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This Wednesday: Parks, Plants and People with Lynden Miller

book parks-plants-peopleLynden Miller was a painter with a passion for plants when Betsy Rogers, as administrator of Central Park and head of the Central Park Conservatory, handed her an assignment: restore the Conservatory Garden at 105th St. and Fifth Ave. That was 1982, when that end of the park was often considered dangerous. In addition to restoring the garden, Lynden was also charged with raising the money to do it and finding a way to bring people back to it. The Conservatory Garden was the beginning of her career as a public garden designer. Gardens all over town followed, including those at Bryant, Wagner, and Madison Square parks.

Now Lynden Miller has written a book, Parks, Plants and People, which tells others how public gardens can be created, including a resource directory on everything from the art of garden design to park advocacy and funding sources, plus a plant list of those she has found to be hardy, reliable and relatively low-maintenance. She dedicates the book to William H. Whyte, from whom she learned the elements of a successful public space. In addition to practical advice, Lynden Miller provides telling anecdotes. When a taxi driver dropping her at the Conservatory Garden in the early 1980s expressed concern for her safety, she invited him to accompany her into the partially restored garden, where the crab apples were in bloom. One down.

This Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., join us at the Municipal Art Society for an engaging and inspirational talk with Ms. Miller, buy an autographed book at a 25% discount, and talk with fellow urban garden lovers over a glass of something refreshing. $15, $10 MAS members. Reservations recommended. Purchase tickets online or call 212-935-3960. MAP.