YOU’RE INVITED TO LADEW'S Spring Lecture Series 2024
Inspiring lectures offered in-person & virtually


Ladews Spring Lecture Series features distinguished speakers offering insights and inspiration to garden lovers and gardeners of all ages and abilities. The presenters will take you on a journey through their explorations of garden design concepts, plant selections, growing techniques, natural history, decorative and fine arts, history, and environmental sciences, while offering rare glimpses into some of the worlds most beautiful private gardens. 

Cost per lecture:
In-person: $30 Ladew member | $40 non-member (includes pastries, coffee and tea from the Ladew Café)
Virtual: $15 Ladew member | $20 non-member

Series Discount:
Sign up for all five Spring lectures and enjoy one free!
In-person: $120 Ladew member | $160 non-member (includes pastries, coffee and tea from the Ladew Café)

   In Person Series / Closed   

Virtual: $60 Ladew member | $80 non-member

   Virtual Series    

Lectures will be presented in-person and virtually through Zoom. They will be recorded and available for all paid registrants to view later.

For questions: contact Caroline Graf 410-557-9570 x261



Thursday, March 14 10:30 am | in-person and virtual (refreshments begin at 10 am for in-person attendees)
Three Centuries of Birds: 1500s to the 1800s
with Janet Millenson, Bird Enthusiast
        In-Person                    Virtual    


Take a glimpse into history as we learn how today’s bird books evolved from their forerunners in the early days of printing and ornithology. We’ll see some remarkably beautiful artwork as well as some bizarre depictions and descriptions. For instance, what was the alleged medicinal use of powdered hummingbirds? How did Carolina Parakeets taste? Join us to find out! Janet Millenson is an enthusiastic birdwatcher and previously served as president of the Maryland Ornithological Society. Millenson’s collection of antiquarian bird books dates back to the 1500s.


Thursday, March 21 10:30 am | in-person and virtual (refreshments begin at 10 am for in-person attendees)
FunGal Eyes–How Foraging for Mushrooms has Changed my Vision
with Sarah Oktavec, Owner of Back to Eden Home Gardening LLC


Mushrooms are a ubiquitous entity throughout environments that contribute to the overall success of an ecosystem. These fungi are not only one of the most diverse sources of beauty, but they serve many beneficial purposes beyond that. Join us as self-taught forager, Sarah Oktavec shows us the ways fungi can improve your life. Sarah Oktavec is the former Lead Horticulturist of Ladew Topiary Gardens. After growing her love of horticulture, she started her own gardening business, Back to Eden in 2021. Sarah has expanded her business and now offers FunGal Foraging Tours.

Thursday, March 28 10:30 am | in-person and virtual (refreshments begin at 10 am for in-person attendees)
Planting For Pollinators
with Heather Andrews, Garden Writer and Consultant

Join pollinator steward Heather Andrews to learn how to attract the "jewels of the garden" in your yard to increase yield and decrease pests for a sustainable garden. Heather will cover how to incorporate native plants to maximize butterfly activity in your garden, and why being a “lazy gardener” will help overwintering butterflies, bugs, moths, and birds. Heather is a published author and photographer who has been featured in magazines, PA state publications, and on Medium. You can find Heather teaching others through her video blog, Garden Thoughtfully, on YouTube.

Thursday, April 4 10:30 am | in-person and virtual (refreshments begin at 10 am for in-person attendees)
The Secret Life of Spring Wildflowers
with Ellen Lake, Director of Conservation and Research at Mt. Cuba Center



Skunk cabbage, bloodroot, and trout lilies are among the first signs of spring and warmer weather ahead. Spring ephemerals and some other wildflowers must complete part of their life cycles before the tree canopy leafs out, reducing light levels at the forest floor. These plants face many challenges, including unpredictable weather and pollinator availability. Spring wildflowers have special adaptations to overcome these challenges, and intricate relationships with pollinators and seed dispersers. Learn more about these wildflowers, their life histories, and plant-insect interactions.


Ellen Lake, PhD, is the Director of Conservation and Research at Mt. Cuba Center. Ellen has a master’s degree in Entomology and Ph.D. in Entomology and Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware.

Thursday, April 11 10:30 am | in-person and virtual (refreshments begin at 10 am for in-person attendees)
Bunny Mellon Creates her Stairway to Paradise
with Mac Griswold, Landscape Historian
        In-Person / Closed                    Virtual    


Bunny Mellon, whose life was marked by astonishing good fortune as well as tragedy and scandal, remains a singular figure in the annals of American design. In her illustrated talk Mac Griswold introduces you to Bunny's most celebrated work, the White House Rose Garden, designed during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, which demonstrated how formal restraint and the sparing use of color could be deployed to maximal effect. In her book, I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise, Mac Griswold, who knew Bunny Mellon personally, delves into her subject’s closely-guarded personal archives to construct an unrivaled portrait of a woman as complex and multifaceted as the ravishing gardens and houses on which she left her mark. Mac Griswold, a journalist and acclaimed cultural landscape historian, has been writing about gardens since 1987, producing books and articles that explore the secrets that landscapes and gardens enfold. “Gardens never lie,” she says, “They always tell you something about their makers and their times.”



Muffin & Sam Dell