Lecture Series


Title Sponsor: Bartlett Tree Experts
Supporting Sponsors: Queen Street Playhouse and South State Bank

Our monthly educational Lecture Series, FREE to current CHS members, welcomes horticultural experts from all over the country, as well as locally, sharing their experiences and expertise on a variety of subjects from landscape design and preservation to butterflies and world travel. Our lectures always are tailored to relevancy of gardening and growing here in the Lowcountry and are attending by over 1500 members and visitors each season.

This season, due to CDC recommendations against gatherings in response to COVID 19, we will be hosting our lectures via Zoom through May 2021. Prior to each lecture all members will receive an email with easy instructions how to attend the live virtual lectures from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Due to the new structure of our Spirit of Plantasia month long celebration, we will not have a lecture in April 2021. We thank you in advance for your understanding as we continue to guarantee top quality horticulture educational content for all our members.

Monday March 8th at 6:30pm
The U.S.National Arboretum: Our Role, Your Future
with Dr. Richard T. Olsen, Director of the U.S. National Arboretum

With the passage of the 1927 National Arboretum Act, Congress fulfilled the will of the people and established a national institute dedicated to “research and education into plant life”. For much of this history, our focus has been on plant exploration, introduction, conservation and distribution, be it seeds, seedlings, or elite clones and cultivars. However, our programs encompass much more, including international recognized experts in taxonomy and nomenclature of ornamental plants, virologists and bacteriologists at the forefront of ornamental plant diseases, a turfgrass program investigating unheralded native grasses, and of course, the oldest active ornamental plant breeding program in the United States. All of this is done across multi-state research facilities, with a 451-acre home base in Washington, DC. Here, more than 600,000 visitors a year are exposed to the importance of this work via world-class collections and gardens. As we approach our centennial in a rapidly changing world of priorities and challenges, this talk will reflect on our legacy and approach as we chart the course to position the National Arboretum to continue supporting ornamental plant research in the United States in the 21st century.

As Director of the United States National Arboretum, Dr. Richard T. Olsen guides the institute in its mission to enhance the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape plants through long-term, multi-disciplinary research, conservation of genetic resources, and interpretative gardens and displays. 

But Dr. Olsen was not always an administrator. From 2006 to 2015, he was a research geneticist in the ornamental plant breeding and plant genetic resource programs at the National Arboretum. These long-term efforts are bearing fruit as new ornamental tree and shrub cultivars and novel plant introductions are released to support the American nursery and landscape industry. Research expertise in plant breeding, genetics, and germplasm conservation, provides a solid foundation for leading collaborations with industry and academic partners to facilitate new technologies and solutions for challenges facing American landscapes.

Dr. Olsen is a recognized international leader in the public garden arena, providing scientific expertise and practical knowledge to multiple national and international arboreta, urban forestry groups, and professional associations. Degrees in landscape design (BS; NC State University), plant physiology (MS; University of Georgia) and plant breeding (PhD; NCSU) provide a well-balanced background for directing a multi-faceted USDA research facility and public garden. 

All CHS Hort Members will receive a link to the lecture the morning of the event.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Bartlett Tree Experts
Queen Street Playhouse
Church Creek Nursery

2020-2021 Lecture Speakers
(all lectures will be held via Zoom)
Sept. 14: Brent Heath
Oct. 11: Jeff Jackson
Nov. 16: Jason Dewees
Jan. 11: Scott Parker
Feb. 8: Beatrix Farrand film
Mar. 8: Dr. Richard Olsen
Apr. 12: No lecture
May 10: Bennett Saunders

Lectures at the Charleston Museum unless otherwise noted
* held at Queen Street Playhouse 


2019 – 2020:
Sept. 9: Film: Piet Oudolf *
Oct. 14: Jen Stringer *
Nov. 11: Joe Lamp’l
Jan. 13: Susan Johnson
Feb. 10: Chris Woods
(Shortened season due to COVID pandemic)

2018 – 2019
Sept. 10: Vince Dooley
Oct. 8: Jim Martin
Nov. 12: Kirk Brown
Jan. 14: Nancy Hart
Feb. 11: Troy Marden
Mar. 11: Joe Henderson
Apr. 8: David Johnson
May 13: Julie Moir Messervy

2017 – 2018
Brie Arthur
Mark Weathington
Andrea Sprott
Pam Beck
Ernest Koone III
Lloyd Traven
The Nichols Bros.

2|016 – 2017:
Andy McCabe
Linda Lanier
Rudy Mancke
Sidney Frasier
Amy Dabbs
Buddy Lee
Dr. Merle Shepard

2015 – 2016:
Rita Randolph
Ben Lenhardt
Joseph Tychonievich
Susan Haltom
Jon Carloftis
Adrienne Roethling
Pam Beck
Derek Wade

2014 – 2015:
Walter Reeves
Ted Stephens
Bill Welch
Patrick McMillan
Jonathan Wright
Vince Dooley
Karl Gercens
Bill Noble

2013 – 2014:
Glen Gardner
Dr. Lincoln Brower
Karl Gercens
Dean Norton
Betsy Pringle
Gregg Tepper
Sara Clow
Brian Upchurch

2012 – 2013:
Pam Beck
Kelby Fite
John Hoffman
Peter Hatch
Rita Randolph
George Sanko
Karl Gercens
Scott McMahan

2011- 2012:
Patrick McMillan
Ted Stevens
Sheila Wertimer
Bobby Ward
Robert Mottern
David Stickel
Pam Beck
Flo Chaffin