I’ll be Speaking at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Royal Botanical Garden, Hamilton

On October 21st I’ll be giving the keynote speech at the 2-day conference for the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario, titled Make a Splash: A Natural Approach to Water Gardens“. I was asked to come up with a title and short description for my talk and this is what we have initially come up with.

Naturalistic Effects for the Residential Waterfeature:

Using Nature as you guide in the designing, building, creating, and maintaining your backyard pond and stream.”

The 2nd day is for professionals and I will do an entire day with those folks on water also, this is tentatively titled:

Introducing Naturalistic Design Principles for the Designed/Built Waterfeature:

Too often waterfeatures are built without forethought to creating ponds, streams, waterfeatures, that mimic what exist in the Natural World. The usual effect is the dreaded necklace effect of stones surrounding the pond, or a stream that looks like the county work crew dumped gravel into the stream bed.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you watch, follow, listen, document, study waterfeatures as they exist in the natural World. Borrowing these principles to create something as close to Natural as possible.

The goal is to get the observer to believe; even if for a short time, that the waterfeatures was there 1st and the landscape added around it.

There will be heavy focus on waterfalls and streams, especially streams, This is where good becomes great. Where the possibility to design/build reaches a new level.

Also the design process, showing the design on paper, the surrounding landscape, the background principle, understanding the transition principle, choosing stone, putting stone together. Also we will have enough time to go explore other subjects that come up during the workshop.

That title is likely to stick with some tweaking to the background info for the day-long workshop. This is breaking news so there is nothing about this on the RBG site. I can say for certain these are the days, we have lockerd them in Oct. 21st and 22nd.

I will post more on this as we flesh this out, and nail down some specifics. The important thing for me is not just to be able to spread the word on using nature as a guide, but the designing of the entire space.

Royal Botanical Garden-water garden

A certain company does a great job of promoting the building of waterfeatures but nothing on design, design principles, and the space that surrounds the waterfeature(s). I am trying to change their mind.

The Royal Botanical Gardens are located in Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario . . . that’s in Canada for those of you who missed 7th grade geography, or was that in High School?

  • It is Canada’s largest botanical garden and one of the country’s premier cultural, education and scientific institutions.
  • Of the Gardens’ 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres), about 120 hectares (297 acres) are cultivated, while the rest remains a managed natural area. The glory of the Arboretum is the Katie Osborne Lilac Garden, which boasts the world’s largest living collection of lilacs
  • The Cootes Paradise Sanctuary is the Gardens’ natural treasure. Ecosystems within the 250-hectare (620-acre) marsh, at the westernmost tip of Lake Ontario

Just a few tidbits from the RBG about page.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Rick,
    Just a short congratulations on your speaking engagement. Bravo!

    Thanks Bill, since the provacadude talk at ANLA the offers have been pouring in . . .

  2. Can anyone go to this thing? Is it open to anyone who wants to register (and of course pay) or is it an invitation Royal-Society kind of thing?

    The Program Director described the 21st as the day for homeowners/gardeners, “come one, come all”. There will be several other speakers besides yours truly speaking on other matter concerning the residential waterfeature.

    The 22nd is the Professional Day, I will have a group spending all day with me going over a LOT of material. Will this be all professional? I can’t say for sure . . . the cost for this will be different and the material very involved, and there will be a limited class size.

    Never having spoken at this Botanical Garden I really do not know if a “real enthusiast” or two will sneak into the pro day. I can tell you this. Any time I speak at a Botanical Garden I prepare for the widest possible crowd. If this was an Association Seminar/Conference it would be Professionals only.

  3. I will put the 21st in my diary… and see what I’m doing.

    Might be worth a quick trip.


    If that happens there might have to be a Canadian Beverage involved in there somewhere.

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