Talks

Kathryn is an experienced public speaker whose spirited lectures on narrative nonfiction, gardens and natural history educate and inspire.  She speaks widely, both in the USA and UK, at arboretums, libraries, art and natural history museums, writing festivals, garden clubs, book festivals, and universities.  

Her press kit has 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.

FINAL COVER Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh COVER 3D (3)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 story’s 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 for a look at what we can learn from studying the intersection of nature and culture in these classic children’s tales. A nationally-popular speaker, Kathryn offers a nostalgic, visually-rich 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-McCartney of children’s literature — and the traits of classic literature that make them endure. Discover the fascinating places that inspired the stories as well as rare flora and fauna of the forest. Part travelogue, biography and natural history, the book and talk weave history with humor as Kathryn also shares stories of raising her own American children in the storybook landscape of England while providing an erudite natural history of the wildlife haven of Ashdown Forest. 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)

 

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 Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin and their friends embarked on 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. This resulted in rare plants growing in, and specific animals attracted to, a landscape which fascinated Charles Darwin, W.B.  Yeats, Ezra Pound and, of course, A. A. Milne. Learn about the legacy of this landscape on the real Christopher Robin who helped preserve the landscape he made famous. Kathryn will share stories of walking in the footsteps of Darwin, Yeats and Pound and show botanical photographs from 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 was killed in Hawaii at the age of 35 in a pit dug to trap wild bulls. If the plants in your garden could talk, they might be inclined to tell you how they arrived in your garden. In their stead, Kathryn will endeavour to speak for them in this illustrative lecture introducing the world’s most famous plant hunters and their amazing 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. You’ll never look at a boxwood the same! (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.

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Recent Talks & Lectures

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

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Author Reading, Vromen’s Bookstore, Pasadena, California