Best-selling author to keynote MSU Garden Day

The Michigan State University (MSU) Horticulture Gardens has slated its annual Garden Day for Saturday, Aug. 2.

The Michigan State University (MSU) Horticulture Gardens has slated its annual Garden Day for Saturday, Aug. 2.

The event will feature 10 informational workshops in which participants will learn a wide variety of gardening tips and best practices from horticulture professionals. In addition, the event will include lunch from Traverse City Pie Company, access to the green garden marketplace and two talks from the keynote speaker Amy Stewart.

A New York Times best-selling author, Stewart has written six novels, among them “The Drunken Botanists,” “Wicked Bugs,” “Wicked Plants,” and “Flower Confidential.” She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post and other newspapers and magazines. She is also the co-founder of a highly successful blog, Garden Rant.

Since her first book’s release in 2001, Stewart has made a wide range of celebrity appearances including being featured on “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Good Morning America,” the PBS documentary “The Botany of Desire,” and NPR’s “Morning Edition.” She was also a guest on TLC’s “Cake Boss.”

Stewart will give two presentations at Garden Day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. In her first keynote presentation, “Wicked Plants,” Stewart will reveal which plants have a secretly devilish reputation. Discover which plant killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother, which shrub ignited a global war and which plant has claimed the lives of 90 million people.

Stewart’s afternoon presentation, “Flower Confidential,” will take a behind-the-scenes look at the flower industry and the lengths horticulturists have taken in pursuit of the genetically perfect flower. For more than a century, horticulturists have gone to extreme measures to invent, manufacture and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter and more stunning than anything nature alone could provide. However, with this kind of manipulation, there is always a price, Stewart says.

General admission to Garden Day includes access to both of Stewart’s presentations and a book signing during lunch.

For an additional fee, guests can attend an evening garden stroll and reception with Stewart to discuss the “Drunken Botanist Garden.” This presentation has been designed to showcase more than two dozen plants featured in her latest book “The Drunken Botanist.” Listen to personal stories detailing the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, fruits and fungi that humans use to produce alcohol. In addition, Stewart will provide tips on how to create a personal cocktail garden at home. After the garden stroll, Stewart will accompany guests back to the conservatory for hors d’oeuvres and conversation.

Garden Day is $75 for 2014 MSU Horticulture Garden members or $85 for nonmembers. Registration includes two workshops, Stewart’s two keynote presentations, parking, lunch and materials. To attend the evening reception with Amy Stewart, there is an additional fee of $39 for 2014 MSU Horticulture Garden members or $49 for nonmembers.

Find registration and additional information online at the MSU Department of Horticulture website at

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