Kathryn Aalto is an American landscape historian, garden designer, university lecturer, preservation consultant, and writer. She has a M.A. in Garden History and a M.A. in Creative Nonfiction. She also has a diploma in Garden Design from the London College of Garden Design and a B.A. in English from Berkeley. For the past twenty-five years, her focus has been on places where nature and culture intersect: teaching the literature of nature and place, designing artful and sustainable gardens, and writing about the natural world. She speaks widely throughout the United States and Britain.
Kathryn is the author of three books including the New York Times Best Seller, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (2015) and Nature and Human Intervention (2011). Her third book, Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World will be published by Timber Press in April 2020.
Her wry humor and live storytelling have made her a sought-after speaker at world-renowned universities, garden clubs, libraries, museums and some of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens.
After renovating a turn-of-the-century farm and gardens and restoring a salmon spawning stream near Seattle for 15 years, she moved with her family to Devon, England where she makes her own gardens and enjoys walking footpaths whenever she can, a landscape feature that weaves into much of her writing, and studying Europe’s most iconic designed landscapes and gardens.
Her work is interdisciplinary and explores historic, horticultural, and natural history themes with a contemporary perspective. Her writing has appeared in Outside, Sierra, The Children and Nature Network, The Wild Network, and many other magazines and newspapers. Narrative nonfiction essays are forthcoming in Smithsonian Magazine and the anthology Women on Nature. She is co-founder of the Rural Writing Institute, a writing retreat in the Lake District.
Kathryn brings a historical breadth and depth of into her writing, design and lectures. Professor of Garden History Timothy Mowl describes her writing about landscapes and gardens as “exemplary” “impeccable” and “perfect” — noting its beauty, clear analysis, and an assured combination of primary-source research and meticulous site investigation.
A warm and experienced teacher and speaker, she delivers lively public lectures on history and horticultural themes with a modern sensibility. For corporate events, she is represented by Chartwell Speakers here. For booking smaller events at museums, universities, libraries and garden clubs, you can learn more here.