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Will Stuart: Celebrating the Natural Gardens of the Carolinas

Mint Museum RANDOLPH

Monday, Sep 19


Admission: FREE


This fall, the Charlotte Garden Club is offering five exciting programs that accolade horticulture and design throughout Carolinas. The program line-up begins with outdoor enthusiast and native plant and bird photographer, Will Stuart, as he spotlights “Celebrating the Natural Gardens of the Carolinas.” All programs are open to the public with refreshments provided 30 minutes in advance of the start time. For more information visit  

The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, the seminal work by B. W. Wells published in 1932, encouraged us all to view our state as more than mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain. While ostensibly discussing 10 "natural gardens," Wells' lyrical writing guided us through scores of native plant communities, nudging us to appreciate the interactions of terrain, climate, and soil and to observe the resulting trees, shrubs, and forbs. We now know that the Carolinas are home to hundreds of special and unique plant associations, from granite outcrops to grassy balds to rich cove forests to the coastal pine savannas that so charmed Dr. Wells. In recent years, handsome new species including the Oak Barrens Barbara's Buttons and the Sandhills Lily have been added to our flora. The works of Doug Tallamy and others have encouraged us to deepen our appreciation of the insect and native birds that depend upon our plant communities.


Over the past decade, Will Stuart has visited scores of unique southeast plant communities, looking for and photographing the unique plant species that thrive in these small and often fragmented habitats. Stuart's presentation visits dozens of these special destinations and celebrates the floral diversity of the Carolinas.
Stuart is an outdoor enthusiast and an avid native plant and bird photographer. Most recently, he worked with Dr. Larry Mellichamp as photographer for Native Plants of the Southeast, published by Timber Press in 2014. Stuart spends much of his time in the Carolinas, documenting the flora and fauna that depend upon the region's many and diverse natural areas. Many of his images feature an "up close and personal" view of a blossom, a bud, a bird, or a butterfly. Stuart is also an active member of the North Carolina Native Plant Society, the National Aububon Society, and the Carolina Nature Photographers Association.

The Charlotte Garden Club was organized in 1924 as North Carolina's first garden club. Its purpose is to further its members' knowledge of gardening through programs and projects under the direction of experts in the fields of horticulture and design. Members meet one evening a month from September through May to share in educational lectures and entertainment by authorities in landscape design, horticulture and other topics of interest to people who enjoy gardens and gardening. The Charlotte Garden Club has been an Affiliate of the Mint Museum of Art since 1954. It contributes to projects designed to beautify the Mint Museum and its grounds as well as projects which add to the beauty of Charlotte. Funds for the professional landscaping of the Museum's grounds come from the Club sponsoring an annual Spring Garden Tour and auction event. Projects funded by the Charlotte Garden Club at the Mint Museum of Art include the construction and continuing maintenance of the two Courtyard Gardens which are visible from the gallery windows; the installation of a sprinkler system on the grounds; the construction and maintenance of the Terrace Garden at the entrance; and Christmas decorations for the building.