The Charlotte Garden Club

2020-2021 Schedule Archive

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List of program schedule during our 2020-2021 season:

April 19, 2021

Mae Lin Plummer, (Former Duke Mansion Garden Director), “My Magical Year at Longwood Gardens”

View video of 04/19/2021 presentation
Mae Lin Plummer is the newly appointed Executive Director of Leach  Botanical Garden in Portland, Oregon. Prior to her move to the Pacific Northwest, she served as Garden Director at The Duke Mansion and managed various projects at UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. In 2020, Mae Lin graduated from the esteemed Longwood Fellows Program at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

Mae Lin’s interest in gardening began after purchasing her first home in Charlotte where she “just wanted to create a pretty place to throw parties”. It quickly matured into a full-blown plant obsession a few thousand plants later. She left her nearly 20-year career in banking 8 years ago to become a horticulturist and pursue her passion for connecting people and the world of plants. Gardening changed Mae Lin’s life and she realized the critical role public gardens have in stewarding the relationship between people and the natural world, ensuring the health of people and all life on the planet are not forgotten. Mae Lin’s garden was appropriately named The Laughing Garden inspired by all the parties and playful plantings that became the foundation of her garden philosophy.

Mae Lin has a BA in International Studies on East Asia and has received certificates in horticulture and native plant studies. She is a garden speaker, a contributor to Fine Gardening Magazine, and has been featured in The Charlotte Observer and Today’s Charlotte Woman Magazine.

March 15, 2021

Jon Roethling (Director of Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University) – “The Scent-ual Garden: Creating Four Seasons of Olfactory Delight”

View video of 03/15/2021 presentation – Click Here
Download / Print the Scent-ual Garden Plant List by Jon Roethling – Click Here

Fragrance is a powerful aspect of gardens and too often overlooked in plant selections. Jon Roethling will provide an overview of tried and true plants that will liven the senses year-round. Jon Roethling is the Director of Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University.

February 15, 2021

Dr. Richard Olsen (Director, US National Arboretum in Washington, DC) – “Beyond Tobaccy: Horticultural Roots in North Cackalacky”

View video of 02/15/2021 presentation – Click Here
Bio: With two horticultural degrees from NC State and a third from the University of Georgia, Dr. Richard Olsen’s career spans genetics, specimen development and administration.

Recognized as a leader in public horticulture, Dr. Olsen was named Director of the US National Arboretum (USNA) in 2015. Prior to his promotion at the USNA, earlier he was a research geneticist and the Arboretum’s lead scientist where he focused on developing pest and disease-resistant urban landscape trees. This important work – including travel around the world to find and develop new plants for commercialization in the U.S. – continues to benefit America’s nursery and landscape industry.

January 11, 2021

Ted Stephens – “New and Exciting Plants”

View video of 01/11/2021 presentation – Click Here

Download / print the handout from Ted’s presentation – Click Here

Ted Stephens, was recently mentioned in Fine Gardening magazine: “Fragrant tea olive (O. fragrans, Zones 8–11), also called sweet olive, is—no surprise—the most fragrant of all tea olives and blooms for the most extended period of time. Ted Stephens of Nurseries Caroliniana in North Augusta, South Carolina, cleverly observes that they bloom “in every month with an R in it,” although this is true most heavily in October and November.”

Ted founded Nurseries Caroliniana, a retail garden center featuring rare and unusual plant materials, almost 50 years ago. This award-winning horticulturist has traveled the globe, bringing back exciting new flowering shrubs and perennials for the U.S. market. Among his many accomplishments and global adventures, Ted taught horticulture at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea.

Owner of Nurseries Caroliniana
North Augusta, SC


  • Received B.S. and M.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from Clemson University.
  • 1969-1972, taught Horticulture in the Department of Golf Course and Landscape Operations at Lake City Community College, Lake City, Florida.
  • 1973 to present, Founded Nurseries Caroliniana, in North Augusta, SC, a retail garden center and nursery focusing on offering rare and unusual plant material to the gardening public. Osmanthus fragrans is a specialty of his nursery where one will find one of the largest collections of Osmanthus on the internet.
  • Through travels abroad, Ted has introduced many new plant selections to the gardening public. He has also developed a number of cultivars himself.
  • 2015 – Received the Don Shadow Award from the Southern Nursery Association for Exemplary Service, Leadership and Generosity in the Development, Promotion and Use of New and Improved Landscape Plants.
  • 2016 – Taught ecology and horticulture at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea

December 07, 2020

Melissa Martin Julien – “Decorating for the Holidays with Fresh Foraged Materials”

View video of 12/07/2020 presentation – Click Here

Melissa Martin Julien is an accomplished floral designer, event producer, and workshop facilitator.

For 10 years, Melissa was an integral part of the world-renowned Matthew Robbins Design team in New York City. There, Melissa produced and designed events at exclusive resorts and private residences from coast to coast and around the world from Japan to Colombia, France, Jamaica and beyond.

After finding success in New York City’s concrete jungle, Melissa and her husband decided to head back down south to her hometown of Charlotte. In 2015, having always dreamed of starting her own floral design and production studio, Melissa opened Proper Flower.

In addition to event design, Melissa has also worked on and produced photo shoots, creating florals and still lifes for prominent books and magazines sold nationwide.

Proper Flower has been recognized by national and local press including Harper’s Bazaar, The Knot, Charlotte Weekly, Sweet Paul Matthew Robbins and more.

November 16, 2020

Jay Sifford – “Garden Design: The Power of the Line”

View video of 11/16/2020 presentation – Click Here

Jay Sifford is a garden designer and writer based in Charlotte, and is a member of the CGC. He believes that a garden can and should be more than just a collection of plants or a way to decorate a yard. Rather, Jay believes that a successful garden is built upon four cornerstones: art, magic, story and horticulture. He combines his appreciation for psychology, philosophy, acute observation and spirituality to tailor meaningful spaces for his clients, spaces that, he says, are platforms for a better life to be lived.

Jay wrote for the website Houzz for three years. His work has appeared in Southern Living, Garden Design, Country Gardens and Fine Gardening magazines as well as in several books, the latest being Karen Chapman’s ‘Deer Resistant Design’. He is currently working on a book about meaningful garden design. In his free time, he’s developing a garden at his recently finished mountain home where he enjoys a plant palette that will not work in Charlotte’s heat and humidity.

October 19, 2020

Carol Reese – “Facts and Fallacies about Native Plants”

View video of 10/19/2020 presentation – Click Here

Books and Other Items Recommended by Carol Reese – Click Here

“Facts and Fallacies about Native Plants has its humorous moments, but it is mostly to combat the idea that a garden must be native or you are irresponsibly failing the wildlife. Using a mixture of science and personal experience, I refute much of Doug Tallamy’s tenets in his book Bringing Nature Home. I expose the ridiculous idea that we can somehow stop the globe from evolving and adapting, and that in fact, we should consider the benefits of change when we examine the big picture factoring Father Time into the equation. I leave people comforted on many levels that they are not sinners when they plant gardenias. Maybe I should retitle this one Sinful Camellias?”

Bio: Carol Reese is an Extension Horticulture Specialist housed at the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson. She is a nationally-known speaker, blending equal parts gardening knowledge, natural lore, and quirky humor. Carol is the gardening and nature columnist for several newspapers, as well as a contributor to several gardening magazines. She was the Q&A columnist for Horticulture Magazine for several years. Her B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture are from Mississippi State University, and she could also add her Ph.D. if she “had ever written that damn dissertation!” While there, she taught classes in Plant Materials, and co-taught Landscape Design for non-LA majors alongside a “real” landscape architect. She attributes her love of horticulture to being raised on a farm by generations of plant nuts, including a grandfather who dynamited his garden spot each spring to “break up his hard pan”. Carol’s very personal appreciation of natural lore is at least partially a result of her near daily rambles through the wild areas near her home with her motley collection of mutts, also known as the strong-willed breed of “Amalgamations.”

September 21, 2020

Dr. Allan Armitage (UGA professor, author of “Armitage’s Greatest Perennials & Annuals” and renowned speaker/storyteller); “Garden Stories”

View video of 09/21/2020 presentation – Click Here
Dr. Allan Armitage is a well-known writer, speaker, and horticulturist. Born and raised in Quebec and Ontario, he later lived in East Lansing, MI and now resides in Athens, GA. He has worked with gardeners, landscapers, growers and retailers in the North and South, and travels the world sharing his passion for plants. He has been presented with almost every prestigious award for his writing and work in the world of horticulture.

Visit Dr. Armitage’s website here – you may also order his books and receive free shipping by using this code – “CGC1926”

Watch Dr. Armitage’s introduction to the Charlotte Garden Club

Watch Dr. Armitage on Facebook – 08/10/2020 – Walkabout in the UGA Trial Garden

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