Keynote Speaker

Rob Proctor is an artist whose canvas is soil. His official title, artistic director at Denver Botanic Gardens, is too confining because his gardening expertise goes beyond a 9-to-5 job description.Quote Bouler Home and Garden Magazine

Proctor’s earliest memories are of gardens, and he’s one of the fortunate few who has been able to integrate his work with a lifelong passion: plants. That passion was realized at a very young age, as Proctor recalls crawling across the lawn, drawn to his mother’s enchanting flower garden. The self-effacing artistic director says he probably ate the petunias.

Proctor was born in Nebraska, the son of an English teacher and a mother who let him explore. His family moved to Colorado when Rob was 6 years old, and then lived in a variety of Colorado towns, including stops in Calhan, Loveland and Greeley.

Proctor’s easy-going, welcoming personality during the course of our interview led to philosophical and practical insights for Colorado gardeners. He ponders his words before speaking, but then they flow with zeal, sowing Proctor’s “plant gospel.” Here is what he said.

Since 1983 I have worked as a landscape historian and preservationist, helping historic-house museums and home-owners research and restore their grounds. I have taught graduate courses in landscape history at Eastern Michigan University and have written extensively for the Old-House Journal. In 1993 I launched the country's only mail-order business devoted to heirloom flower bulbs. Since then, our living antiques have been featured by Martha Stewart, Horticulture, Country Living, and The New York Times, and they grow today at Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian, the Denver Botanic Garden, and the Hearst Castle.

I have lectured for many horticultural organizations including the Arnold Arboretum, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Williamsburg's Garden Symposium, national conferences of the Garden Club of America and Master Gardeners, and for many local garden clubs. I have also presented to many preservation organizations including Monticello, Old Sturbridge Village, the Association for Preservation Technology, and the National Park Service



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