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Andrea Wulf

Bill Thomas

Heronswood and the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society are pleased to present our 4th annual joint symposium. This event is a fundraiser for the two organizations, and will take place in-person at the Bellevue Botanical Garden and also online.

The View from the Garden: Nature and Biodiversity

Hosted by Dan Hinkley & Nita-Jo Rountree

Saturday, October 14  |  9am – 3pm
at the Bellevue Botanical Garden and online


The symposium brings together four superlative voices from different disciplines. They offer a common message of understanding the breadth of majesty in the world’s natural flora and fauna, but each presents a different approach to ensure its survival. Join the discussion on ways we can help a planet in need. Our lineup of stellar speakers will feature:


Andrea Wulf, award-winning author whose presentation, “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humbolt’s New World” will be livestreamed from England. A great scientist and intrepid explorer, Alexander von Humbolt’s writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin and Goethe, as well as politicians such as Jefferson and Bolivar. Andrea’s beautifully illustrated talk describes Humbolt’s passionate quest for knowledge and his conclusion that nature is a living organism that could easily be destroyed by humankind. In fact, in 1800 he predicted harmful human-induced climate change!

Bill Thomas, executive director and head gardener at Chanticleer, who will present “The Art of Gardening at Chanticleer,” a behind the scenes look at what the Washington Post calls “one of the most interesting and edgy public gardens in America.” Chanticleer is known for residential-scale plant combinations featuring foliage textures and colors, in addition to a wide variety of containers that are visually exciting, educational, and fun, all while using ecological principles. Bill will offer insights on what inspires this special place, including early results from its multi-year biodiversity study.

Dr. Ross Bayton, London-born botanist and director of the world-renowned Heronswood Garden, whose presentation is titled, “Welcome to the Plant Zoo: Botanical Gardens as Conservation Centers.” As the world’s biodiversity stands on a precipice, Dr. Bayton will illustrate how plant collections at botanical gardens have become increasingly important. They strive to protect not only our botanical biodiversity, but also the cultural connections that bind people, plants, and place.

Dr. Ari Novy, president and CEO of the San Diego Botanic Garden, who will present, “The Earth is a Garden: We’re All in This Together.” Dr. Novy is an award-winning, nationally recognized plant biologist and researcher with a wide range of expertise in plant science and education. Plants make up eighty percent of all life on Earth by mass. How we manage our plants locally and globally will determine the future health of our planet and humanity. Dr. Novy will take us on a journey through the past, present, and future to explore how gardening our planet can help us realize a green and hopeful future.

The symposium will be held in-person in the Aaron Education Center at the Bellevue Botanical Garden and online. Andrea Wolf’s lecture will be webinar only. All presentations will be recorded and available to all attendees for two weeks following the live event.

Book signings will follow the lectures. Windcliff plants will be for sale. In-person attendees will receive a box lunch.

BBGS & Heronswood Members $95/Non-members $115 (register by Oct. 1)

BBGS & Heronswood Members $105/Non-members $125 (after Oct. 1)

Dr. Ross Bayton

Dr. Ari Novy

Saturday, October 14, 2023
9AM – 3PM
Aaron Education Center at the Bellevue Botanical Garden and Online


BBGS & Heronswood Members $95/Non-members $115

BBGS & Heronswood Members $105/Non-members $125