Southern Appalachian Plant Society

Native Plants in Context:  Ecology, diversity, and interconnection 

William Cullina  

Thursday, November 11, at 7 pm 

This is a Zoom presentation. Registration deadline is noon November 11. Click here for registration information. 

No plant is an island: each exists in a context and community of trees and  toads, rocks and rotifers, birds and bugs. Like human communities, this  network of individual needs is supported by complex communication and  mutualisms that we hardly understand. In this lecture Bill Cullina uses the  analogy of human communities to explain the importance of relationships  in the natural world and answers the age old lament “why is gardening  such @#*&@^ hard work” while presenting a more sustainable (not to  mention back-friendly) way to garden and live on this small planet. As a special bonus program for SAPS members only, Bill will present “The Botany of Design” from 4-5 pm on Zoom. Using his latest  book, Understanding Perennials, as a starting point, Bill Cullina tackles  the thorny subject of garden design in a completely different way. In this  fun and information filled talk he explores such things as the reasons for  big leaves, variegation, red foliage and flowers and ways to create more  satisfying designs without breaking the budget. He looks at life beyond  the color wheel, the importance of healthy soil and reveals some of his  best horticultural secrets while weaving together aesthetics, psychology,  botany, and ecology into a fascinating one hour ride. It is a talk that beginning gardeners as well as seasoned pros will both learn from and enjoy. William (Bill) G. Cullina became the the F. Otto Haas Executive Director  of the Morris Arboretum in July 2019, after serving as President and CEO  of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens from 2011. During his tenure at  Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Bill led the development of a comprehensive 20-year master plan and launched a $50 million capital campaign  to develop the first phase of the Master Plan. He completed a new $4.2  million net-zero energy LEED platinum Education Center and grew annual  attendance by 250% (206,000 visitors in 2018) and membership by 50%  (6,300 member households). Prior to that, Bill Cullina was the Director of  Plant Research and Development at the New England Wildflower Society  in Massachusetts. 

Cullina is a recognized authority on North American native plants, lectures  on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups, and writes for  popular and technical journals. His books include Growing and Propagating Wildflowers; Native Trees, Shrubs, Vines; Understanding Orchids; Native Ferns, Mosses, and Grasses; and Understanding Perennials: A New  Look at an Old Favorite. He is the recipient of numerous awards including  the American Horticultural Society’s Professional Award (for outstanding  public garden leadership), the National Garden Clubs’ Award of Excellence, the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit (lifetime achievement, horticulture) and the Scott Arboretum’s Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal  (lifetime achievement, horticulture).