Nancy Lawson

Nancy Lawson, founder of Humane Gardener, author, habitat consultant, national speaker on garden ecology, naturalist, and certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional, will be a featured speaker at the 27th Gardening in the Northern Neck seminar.


The seminar, hosted by the Northern Neck Master Gardeners (NNMG) and Virginia Cooperative Extension, will be held from 8:45 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, 2021. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the seminar will be conducted virtually as an online webinar via Zoom.


Lawson is author of the book “The Humane Gardener: Nurturing Wildlife Habitats.” Her talk will discuss this approach to gardening that focuses on developing and preserving animal-friendly landscaping methods.


Lawson relates an incident that was pivotal in leading her to pioneer creative planting strategies to support wildlife. After cutting down a plant in her garden because she thought it was invasive, she saw it in bloom along a roadside and realized she’d destroyed a stand of milkweed. If left alone, the milkweed would have soon been covered in Monarch caterpillars.


Lawson describes her garden as a place where all creatures and plants are welcome. She explains, “Only two things are unwelcome: chemicals and invasive vegetation known to supplant wildlife habitat. Everyone else, from smartweed to milkweed, from ground beetles to groundhogs, has an open invitation.”


Her talk will explore a variety of topics such as why some insects are viewed as “beneficial” and others as “pests” or why some plants are considered “desirable” and others are “weeds.”


Lawson will discuss practical ways to put humane gardening philosophies into action by protecting nesting sites, and provide insight on nurturing plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife. Her focus is to humanely resolve conflicts with mammals and other commonly misunderstood creatures.


Lawson is the also a columnist for “All Animals” magazine and a frequent speaker on garden ecology. More information can be found on her website


The seminar’s theme is “Be Intentional: Create Livable, Edible, Sustainable Garden Spaces,” reported Marge Gibson, NNMG president. “Other speakers will include Brie Arthur, horticulturist and foodscape consultant, and Vincent Simeone, garden writer and horticulturist.”

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