Past Lecturers

Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf is the author of five acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society 2010 Book Award and her books Founding Gardeners and The Invention of Nature were on the New York Times Best Seller List.  Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times, WSJ, The Atlantic and New York Times.  In 2014 she co-presented a four-part BBC TV garden series and she appears regularly on radio.  The Invention of Nature won numerous awards in Europe and the US, including the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2016 (Nature Conservancy) and the LA Times Book Prize 2016.  It was chosen as 10 Best Books of 2015 in the New York Times and will be published in 23 countries.


Andrea is a popular lecturer-she gave more than 70 talks last year.  She has lectured widely to large audiences at the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society in London, the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Monticello and the New York Public Library amongst many others.  Recently she gave a talk to 15,000 people at the Esri User Conference in California.

Sara Gasbarra

Sara Gasbarra, lead Garden Girl of Verdura, a full-service garden design company, creates verdant gardens spanning season to produce a rich variety of tastes throughout the year.  Her gardens include rare, exotic and familiar plants that come to fruition throughout the year to please the most discerning tastes.  To compliment her gardens, she is expert in organic growing practices, water and irrigation systems and unban farming in unconventional spaces.  Her talk for the Headley-Whitney’s Garden Affair will focus on creating, nurturing and enjoying a sophisticated, enchanting and practical culinary garden.


Sara came to gardening early, and credits much inspiration from childhood memories of summer time garden adventures with her father.  She has worked extensively with numerous restaurants, including the Park Hyatt Chicago, Palmer House Hilton and Nicky’s Coal Fired in Nashville.  In 2010 she founded an auxiliary board for Chicago’s Green City Market, a thriving year-round farmer’s market, and became Project Manager of the market’s The Edible Garden, an educational vegetable garden, run in partnership with the Lincoln Park Zoo.  In 2018, she was named one of Chicago’s most influential women in food, and was mentioned in Zagat’s 2017 “The 11 Chicago Food Specialists You Need to Know.”

Joseph Hillenmeyer

Joseph Hillenmeyer follows in his family ‘s tradition of passion for plants but he has travelled a unique and interesting path to end up back home in Lexington Kentucky.  His first experiments with plants began at age six, when he began working with plants in his own raised planting beds.  He has worked with noted horticulturists in Tennessee, Turkey and New Zealand.  Through his work experience and exposure, he began to develop and hone a unique design aesthetic, focusing on the harmonious connection between the built environment and the natural world. 


Since his return to Lexington in 2001, Joseph has continued to refine his vision, creating timeless and innovative gardens filled with locally sourced and imported plants.  His work continues to evolve, and he is now one of our regions most renowned landscape designers, establishing Joseph Hillenmeyer Garden Design in 2013-a firm specializing in garden design and management.  His work has been featured in numerous publications, and he has received the prestigious David E. Laird Award, recognizing him as the South’s top horticulturist under 40.  His gardens, melding his passion for art and science, are in progress in, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and New York.

Dr. Tammy Horn Potter

Kentucky State Apiarist, became fascinated with bees following a one-day introduction to bees with her grandfather.  Dr. Horn began her career teaching English and literature at the University of West Alabama, Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College.  She created a pilot project focusing on the relationship between coal mine reclamation sites and honeybees, exploring how pollinator habits benefit reforestation.  This led to a new career path which culminated in her becoming the Kentucky State Apiarist, working in the Department of Agriculture in 2014.  Her work focuses on working with surface mine sites, developing economic opportunities for bee-keepers and even consulting with the White House to develop strategies that increase the pollinator population nationwide. 


Tammy keeps bees at her Lexington farm, and she remains fascinated by the science, social order and production of these industrious and indigenous creatures.  She has served as president of the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association and she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from this organization and been named State Beekeeper of the Year.  She has published several books about bees and the integral role they play in our lives, and she encourages anyone interested in beekeeping to visit the Department of Agriculture’s website for valuable tips and contacts.

Dave Leonard

As one of the country’s leading authorities in the arboriculture profession, Dave Leonard has been promoting tree health care in Lexington, Kentucky for 39 years. As an active member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) for 34 years, Dave served on ISA’s Board of Directors for 18 years.  He has also served as both President and Executive Director of ISA’s Kentucky Chapter and has been a member of its Board of Directors for 25 years. Dave was part of the team of 10 of the world’s best arborists that composed the ISA Arborist Certification exam and the Board Certified Master Arborist exam. Dave earned a Forestry degree from the University of Kentucky in 1974. He became a registered member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists in 1993.

Joanna Kirby

Joanna Kirby is a Master Gardener, former President of the Garden Club of Kentucky, Inc. and a passionate advocate for Monarch butterfly preservation.  She has been a gardener for thirty years and is a cut-flower farmer on her husband’s family farm in Garrad County.  She is an active presenter, sharing her passion for incorporating horticulture as an integral part of everyday life.  She initiated a project linking the Garden Club and Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Parks to establish Monarch waystations.  Through her efforts, the number of these sites has increased from 36 in 2013 to more than 500 in 2018.


Her talk will explore the important role that these pollinators play in our lives and share ways that we all can become more aware and involved.

Tom Kimmerer

Tom Kimmerer, PhD, plays an active role in building appreciation of and support for the vitally important woodland pastures of Kentucky and Tennessee.  Kimmerer’s passionate interest in forests and botany has inspired him to research and teach throughout the United States, Indonesia and Malaysia, where is has advised on environmental and forestry issues for government and business concerns.  He is currently focusing on writing and photographing trees; his photographs can be seen in numerous magazines.


A passionate advocate for our region’s treescape, Dr. Kimmerer will introduce us to some of the most important trees in Lexington, and he will share a map, enabling us to visit them at our leisure.

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