Garden Like Austen: Plants Jane Knew and Grew and So Can You!

Jane Austen

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Noon – 2:30 p.m.
Webster House
1644 Wyandotte Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64108

Join us for an afternoon tea at Webster House and a program about English novelist Jane Austen and Regency Era gardens.

Two happy coincidences bring this program to us.

One, Jane Austen’s novels have an avid following in the world, including in North America. In fact, the Jane Austen Society of North America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing. It has annual national conferences, and in 2018 our metropolitan area plays host to it.

Second, a friend of Gardeners Connect who has published books on clematis and flower arranging, also is a devout fan of Jane Austen and also has several published books of fan fiction based on characters and themes of Jane Austen’s oeuvre. She is attending the conference and is delighted to tell a Gardeners Connect audience about Jane Austen’s gardens.

Linda Beutler
Linda Beutler

Our speaker is Linda Beutler, who has presented programs on clematis in Kansas City, most recently in 2017, is curator of the Rogerson Clematis Collection near Portland, Ore., and author of “Plant Lovers Guide to Clematis,” “Gardening With Clematis” and “Garden to Vase.”

Her published books in the Jane Austen idiom include “My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley,” “Longbourn to London,” “The Red Chrysanthemum,” “A Will of Iron,” and “Sun-kissed – Effusions of Summer.”

Her novel “The Red Chrysanthemum” won her a silver Independent Publisher Book Award for romantic fiction in 2014.

The Program

The title of this program is “Garden Like Austen: Plants Jane Knew and Grew (and so can You).”

The novels of Jane Austen lead us into an examination of the genteel lives of British landed gentry in the early 19th century. They are set in the Regency Era, a period defined by elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture.

Jane Austen was the gardener in her family. Many of her favorite plants are still available today, and there’s good reason we seek these plants 200 years after her death. But would she still know their names? This presentation includes durable plants for the beginning gardener, a little garden history (which came first: the garden pink or pinking shears?), a playful swipe at nomenclature, and a conspiracy theory of the presenter’s devising —a botanical and literary intrigue yet to be disproved.

Many of the images in the presentation were taken at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived from 1809 until just before her death in 1817. It was here that she wrote or rewrote all of her major novels. There are also pictures taken out and about in Bath, where Jane lived from 1800-05, until the death of her father.

Attendees will get an extensive handout provided by presenter Linda Beutler with an image list, cultivation tips, source list for plants, and bibliography.

The Venue and Menu

Webster House

Webster House is a beautiful European antique and gift shop and an award-winning restaurant inside Webster School, a restored 19th-century Romanesque-style school that is next door to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The restaurant offers seasonal menus focused on ingredients from local producers. Webster House has spectacular views of the Liberty Memorial and downtown Kansas City.

The menu for our afternoon tea includes savory and sweet dishes. Here is what we have selected, though the menu may change according to chef’s inspiration and seasonal availability.

  • Curried chicken salad in a petite phyllo cup
  • Roasted salmon on toasted brioche with hollandaise and fresh dill
  • Prosciutto and brie wrapped asparagus tips
  • Assorted tea cookies 
  • Small cupcakes 
  • Fresh fruit tartlets
  • Chocolate fleur de sel caramel sable

Cost and Registration

This afternoon tea at Webster House featuring the program costs $65 for members of Gardeners Connect and $75 for people who are not members of Gardeners Connect.

You can go directly to the online registration page by going to Shop.GardenersConnect.org.

If you have questions, email info@GardenersConnect.org or call Brian Chadwick-Robinson, executive director of Gardeners Connect, at 913.302.4234.