Native Plants for 21st Century Gardens: Ending Invasive Exotic Landscape Clutter

by Carolyn Summers, Author of Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East

Originally aired on November 18, 2020

Carolyn Summers will discuss native plants, many of which are under-utilized in the landscape industry, that make excellent substitutes for over-used invasive exotics. Emphasis will be on species that work well in common garden settings, including foundation plantings, hedges, and rain gardens.  

Carolyn Summers is the author of Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East. Most recently, her photographs grace the pages of a new book, The Pollinator Victory Garden, by friend and colleague Kim Eierman. 

After completing her BSLA (Landscape Architecture) degree at CCNY, she began an atypical career with the Trust for Public Land, producing an open space report for the Harbor Herons Project that has guided preservation efforts to create an urban wildlife refuge on Staten Island. Ms. Summers continued environmental work with New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection as the agency’s first Director of Natural Resources, including implementation of a new native plants policy for all agency construction/restoration projects. 

Following her work with New York City, she came to the Natural Resources Defense Council, initiating a regional project to preserve and restore wildlife habitat and public access in the New York-New Jersey Bight. 

Ms Summers is currently an adjunct professor for Go Native U, a joint project of Westchester Community College’s Continuing Ed Program and The Native Plant Center (based at Westchester Community College). 

She and her husband have recently opened their country home, Flying Trillium Gardens and Preserve (, for public tours so that designers, gardeners and homeowners will be inspired by the beauty of native plants in both garden and natural settings to create more of the same.  

Contact information:  ,

It starts off with an introduction to the NPSNJ and then proceeds to the presentation followed by Q&A.