Marianne Willburn

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Overview

Lovettsville Virginia 20180

Marianne is an award-winning garden columnist, Master Gardener and the author of Big Dreams, Small Garden (2017). Speaking to gardeners at all levels on many topics, she delivers motivational and informative presentations that energize and educate.

w: http://smalltowngardener.com

e: marianne@smalltowngardener.com

Description

Engaging your audience is the number one priority for a speaker, regardless of the topic. When it comes to gardening talks, there are often audience members present who are unsure of their skill level or are feeling discouraged by the realities of their particular landscape even when their skill level is high.  My job as a great garden speaker is not only to put them at their ease, but to provide an inspiring, educational talk that gives everyone in that room something to think about, implement or strive for – approaching difficult questions with humor, empathy and experience.

Topics

Big Dreams, Small Garden: A Guide to Creating Something Extraordinary in Your Ordinary Space

Tiny balcony, lack of privacy, HOA restrictions, tough neighborhood…if you’re struggling with a difficult outside space you are not alone.  Very few of us have ideal conditions outside, but by breaking down the process into manageable sections, shifting our perspective and cultivating a sense of contentment and peace in the process – we can create the garden that lives inside of us. Marianne will go over this process and share a few tips and real-life gardens from her new book Big Dreams, Small Garden to help you get excited about your outside space – no matter what it is.

 

Garden Maintenance for Real Life

Even though we know our gardens don’t have to be perfect, it’s hard not to feel like we’re constantly falling behind. How do we determine if we need to work smarter for better results, or if the garden is in need of some serious surgery? Marianne will ask – and answer – some tough questions to help us re-balance our lives with our outside spaces, giving maintenance tips and a bit of perspective to gardeners feeling overwhelmed.

 

Getting Excited about Shade

“Shade” is not easily boxed into neat categories of ‘full’ and ‘part’ – there are actually five different types of shade. Understanding them will allow you to plant based on what your plants need, rather than what you (and the nurseries) want them to need. There’s so much more to shade gardening than hosta and impatiens, and Marianne will guide you through some of the best plants out there. Soon you’ll be embracing your shady gardens for the lush, cooling spaces they can be. 

 

The Recycled Garden

Repurposed items can create whimsy in your garden, but they can also save money and make your garden unique.  It’s time to train your eye to see the ‘treasure’ in ‘trash’ – from cast off chairs to the remnants of a building project, and use those resources to help you create something fabulous in an increasingly cookie-cutter world.

 

Inspiring Containers

If you’re staring at that cluttered jumble of pots in the basement and wondering what you can do with them this year that won’t have you yawning before you even start, let Marianne help you create something that goes beyond the tired and traditional annual combos.  Utilize edibles and perennials, discover tropical treasures, consider adding the magical element of water, and learn what to look for when grouping plants for a successful container that thrives

 

Inspiring Containers for Shade

Container gardening is often geared toward sunny spots – but what if you’re trying to create and maintain containers in less than six hours of sun?  You need plants that not only thrive in the shade and work well together, but are suited to container life.  Marianne will discuss the basics of growing successful containers, share favorite plant choices, and teach you how to create excitement in the shadier corners of your garden, deck or patio.

 

A Taste of Foraging

Have you wanted to try the (not so) new trend of foraging but have no idea where to start and a lot of worries about the whole process? Garden writer and lifelong forager, Marianne Willburn, breaks the process down into memorable and manageable ‘food groups’ for the beginner.  She’ll discuss what to look for, what to avoid, who to read for more information, and how you can use foraged foods to create something new and exciting for the table.

 

Tropical Foliage Plants: The Answer to Hot, Humid Summer Gardens

 Forget about succulents. If you’re searching for plants that will add exciting accents to your hot, humid summer garden, last right up through the first hard freeze and make you look like a horticultural rock star, look no farther than tropicals.  Marianne will focus on some spectacular examples that are easy to grow, much easier than you think to overwinter, and are guaranteed to have your garden visitors pulling out their cameras before they’ve even left the car.

 

 

Spreading the Dirt: Mentoring Others in The Gardening Life
(A talk for garden educators)

 As the world becomes more urbanized and digitized it is increasingly crucial for those of us who garden, and garden obsessively, to reach out to others young and old, and introduce them to the incredible benefits of a gardening life.  But how can we compete with the no-sweat life of a virtual gardener? It’s time to simplify the process, truthfully manage expectations (including our own), and pair the age-old wisdom of one-on-one mentoring with digital tools that can enhance the experience for our audiences.

 





Locations

Mid-Atlantic USA

Photo Gallery

Willburn

Audience Reviews

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Excellent Garden Program at Frederick County Publi

Melissa V. from Frederick, MD - 11/21/2017 15:44:24

Our organization contacted Marianne for a garden program last summer. She presented the topic “The Recycled Garden,” which was enjoyable and informative. Marianne is adept at engaging audiences because she is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and approachable. It was wonderful working with her and having her speak at the library. I’d highly recommend her as a speaker.

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warmed

Ellis Burruss from Brunswick, MD - 11/18/2017 15:27:08

    Gardening friends prevailed upon me to hear Marianne Wilburn talk recently despite my tepid interest in the topic. Much to my surprise and pleasure, she was funny, knowledgeable and engaging – Willburn was comfortable with the audience and a pleasure to watch. I came away with a lot of ideas and plant suggestions to the point that my interest in gardening has been rekindled.

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"Big Dreams, Small Gardens"

Jill H. Johnson from Lovettsville - 11/12/2017 12:05:28

In 4 years of booking speakers for our Master Gardener monthly lecture series, I have had the pleasure of hearing many first-rate presentations, but Marianne's recent talk on her new book was the best ever. I was contacted by at least ten MGs who said it was the best talk we had ever had. Marianne is so knowledgeable and yet so warm and engaging. Her column "The Small Town Gardener" and her book showcase her considerable writing skills, and she brings the same witty turns of phrase to her public speaking. Her enthusiasm for all things horticultural is contagious and conveying that enthusiasm, I have learned, is the the mark of a top-notch speaker.