April 11, 2017
Out of Africa: Gardening with South African Plants
Our gardens reflect the places we’ve been and the people we’ve met. We relate deeply to special places, people, and experiences in our lives. Then we carry those images, those experiences, and those feelings into our gardens. Gardens connect people and they tell our life stories. Marilyn will share her South African odyssey and show how South African plants can broaden our plant vocabulary that we use to create exciting and ever-changing stories in our gardens and in our containers.
Marilyn Daly recently retired after teaching for 36 years at York College of Pennsylvania. She also taught in the Longwood Gardens Ornamental Horticulture Program for 20 years. Over the years she conducted numerous annual plant trials with students on her farm in Dallastown, PA. Marilyn’s passion for plants and gardening and her plant trial research took her around the world.
Marilyn and her husband travel extensively, especially to South Africa, photographing and searching for new and exciting plants that can be grown here. They’ve visited South Africa almost every year since 1996 when she took her first of three sabbaticals at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, known for the famous “fynbos” plant biome. Ten years ago they bought a second home in Cape Town, where she designed and planted an indigenous fynbos garden. She was the first to plant a garden “outside the wall.” It quickly became the talk of the neighborhood. Now, ten years later, almost all neighbors have followed her example and have planted gardens street-side, outside their protecting garden walls. Gardens connect people.
Marilyn now teaches a York College class she developed for non-science majors called Plants and People, which includes hands-on study in the tropical rain forests of Costa Rica. She says, “This class gives me the opportunity to share my passion for plants, to motivate students to appreciate the beauty and intricacies of the natural world, to develop a global perspective, and to recognize the important role they as individuals may play in preserving the delicate balance of life on earth.”
Marilyn’s gardens, travels, and research have been featured in popular media and scientific publications. As Marilyn teaches, travels, researches, and opens her gardens to visitors, she shares her knowledge of plants and her passion for the science, the beauty, and the art of gardening.