Beauty of the Wild with Darrel Morrison

Join us for an inspiring virtual talk by renowned garden designer Darrel Morrison. In his new book, Beauty of the Wild: A Life Designing Landscapes Inspired by Nature, Morrison tells stories of people and places that have nourished his career as a teacher and a designer of landscapes. Be sure to order your copy of the book, available in The Shop. It is published by the Library of American Landscape History, the leading publisher of books that advance the study and practice of American landscape architecture.

Growing up on a small farm in southwestern Iowa, Morrison was transported by the subtle beauties of the native prairie landscape—the movement of grasses in the wind, clouds across the sky, their shadows over the plain. As a graduate student at University of Wisconsin–Madison, he encountered the Curtis Prairie, one of the first places in the world where ecological restoration was practiced. There he saw the beauty inherent in ecological diversity.

For more than six decades, Morrison has drawn inspiration from the varied landscapes of his life—from the Iowa prairie to Texas prickly pear scrub to the maple-beech-hemlock forests of Door County, Wisconsin, to the banks of the Oconee River in Piedmont Georgia. He has been guided as well by the teachings of Jens Jensen, who believed that we can’t successfully copy nature but can get a theme from it and use key species to evoke that essential feeling.

Can’t join us live? This event will be recorded and made available to everyone who registers.


“Some gardeners react to any mention of ecological landscaping—the merging of environmental science and art—as if it were a compromise

or concession meant to limit their creativity. Darrel Morrison, a landscape architect who has been practicing and teaching this philosophy for some five decades, begs to differ. . . . ‘A lot of people, when they hear a phrase like “ecologically sound landscaping,” they think they are giving up something. But they are not—it only enhances the experience.’ ”

—Margaret Roach, The New York Times


This event is co-sponsored by the Marin Garden Club.




Feb 17 2022


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


  • Darrel Morrison
    Darrel Morrison

    Darrel Morrison is currently an Honorary Faculty Associate in Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Madison. He earned his MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin and taught there from 1969 to 1983. Subsequently he taught at the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design, and has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Utah State University, Rutgers University, Columbia University, Conway School in Massachusetts, and Temple University. He lived in New York City from 2005 until 2015, when he returned to Madison.

    His landscape design work includes the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX; the Native Plant Garden at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum; eastern meadows at Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY; the Old Stone Mill landscape at New York Botanical Garden; the Native Flora Garden Extension at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In 2016, he and his associate, Nancy Aten, designed a 29-acre native landscape restoration at Stella Niagara Preserve along the Niagara River in Lewiston, NY, for the Western New York Land Conservancy.

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