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I'm a plant ecologist by background (PhD in Botany), a gardener and naturalist by avocation, and a lifelong teacher.


I love to encourage folks to connect with the natural world through learning about plants, animals, nature and gardening.


Follow my blog, attend a presentation or class, or contact me for a landscape consultation (if you live in Western North Carolina) on a non-profit basis.


I do presentations and teach classes on a variety of topics ranging from gardening for nature to 4-season vegetable gardening. 


I'm always glad to share thoughts,  ideas, and encouragement.


Send me a message via the contact link, or email me directly at

Presentation topics

Gardening for Nature

Gardening with Native Plants

Creating a Native Pocket Meadow

Creating a Naturalistic Garden

How to Create a Native Woodland Garden

Native Plants for Pollinators

Innovative Ideas from International Gardens

Designing with Native Plants

Revisioning your Home Landscape

Year-round Vegetable Gardening

Tapping into the Creative Side of Gardening


I offer landscape consultations, informal design services, and garden coaching on a non-profit basis to individuals and organizations to benefit regional botanical gardens, natural areas, and land trusts in Western North Carolina.  My focus is natural garden design, use of natives in landscape, and edible landscapes.

I do a 2 hour in-site visit, with pre-and post-visit discussion and summary for a $165 contribution to a local or regional non-profit.

Upcoming programs

I have programs scheduled this spring at the NC Arboretum and for Conserving Carolina.

March 15 & 22.  2-3:30 pm. Journeying through Your Garden's Seasons: Keeping a Garden Blog.  NC Arboretum. Registration required.

April 15. 10:30 am - noon. Creating a Native Woodland Garden. Walnut Creek Preserve (via Conserving Carolina). Free. Registration required.

April 19, 2-4 pm. A discussion about Sense of Place. NC Arboretum. Registration required. Free, donations encouraged.

April 22.  Book-signing at NC Arboretum with my husband, Tim Spira, author of Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians and Piedmont and Wildflowers and Waterfalls; 30 Great Hikes.

June 14 & 21. 1;30-3 pm. Re-visioning Your Home Landscape. NC Arboretum. Registration required.

A recent presentation on pollinator-friendly gardening is available on Asheville GreenWorks YouTube channel.

Click for access.

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