Talks

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Kathryn Aalto is an experienced speaker whose spirited lectures educate and inspire.  Her energy, humor, and storytelling have made her a go-to speaker everywhere from Ivy League universities to the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens. She speaks widely, in the USA and UK, at arboretums, libraries, art and natural history museums, writing festivals, garden clubs, and book festivals.  

Her press kit includes past speaking venues, endorsements and book reviews. You can also read audience reviews at Great Garden Speakers. If you’re interested in hosting a talk, please contact kathryn@kathrynaalto.com for possible dates, fees and more information.

If your book club, school or other organization would like to schedule Kathryn for a ‘Virtual Author Event,’ go here to learn more. If you have questions, please email gardens@kathrynaalto.com.

2016-09-12-17-21-06

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The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A. A. Milne’s classic tales Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner have delighted readers for nearly a century. The stories’ characters — Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of the gang — are famous, but how much do we know about the setting, the Hundred Acre Wood? Join Kathryn Aalto, author of the New York Times best-seller, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh, for a look at what we can learn from studying the intersection of nature and culture in Winnie-the-Pooh.

A popular national speaker, Kathryn has taken thousands of people on nostalgic and vivid journeys into one of the most iconic settings in children’s literature. Learn about Milne’s extraordinary childhood in the natural world and how he and illustrator E. H. Shepard became the Lennon and McCartney of children’s literature. Discover places that inspired the stories along with the forest’s rare flora and fauna. Part travelogue and natural history, the lively talk weaves history with humor, birdsong with booklore as we learn how these masterpieces of children’s literature were created. Leave with a new understanding of how the Winnie-the-Pooh books are field guides for 21st-century Christopher Robins — hymns to those days of doing Nothing yet learning Everything.

1-hour Powerpoint presentation with Q&A. For venues seeking a practical workshop to accompany this talk, the Designing Gardens for Children is a popular option.

Read more about The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh at The Washington PostAmazon or Kathryn’s Press Kit.

 

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Designing Gardens for Children: Gardens are gateways for instilling a sense of wonder and stewardship in children about the natural world.  Time outdoors creates memories that last a lifetime. But designing an interactive and engaging garden where children can play and learn doesn’t mean losing style and elegance; innovative family gardens can be well-designed for the whole family. This illustrated workshop looks at key elements of flow, colour, planting, refuge, seating, games, and wildlife. It also considers concepts of child development, design adaptability and creating opportunities for children to explore their senses, take risks and keep safe.  (90-minute or 3-hour workshop with PowerPoint presentation)

 

Commoner Thomas Friend_edited-2 The Flora, Fauna and People of Ashdown Forest: Join Kathryn Aalto for an exploration of the cultural, social and botanical history of Ashdown Forest, the real setting where a boy and his bear embarked on memorable Expotitions.  From kings to commoners to conservators, Ashdown Forest is man-made — a fascinating, highly-protected natural and literary landscape.  Shaped over a thousand years by people, rare plants and animals are attracted to the forest — a place that fascinated Charles Darwin, W.B.  Yeats, Ezra Pound and, of course, A. A. Milne.  Kathryn will share stories of walking in the footsteps of Darwin, Yeats and Pound with a photographs of her year writing The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk in the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood. (1 hour with Powerpoint presentation)

 

Eeyore's HouseA Walk in Winnie’s Footsteps:  This charming talk takes children into the natural world where A. A, Milne set the tender adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and his chums. Tailored for the young, an excerpt is read from a story and is interspersed with images and illustrations from Ashdown Forest. Kathryn shares her experiences writing the book including what it felt like to walk through the real Hundred Acre Wood, what real flowers and animals call this special place home, and gives kids an enthusiasm for reading the original stories. Children can come dressed up as their favourite characters if they choose. Organisers might like to include a craft project and conclude with a honey snack. (30-45 minutes, depending on age of children)

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Plant Hunters: Ripping Yarns & Cliffhanging Tales  of Plants in Your Garden. If plants in your garden  could talk, they would tell you amazing stories of their  origins. The fragrant, white trumpeted lilies you so love –  – Lilium regale — were introduced to the UK by Ernest  “Chinese” Wilson in 1910. As he was collecting them, he  was caught in a landslide and broke his leg in two place,  leaving him with a permanent limp. The flowering currant,  Ribes sanguineum, with pendent clusters of dark red,  tubular flowers in spring, were introduced by David Douglas — along with thousands of other plants including mahonia, lupins and poppies which populate our suburban gardens. He died under mysterious circumstances in a pit trap for bulls in Hawaii at the age of 35. If the plants in your garden could talk, they might be inclined to tell you how they arrived in your garden.  Kathryn will endeavour to speak for them in this illustrative lecture introducing the world’s most famous plant hunters, their adventures, and their discoveries. (1 hour with Powerpoint presentation)

 

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Designing Gardens for Historic Homes. Garden designer and historian Kathryn Aalto has travelled to gardens throughout Europe to understand historic design methods, history and outcomes. Join her for a lecture on creating a garden that suits the architectural history of your British or American home. Tailored for a British or American audience, this lecture presents home gardening fashions from the colonial period to the present for American audiences, Elizabethan and Italian Renaissance to the present for British. You will learn design essentials such as basic site analysis; proportion and scale; architectural components; historically-accurate plants flowers; and integrating it together to suit your own aesthetic and to create a beautiful and appealing garden. (1 hour with Powerpoint presentation)

 

HidcoteIconic English Gardens: A Visual and Historic Tour. Coming soon.

 

 I Tatti 1Great Italian Gardens: From Rome to the        Renaissance to Modern London. Coming soon.

 

East_Devon_Hospiscare_Perspective_2_[Col][1] (3)Designing Therapeutic & Healing Gardens. Coming soon.


Speaker, Exeter College Prize Giving Ceremony, Exeter, England 

Exeter College Awards

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Speaker and Designer, “Creating Gardens with Narratives,” Ovid’s Garden Party, Winterbourne House & Garden, University of Birmingham, England 

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Speaker, Redlands Forum monthly speaker series with Esri Auditorium and the University of Redlands 

2016-09-12-17-21-06

2016-09-12-16-15-30

2016-09-12-16-31-40

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Speaker, Inland Empire Garden Club, Spokane, Washington 

2016-03-03 19.56.41

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Speaker, Great Homes & Gardens Lecture Series, Hillwood Museum and Garden, Washington, D.C.

2016-02-10 23.31.32

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Speaker, Dent Elementary School, Escalon, California

2016-09-07-09-39-01

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Writing Tutor, Swanwick Summer Writers’ School, England

2016-08-12-09-47-19

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Book Launch, Ashdown Forest Centre, Ashdown Forest, England

2015-10-09 19.59.04

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Speaker, Mission Hills Garden Club, San Diego, California

2016-09-15-04-03-21

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Author Reading, Danville, California

2016-09-07-18-50-57