Dan Benarcik


Conveying a passion

Thats what it is to me.

I hardly expected to see myself as a teacher, a mentor or a leader in my field. It happens slowly at first.

I didn't find Public Horticulture, It found me. I didn't really care what people thought of a garden, until I saw them experience a really interesting one. To see the joy and amazement on their faces and the wonder in their eyes,

the questions.

When you answered, you empowered. Thats where teaching began for me. Working in public horticulture for nearly twenty five years I have a unique insight as to what visitors and gardeners are looking for. Whether teaching in respected institutions or lecturing to the most basic group of gardening enthusiasts it is the same task, conveying a passion.

*Groundcover Options

Exceptional Groundcovers

This is an introduction to the use of groundcovers in our garden designs. Woody and herbaceous plants that are known for their ability to colonize in specific sites or to perform a specific task in the garden will be highlighted in this discussion.

Design Principals Of The Pros That Can Be Applied To The Home Landscape

A Design Talk

This talk will give the beginner and advanced gardeners tips from the pros to help freshen up their own gardens at home. It will provide something to think about while contemplating their own beds, pots and combinations next season.

Combinations-Finding The Right Mix

Learning To Combine

Finding the right mix, opening our eyes to what makes great combinations in a garden setting. Plants, colors, textures, paving and hardscape, as well as furniture will be discussed in detail. 


An Inspirational Talk

Keeping it fresh, we all need inspiration to keep the garden fresh and exciting from season to season and year to year. Sometimes that creative spark just isn't clicking and you need a jump start...but from where?  I  will share some of the people, places and things that get my creative juices flowing and make you think about what  inspires you!


Please understand and respect that these lectures will not be broken up, spliced or agreed to in an A la Carte manner. They have been crafted and organized in a manner to convey a message or to tell a story in a contiguous manner.

Foliage First

Boom Without The Bloom

This is a look at an often overlooked but vitally important part of the garden and landscape. If something should compromise the floral aspect of your garden, you should have a strong foliar background to carry the garden. Woody plants, herbaceous and tropicals are discussed in this garden study.

Twenty-five Plants I Couldn't Garden Without (In My Zone 7 Garden)

Interesting And Dependable Plant Choices

Everyone has their own list of their favorite plants, this one is mine. I'll cover trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. In addition some tropical plants and tender perennials to spice things up.

Containers, Pots With A Purpose

The Exciting World Of Container Culture

A look at the breadth of container gardening styles and techniques. Different types of containers are discussed as well as some favorite plants for container culture.

Making Your Garden Your Own

Define Your Own Style 

This is a look at how to personalize your garden through the use of artistic element and found artifacts. Discussed is the addition of garden furniture as a design element. We will also consider the use of ornamental containers and floral container combinations as extensions of your personality in your garden.

Chanticleer, A Pleasure Garden

Visions Of Chanticleer

This talk is a walking garden narrative, covering the different garden areas.  Different  seasons and phases of the garden will be revealed, as well as the personalities that make the garden what it is.

The Art And Artistry Of Chanticleer 

A Focus On The Art and Whimsy 

Horticulture is imperative at Chanticleer, but is not the only thing that sets the garden apart from other public gardens. It is also the efforts of the staff that make the garden unique. This talk highlights the artists and their work in the garden.

Inspiration and Creativity, Taking Cues From Nature 

  An aesthetic approach to design of necessary items in the public garden, park, space, world drawing inspiration from the place and living community in which it will be placed and utilized. Many examples used are from Chanticleer so it could also serve as a Chanticleer introduction as well.

Creating World Class Displays For Your Garden 

 I am giving This talk for the first time Tomorrow here in Madison Wisconsin to the APGA, American Public Gardens Association. This can also be applied to those in the trade, or anyone who creates and install beauty and may potentially interact with the audience that experiences it.

Line, Form And Color 

Defining The Architecture Of The Garden

This is a study of plant architecture and how it impacts the garden.Through a mix of hardy and non-hardy plant images i will discuss ways to improve it in your garden.

​Maples Through An Artistic Eye

 Created for the international Maple Society last year, an aesthetic approach to incorporating Maples into your landscape. Well suited to Northern states this talk highlights underused and unknown Maples for an interesting approach to to these trees.

*Zonal Denial, Hot Topics 

Exciting Tropical And Tender Plants

There is nothing like pushing the limits in the garden and this is a great way to start. When you combine the hottest, sexiest tropical beauties with a sharp looking pot, add fertilizer, water and lots of summer heat and watch out! We will look at some of my favorite performers from the tropics, as well as some temperate annuals. We will also speak about culture, combinations and design.

*Advance notice on these talks please, I like to keep these current and suited to the

region where the talk is given. Other talks and topics are always being added.

However, if you have special requests please don’t hesitate to ask. I will be open 

to discussion with you in terms of special requests.

Fee schedule

My speaking fee is $750 per talk within 250 miles of 19803. The fee increases to $1000 beyond that distance. Payment is due at completion of presentation, or later with prior discussion. A talk consists of 45 to 60 minutes, this can vary with topic and event schedule. Image lists and an opportunity for questions either at the podium or after, depending on the event. Travel, meals, lodging in a hotel, and incidentals are additional. Lesser fee can be negotiated, but a second booking within 18 months at full rate will be required. These are determined on a case by case basis. A contract issued by the organization or individual hiring must be signed by both parties prior to the talk being given. The contract must include the terms and conditions stated above.

Some of my professional venues:

The Delaware Center for Horticulture

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

The Adkins Arboretum

The Scott Arboretum

The Morris Arboretum

The National Arboretum

The Polly Hill Arboretum

The Royal Botanic Garden

The Atlanta Botanic Garden

The Phipps Conservatory

Coastal Maine Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Wave Hill

Ganna Walska Lotusland

Horticulture Magazine symposium

The Northwest Horticulture Society

Longwood Gardens

Rochester Civic Garden Center

Center for Urban Horticulture

The Maryland Horticulture Society

West Virginia Cultural and Arts Center

Hillwood Museum and Gardens

American Public Gardens Assosiation

Pennsylvania Landscape and Nurseryman Association

Georgia Perennial Plant Association

Seattle Flower and Garden Show

Center for Urban Horticulture

And many local and regional garden clubs and organizations

Philadelphia Flower Show Judge

Garden Chair Workshops

Please see Garden Chair Page