Not Just Talking About Slides... 

I believe that a good talk should be dynamic, humorous, inspirational and informational. Even a presentation about gardening should be more than a description of the plants shown on the screen. I also know that my audiences are composed of all levels of gardening experience, including some who don't garden at all. My talks have something for everyone.

The following are a few recommendations I've received from people who've heard me speak


"Across the board, Master Gardeners loved our keynote speaker, C.L. Fornari.  Comments included: “Keynote speaker was awesome!”  “Fornari ­ excellent”.  “Fornari ­ Great!”.  I was especially impressed by C.L.’s interest in learning about our local soil, weeds and pest conditions in advance of her visit to Oklahoma .  We would highly recommend C.L. for speaking engagements.  Her insight as a master gardener and her likeable nature made for a great fit at our conference."

Merry Steinley, 
Master Gardeners Association of Rogers County, Oklahoma

"I wanted to let you know how much I truly enjoyed your two lectures at Landscape Ontario.  You were absolutely fantastic - engaging, informative, practical and with such a delightful sense of humour and slides/examples that really highlighted your points.  I also have to say that it was a delight to listen to someone with so much passion about our industry…"

Brian Beattie, Professional Landscaper

"C.L. Fornari presented her program, "Your Garden Shouldn't Make You Crazy" at one of our monthly meetings. Her presentation skills, quick wit and knowledge of the world of horticulture mesmerized us all. She far exceeded the rest of the speakers we had that year. For any organization that wants a well-satisfied audience, Lexington Field and Garden Club would highly recommend C.L. Fornari."

C. Nijenberg, Lexington Garden Club, Lexington, MA

“C.L. is not only knowledgeable, but very down to earth. Her presentations are a joy! She presents facts along with a dose of humor that makes them appealing to gardeners of all ages. Your group is in store for a wonderful seminar when she presents in her own inimitable fashion.”

Stephanie Cohen, Lecturer, Garden Writer, author "The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer"

“I guess you know that your talk yesterday for the Nauset Garden Club meeting was a HUGE success! We all loved it because: 1) Your delivery is flawless, 2) you are so knowledgeable, and 3) you have a great sense of humor! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us and for giving us so much useful information.”

Dinny Goodwin, Orleans, MA 

C.L Fornari is the best garden club speaker that I have heard - and there have been many! Her talk delighted everyone in our club and many shared my view of it as being the best.  CL is a gifted speaker who makes you laugh, ponder gardening on a spiritual level and fills the mind with really useful gardening information. The hour flew by! We will definitely have her back next year.

Sheila Steele, Amherst, NH

“I like to think of C.L. as my female alter-ego, except that she is smarter, funnier, and way better looking. I have been a professional gardener on Cape Cod for 20 years, and I still learn something new every time I open one of C.L.’s books. Her advice is always spot-on because she truly ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to gardening.”

Will Clarke, Perennial Solutions – Falmouth, MA


Garden Lectures suitable for Garden Clubs, Horticultural Societies, Flower Shows and Neighborhood Associations 

Myths, Lies, and All the Latest Dirt

Yes, sometimes the information that’s passed from gardener to gardener is rock solid wisdom, but occasionally some commonly held beliefs about plants and gardens are misleading or out and out false, or new research contradicts traditional gardening practices.  This down-and-dirty talk helps gardeners sort through the folklore and hype surrounding plants, practices and products.

The Top Twenty-five  

This talk is part practical gardening, part garden philosophy, and part plants – the top 25 plants that I love (adjusted for the zone where I'm speaking) and the 25 most interesting/amusing/useful bits of gardening information I have learned in over 25 years of gardening. 

Your Garden Shouldn’t Make You Crazy

From planting to pruning; from dirt to design, this talk is an informative and entertaining potpourri of garden advice, suitable for gardeners of all levels of experience.

The Wow! Factor - Moving From Inspiration to Installation

We are inspired when we visit beautiful gardens or see photos of lovely landscapes, but how can we go beyond our feelings of envy and admiration, and apply what we see in our own landscapes? This talk is about analyzing why we are inspired, and how to use that information in your own garden.

Perennial Bed Maintenance

The need-to-do, the nice-to-do, and the maybe-not-necessary-to-do: everything you need to know about keeping your perennial garden beautiful.

Pruning Demystified! 

Be a barber, not a butcher…from holly to hydrangeas, learn the proper way to prune your shrubs and trees.

In The Garden: FYI

What is happening in the garden this month: talk of plants, products and good landscaping practices, illustrated with give-away items that your group members takes home.

Cultivating Kids

Encouraging children to become involved in the garden: what adults can do to create future gardeners. Children’s gardens, fun projects, engaging plants and other simple ways we can get kids growing.

If Plants Could Talk

What would your landscape be telling you? Garden practices from a plant’s point of view. 

Saving Summer

Those flowering annuals, tropical plants and tender perennials look so good at the end of the summer, that you want to know how to keep them over the winter. This talk explains how to keep the tropical, the tender, the tricky and the tried and true.

Talks For Landscapers, Garden Retailers, Green Industry Trade Shows/Conferences and Horticultural Professionals.

Guidance to Go: Consultation Services as Profit Centers

  Does your garden center or landscaping business make house calls?  This talk explains how on-site consultation services can build customer loyalty, boost sales, and position your business as the local go-to source for all landscaping needs.  


Making It Personal  Going Beyond Social Media to Connect With Your Customers

How do independent garden centers distinguish themselves from box stores? By cultivating personal connections. This talk explores some of the ways your business can create and nurture those links...and I promise that this talk is not about using facebook! 

Instant Coffee, Color Sells, and Polka-Dot Plantings Garden Design Bloopers

 This talk looks at design mistakes that are commonly made by landscapers and home-gardeners alike. I explain the reasons why some garden designs look better than others, and how to provide plantings that please your customers on the day the job is finished, and for years afterwards. 


Sell The Excitement! Communications Skills For the Green Industry

Whether you are the owner of a horticultural business, a volunteer Master Gardener, or an employee of a garden center, you need to be a good communicator. This presentation will teach you the various means of effectively connecting with the public. Writing effective newsletters and handouts, being a dynamic speaker, and using the local media are a few of the topics that will help you to assist the public and position yourself as the local gardening authority. Learn how your communications work to create enthusiastic, loyal customers.

Gardening With A Purpose  A needed reminder of what you already know

One of the buzz-phrases of 21st century gardening is “Gardening with a purpose” and I have to admit that when I first heard this phrase, I thought, Well duh! We all have reasons for being in this business and our customers have their reasons for coming to us for plants, products and advise. But sometimes it’s easy to lose track of this purpose, or to forget how important our business truly is. This presentation is appropriate for garden center employees, professional landscapers, master gardeners and home garden geeks: we are all involved in one of the most life-affirming activities there is.

Garden Center Essentials: The top five things every garden center employee needs to know.

How management can cultivate a knowledgeable staff. This presentation focuses on employee training and recognition: how to grow them and keep them. 

Perennial Plant Maintenance Educating Customers And Employees

If we want our customers and clients to keep coming back for more plants or continued maintenance, they need to remain happy about their gardens long after the plants have been placed in the ground. Garden center customers and landscape crews need to know the strategies for keeping their perennials looking good all season. And green-industry professionals need to know how to convey this information to their customers.

This talk is about demystifying and simplifying perennial plant maintenance for your clients, customers and crew. Covering basic maintenance, simple strategies, commonsense reminders, and educational aides.

Talks for Bridal Fairs and Event Planners

A Garden Wedding Preparing your landscape for a special event

All about getting your landscape ready for a wedding, rehearsal dinner or large party. From advance planning to last-minute repairs and after-the-ball cleanup, learn how to create an enchanting environment for your big day.


Home Grown Wedding Flowers 

All about growing your own ingredients for bouquets and arrangements, or using garden flowers to supplement store bought blooms. Hear about which flowers to grow, how to handle the harvesst and the pleasures and pit-falls of using your landscape to supply party or wedding decor.  


Talks Suitable for Women's Groups & General Audiences Including Meetings and Conventions

Roots, Flowers & Wings - Still Growing After 55 

You’ve seen a lot of life in your time. After nurturing careers, participating in volunteer activities, raising a family, helping elderly parents, contributing to your community and dealing with assorted physical problems, you can truthfully say, “Been there, done that.” But are you still growing?

Whether you’re retired or still working, moving full steam ahead or slowing down, your roots are, for better or worse, firmly in place…now it’s time to think about flowers and wings. This talk is for women age 55 and older, and explores how we can cultivate growth for the rest of our lives. 


The Eight rules for Successful Gardening... no matter what is being grown.

 A humorous and upbeat talk suitable for general audiences, alumni groups, corporate meetings and conventions. Whether the members of your organization are nurturing a business, working toward personal goals or growing a garden, this talk will entertain, inform and inspire.

A Well-Landscaped Life  

Lessons on living from your own backyard

Whether your thumbs are green or black, when it comes to evaluating our lives we don't need to look any further than our own yards and gardens. Our landscapes provide an excellent model for focusing on what is valuable and how to better cultivate a meaningful, pleasureable life. This talk is particularly good for women's groups and spiritual/lifestyle conferences.


The Low-Maintenance Garden, The Easy Life, and The Quiet Mind.

Is it possible to create a garden that requires no work, a life without effort, and a perpetual feeling of calm? Are these attainable or even desirable?  

For more information about any of these presentations, or to discuss a customized talk for your group, please contact me by email or phone.



Northeast USA

Photo Gallery


Audience Reviews

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On

How to be a better garden communicator

Kathleen G Connolly from Old Saybrook, CT - 02/12/2015 00:37:42

I attended CL's 3-hour seminar on speaking skills for garden communicators. It was well worth the time, reminding me of techniques I had forgotten and delivering new ideas as well. CL's delivery is funny, well paced and, overall, a good example--and a tough act--to follow.

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On

Worth the trip to snowbound Boston

Therese Ciesinski from Macungie, PA - 02/09/2015 21:48:51

I came from Pennsylvania to hear C.L. speak at the Garden Writers Association regional meeting, and I'm glad I did. She shared many practical tips that I can immediately apply to my work. Even better, I left brimming with new ideas, inspired and recommitted to my writing and my career.

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On

Great Workshop!

Kim Eierman from Bronxville, NY - 02/09/2015 15:44:26

I had the pleasure of attending C.L.'s workshop at New England Grows. As always, she delivered a great presentation, filled with good tips and good humor. Always a pleasure to hear her speak!