aboutGeneI have been giving talks on shade gardening for well over 20 years to gardeners and their related organizations. Using personal experience gained from my mid-western garden, and my own photographs taken of plants I have grown, I feel that I “speak shade gardening”. While my talks are related to a niche of gardening in general, it is a much-needed niche that is often neglected. Gardening in shade is what I do; the only thing I do. It has worked well for my presentations have been well received at Olbrich Botanical Garden in WI, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Morton Arboretum in IL, and Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Niles, MI. I have been very popular with Master Gardeners, including their annual state conferences over the years as well as organizations such as Perennial Plant Association, Kentucky Landscape Industries winter conference, Indiana Nursery & Landscape Assoc. and many others.



Garden Design by Sarah N. Dippity

A light-hearted but informative look at garden design for the rest of us.


 Trilliums in a Midwest Garden

Slides and content of this presentation began originally as an article for Fine Gardening Magazine, which appeared in the September 2006 Issue. Both text and photos taken in my garden proved to be very popular, so I am following up with more in-depth information on how to grow these jewels of the forest floor and to select companions which make good neighbors.
Trilliums are divided into sections according to regional origins so the gardener can begin with what grows in the woods next door. Once successful with the local region, the gardener and collector can reach out to regions other than their own. Companion plants are discussed and illustrated in the final section, along with adapting trillium to a garden habitat.

If this presentation receives the attention my article received in Fine Gardening, it is going to be booked heavily in the coming years.


Color Combinations for the Shade Garden

The original concept for this presentation also began as an article for Fine Gardening Magazine. The article and many of the slides appeared in the March/April issue of 2005 under the title “Combinations Made in the Shade”. The slide presentation greatly expands upon the concept of great garden companions and their behavior over the full gardening season. Subtle, and not so subtle, combinations bring out the best in each other and prove that there is no shortage of color for shade gardens.

This title has consistently been very popular over the years since it was first presented. It is in the process of being updated for the coming year with fresh as well as additional slides.


Hellebores & Garden Companions

Hellebores are among the most valuable of perennials for the shade garden. They can provide reliably evergreen foliage; and bloom in late winter and very early spring, providing color for up to 3 months. Very few perennials can lay claim to all those features, and at a time when few other plants have awakened. While easy to grow in the open garden and “hardy as a rock”, myths and misunderstandings abound when it comes to hellebores.

This presentation seeks to dispel some of the myths and disappointments of selecting hellebores for gardens and addresses growing them with complimentary companions that bloom during the same period.


Gardening by Design & by Accident

There is certainly no shortage of books and magazines on garden design showing the ‘right’ or ‘proper’ path to travel in your garden. While some gardeners design in advance of shopping for perennials, most of us purchase on impulse, bring the plant home and then try to work it in among all our other impulses. Perhaps there is something to be said for reality gardening.

Those ‘happy accidents’ that can and do occur, in spite of our original design, are a lesson to all gardeners from perhaps a larger, more powerful, designer. There is something to be said for the laid back gardener who knows how to allow things to happen. But, of course, one must begin with special plants if one is to have a special garden with good design. Recently Revised.


10 Months of Blooms in the Shade Garden

This extended period of bloom is neither an impossible, nor difficult, goal for the mid-western gardener. There is no shortage of plants for creating color in the garden almost year-round. Despite this there does seem to be a lack of awareness of the perennials that can be enjoyed over an extended period in a shade garden.

Using a mix of native and non-native perennials for the shade or woodland garden, your garden can begin in early March, then watch the final blooms fade in early to mid-December depending upon your local climate.

The presentation is arranged month-by-month with several slides depicting each period I particularly enjoy in my zone 6/5 garden.

10 Months of Bloom is my most requested presentation.
Recently Revised.


Color in the Shade Garden: 9 Months of Natives in Bloom

No need for native plant enthusiasts to feel overlooked and neglected. My “Nine months of Natives in Bloom” presentation presents plenty of bloom and color in the shade garden from March through November. If someone did not point out the fact they were native to our eastern U.S., one would simply see another well-planned perennial shade garden.

Our native perennial woodland plants are, in some aspects, easier to grow than other plants from around the world. What grows here locally has been working at survival since long before gardeners came along to notice their existence. There is a saying about a prophet in his home town being ignored and having to go to another village to be appreciated. What grows all about us is often the loveliest, the easiest to find gardening success with; but is also often ignored in favor of finicky foreign plants. Hopefully this presentation will change how you see our native woodland perennials.
Recently revised


Chasing the Rare & Unusual in Shade Gardens

Collecting is much like dating.
You become aware; something in your peripheral vision, a mention in a casual conversation, or perhaps a photo. Best yet an actual sighting. One good look and you are hooked. The hormones kick in and the chase is on. You pester your friends for an introduction.

Finally you meet and a new relationship begins to form.

Gene tells all about the loves of his life as a collector of the rare and unusual in his Southern Indiana Shade Garden.

Fees and Arrangements for Talks

PowerPoint presentations and lectures within 50 miles of Depauw, Indiana are $650.00. Distances of 50 miles and over are base fee plus expenses. Expenses include reservations at a motel for overnight accommodations, and mileage. Mileage is set at the current federal travel allowance. It is preferred that you make motel reservations at or close to the speaking venue, and that you handle payment. Expense can be estimated in advance if you prefer to write one check. Google Maps is used for estimated mileage expenses. A check will be required at the end of my presentation.

My preference is to stay within an 8 to 10 hour driving range of Depauw, Indiana, but we do make occasional trips further afield. Trips needing travel by flight require you making full arrangements including travel from destination airport to speaking venue or motel.

If you did not see a title to fit your needs, a presentation can be specifically designed to match the needs of your group at a slight additional fee.

The number of presentations scheduled each year is limited. Please call or email for a booking well in advance so you and your group will not be disappointed.

When booking as a keynote speaker, the first presentation is set at normal rate of $650.00. The second presentation picked from the list of available talks will be at a reduced rate. Please inquire for details.

Let’s talk about my making an appearance at your next Garden / Horticulture event. Look over the PowerPoint Presentations, my One Sheet with testimonials, and past Appearances. You will want to book me now for your upcoming event/symposium. By making arrangements well in advance, you will be more readily assured of getting me for the date and time you need.

I enjoy creating a rapport with gardeners, speaking and answering questions, conversing with members of the audience after my talk.
I look forward to working with you to make your next event a memorable one.
Please fill out the short form below and we can begin a conversation for my next appearance at your event.

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