'A Garden Affair’

Botanic and gardening experts
to highlight new event

Lanier Mansion Foundation
sponsors gardening program

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(March 2010) – Larry DeBuhr has a wealth of knowledge to share about botanical gardens. To him, they are living, breathing displays used to educate the public about plants and their enivronment.
DeBuhr, 61, has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in botany. He worked for 19 years at two of the world’s great botanic gardens, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Missouri Botanical Garden.



Originally from Northwest Iowa, DeBuhr was a student at Iowa State University. He attended graduate school at Claremont Graduate School and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, Calif. He has lived in various locations, giving him insight into some of the nation’s finest botanical gardens.
DeBuhr lived in Kansas City for 10 years, St. Louis for 11 years and Chicago for eight years. Before moving to Indiana, he held the position of Director of Education at the Missouri Botanical Garden for 11 years, and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Chicago Botanic Garden for eight years.
He is now the new Executive Director of the Rivers Institute at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind. In the past, DeBuhr has lectured and written about botanic gardens and related educational programs, and “recently wrote a chapter on adult continuing and professional education for a book on botanic garden management” to be published later this year, he said.
DeBuhr will be one of two featured speakers on March 20 for the upcoming event, A Garden Affair. This event is sponsored by the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site Foundation, and will be held at the Old Masonic Home at 217 E. Main St. in Madison.
Doors will open at 10 a.m., with the event actually beginning at 10:30 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. Lunch is included in the $25 registration fee, which must be made by March 15.
“We hope to have garden related vendors, nursery people and gardening supplies,” said Gerry Reilly, Site Manager of Lanier Mansion. Proceeds will help cover the expense of the program, with anything extra going to the Lanier Mansion Foundation to help run similar public programs.
“We had a garden related program last year with one speaker on herbs, that was very popular,” said Reilly. The program was “1840s Herbs and Kitchen Garden Essentials” by Betty Manning. Due to its appeal, “We thought we would expand the program for this year,” he said.
DeBuhr will give a presentation at 11 a.m. on “Great Botanic Gardens of America.”
“I will describe what botanic gardens are, what makes some gardens great, and describe some of the great botanic gardens in America,” said DeBuhr.
The presentation will also include slides and participants can expect to learn “what botanic gardens are,” said DeBuhr. “They are museums that collect living plants, display them like any other museum displays their collections, educates the public broadly and conducts research.”



After lunch, gardening expert Bob Hill will speak around 1:15 p.m. on “Whit, Wonder and Whimsy in Your Garden.” He will present a power point presentation on creating a year-round garden. Hill and his wife, Janet, own Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden in Utica, Ind.
Hill describes Hidden Hill Nursery as “the most unusual garden-nursery in Southern Indiana, an eight-acre mix of flowers, trees, shrubs, garden art, an outdoor electric train, garden art, ponds, fountains, whimsy, quiet places and unusual plants for sale.” The nursery is open Friday through Sunday from April to mid-October.
In its 10th year, the nursery also offers bluegrass music, garden lectures and kite flying. “Nobody else offers the mix of plants for sale with an arboretum that shows many of the same plants fully grown,” said Hill, 67.
Hill refers to himself as a “late-bloomer” in the garden world, his interest beginning in his late 40s. “All my education is by trial and error (killing innocent plants) and by later visiting great gardens all across the U.S. and in England, Ireland, France, Belgium, New Zealand, Peru, Canada and Hawaii.”
Retired as a former columnist at the Louisville Courier-Journal, Hill gives half a dozen lectures a year and would like to give more. He has a one-hour gardening show, “HomeGrown,” on WFPL.ORG 89.3 in Louisville on Sundays at noon with co-host Jeneen Wiche.

• For more information on Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden, visit: www.HiddenHillNursery.com. To pre-register for A Garden Affair, contact Gerry Reilly at (812) 273-0556.

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