About

Kathryn Aalto is a writer, historian, and designer focused on the natural world.

She is a California-born landscape historian, garden designer, and best-selling author living in England.  For the past twenty-five years, her creative practice has fused nature and culture: teaching the literature of nature and place, designing artful and sustainable gardens, and writing about the natural world.  She travels widely as a keynote speaker throughout North America and Britain.

Kathryn is the author of three books including The New York Times bestseller, 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 is Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Women Who Shape How We See the Natural World (Timber Press, June 2020).  Her essays have appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Outside, Sierra, and more. She is currently working on her fourth book.

Kathryn Aalto is co-founder of The Rural Writing Institute with James Rebanks in the Lake District. She is also a member of Association for Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). She is a dedicated mentor to emerging writers of narrative nonfiction and lectures in garden media communications. She has a Masters degrees in Garden History and Creative Nonfiction and a Bachelors in English from Berkeley. She is a graduate of the London College of Garden Design.

“In writing, speaking, and design,” Kathryn says, “There are rich opportunities to create compelling narratives — one with words, the other with plants.”

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 including Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, the New York Public Library, the Garden Club of Houston, Texas, and Cornell University Botanic Garden. 

Kathryn Aalto’s work is interdisciplinary and explores historic, horticultural, and natural history themes with a contemporary perspective. Her interest in writing about the natural world was sparked by the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Gary Snyder while studying English Literature. At the same time, she studied with environmental historian Carolyn Merchant.  Kathryn has a Masters in Garden History and a Masters in Creative Nonfiction.  She also has a diploma in Garden Design from the London College of Garden Design.

Her books have been reviewed on National Public Radio and in People Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune and in a Channel 4 television special with presenter Alan Titchmarsh.

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.

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.

You are invited to visit her book page and to learn more here and here.  The Press Kit for her Hundred Acre Wood book is here. She is represented as a corporate speaker by Chartwell Speakers.  For new projects, she is represented by Peter McGuigan at Foundry Literary and Media in New York City.

Please contact gardens@kathrynaalto.com for enquiries related to mentoring, designing, and speaking.

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