Garden Symposium

The inaugural Garden Symposium will bring together garden enthusiasts from near and far to hear from some of the most influential and innovative voices in the global gardening community. 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Andalusia Historic House, Gardens & Arboretum (1332-1202 State Road, Bensalem, PA 19020) & Pen Ryn Mansion (1601 State Road, Bensalem, PA 19020)

Garden

A coffee reception and welcome will be followed by lectures by four world-renowned horticulturalists. After the speakers and lunch attendees will adjourn to Andalusia to enjoy an afternoon tea and book signings with the speakers and an opportunity to explore the magnificent gardens and grounds.

Participants are encouraged to extend their visit to attend The Andalusia Foundation’s magnificent Garden Party on Saturday evening, May 6; tour the many gardens that make Greater Philadelphia “America’s Garden Capital,” and explore the beauty of Bucks County.

Click here for further information on the other 37 member gardens and arboreta that make up America’s Garden Capital and celebrate Spring in the Delaware Valley.

The Symposium is presented by The Letitia Glenn Biddle Society. All proceeds will go towards funding summer internships in horticulture for young professionals working in the field.  

Thanks to Our 2023 Sponsors

Wendy and Wade McDevitt

June and Hank Smith

Thanks also to our 2023 Patrons:

June and Hank Smith | P. Ridgely Horsey Biddle | Kristin and Jamie Biddle

This Year’s Speakers

Fergus Garrett

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Fergus Garrett

Fergus has held the position of Head Gardener for the internationally acclaimed Great Dixter Garden in Northiam, East Sussex, UK since 1993: It was from the charismatic gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006) and his unique gardening skills that Fergus learnt to keep the gardens of Great Dixter constantly changing throughout the seasons and to be adventurous in trying out new plants and plant- combinations.

He is a hands-on gardener and plantsman who has a keen interest in working practices. He is interested in ecology and how an ornamental garden and biodiversity interact. He is also keen on woodland management and green wood working, and has spearheaded several projects including the greening up of urban and suburban communities, biodiversity related projects in towns and villages, and training students from all over the world in the Dixter style of flower gardening. Fergus has written many magazine articles and lectures widely both nationally and internationally.

In 2008 Fergus was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Associate of Honour. In 2012 he received the International Contributor Award from the Perennial Plant Association,In 2013 Fergus received the Longhouse Landscape Award and in the same year, the Garden Media Guild Golden Nisse Award. In 2015 Fergus was awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal for outstanding contribution to the practice of horticulture. On 8th April 2019 Fergus received the highest accolade the Royal Horticultural Society can give: The Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH).

Annie Novak

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Annie Novak

Annie Novak is founder and director of Growing Chefs: Food Education from Field to Fork, the Manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden; co-founder and farmer of the nation’s first green roof vegetable farm, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; and author of The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm. She has served on the board of the American Bird Conservancy since 2018. Her words and work are widely featured in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, NPR, and the September issue of Vogue, among other publications. To learn more, please visit annienovak.com

Frances Palmer

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Frances Palmer

Frances Palmer is a potter and gardener, working for over 34 years from her home and studio in Her handmade, functional ceramics have been exhibited and sold internationally, including at Fotografiska, March, Moda Operandi, Neue Galerie, the Philip Johnson Glass House, Object & Thing, and Wave Hill. Her work is represented in leading private craft and contemporary art collections around the world. She is often featured in publications including British House & Garden, Elle Decor, House & Garden, T: The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and The World of Interiors.

Frances is also a self-taught photographer, documenting her own floral arrangements in the vessels she makes. A book on her work, Life in the Studio: Inspiration and Lessons on Creativity, was published by Artisan Books in 2020. It comprises essays describing her ceramic and garden processes as well as her philosophical ideas about making a creative life.

Xa Tollemache

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Xa Tollemache

Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medalist and author of A Garden Well Placed, Xa began her career working in the gardens of her home, Helmingham Hall, as a young wife and mother. She spent twenty years learning and consequently developing and improving the gardens there. She trained as a garden designer and embarked on a professional career designing gardens in The UK, Europe, and The United States. Her designs aim to “absorb all the qualities of classical design in a contemporary fashion with great emphasis on plants…creating gardens that are in sympathy with their surroundings.” Her design projects have included the Cloister Garden at Wilton House in Wiltshire, the Global Growth Vegetable Garden at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex, and the Millenium Garden at Castle Hill in Devon. She has also recently designed a range of garden furniture, The Helmingham Collection.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 4, 2023

  • 8:00 – 8:45 am: Registration
  • 8:45 am – 2:45 pm: Program with Lunch at Pen Ryn
  • 3:00 – 5:00 pm: Afternoon tea at Andalusia Historic House, Gardens & Arboretum, located next door to Pen Ryn, with book signings by the speakers, and an opportunity to stroll the extensive gardens.

The 2023 Symposium is Presented to You by 

The Letitia Glenn Biddle Society.

Kristin Biddle
Amanda Burch
Alison Carabasi
Jenny Rose Carey
Amy Coes
Jane Corrigan

Kim Garno
John Giacomazzi
Pia Halloran
Diana Mason
Wendy Mahoney
Wendy McDevitt

Elizabeth Proctor
Jeannette Smith
June Marshall Smith
Mary Smith
Kathy Spagnola
Eileen Stoveld

Libby Sullivan Trammell
Rebecca Williams
Anne Wilmerding
Judy Xie
Liz Zelov

STEP INSIDE THE

Historic House

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Enter the Grandeur Of

The Gardens

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See the Beauty of The

Arboretum

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