Meet our Plant Experts

We're lucky to have some well-known horticulturalists and garden designers join us for the Preview Party with David Culp this Friday, May 5th.  In addition to these great friends of the arboretum, we'll have over two dozen more plant experts on hand to help you shop throughout the weekend.

Lorette Cheswick is the co-owner of Long Note Farm and, LLC. At Long Note Farm, Ms Cheswick is exploring ecological and sustainable practices that provide forage and pesticide protection for honey bees and other pollinators. The extensive endemic plant inventory at Long Note Farm is the main source material for tree, shrub, and forb propagation and seed harvesting that are sold through the Long Note Farm website starting in spring of 2017. Ms Cheswick also shares her experience and trialing efforts via print and workshop venues.

A lifelong gardener, Ms Cheswick has exercised her large-scale vision for a few decades in municipal gardens in Morristown and Bernardsville, NJ.  Highlights included rejuvenation of the century old yews in front of the Vail Mansion and orchestrating planting over 30,000 bulbs to celebrate some volunteer milestones. She added "Apiarist" to her portfolio 7 years ago.  and is currently a horticultural advisor for the Meadow Projects Committee for the NJ Beekeepers Association which advocates for improvement of late season forage for pollinators, especially honey bees.

Hilary Clayton earned her BS in Plant Science from Cook College, Rutgers University, in 1985. Following four years as an undergraduate laboratory assistant in the Plant Pathology department at Cook, she spent a year at the Plant Information Desk at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and three as a Christmas tree and small fruit grower with Jones’ Family Farms.

In 1989 she teamed with her husband, Michael, to work developing a private estate garden, The Hay, Honey Farm, in Far Hills. The garden was recently included in the book Gardens of the Garden State and is next open on Saturday, May 13, through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. As head gardener, Hilary oversees all manner of plant life at The Hay, Honey Farm, with a special emphasis on the perennials, flowering shrubs, and vegetables, and maintains the plant records. She is an active member of the North American Rock Garden Society, and currently serves as newsletter editor for the Watnong NARGS Chapter.  A frustrated painter, she finds gardening satisfies her needs to find and create beauty, and always enjoys talking about plants.


Susan Cohan, APLD is the principal of Susan Cohan Gardens, a boutique design studio which specializes in residential landscape design. She an award winning, nationally certified landscape designer and is well-known in the landscape and design communities for her design work and for her writing about design. Her residential landscapes for private clients and concept gardens are frequently published and have won numerous awards. Susan is a contributing editor to Garden Design, an American voice on the British Thinkingardens, as well writing about gardens and design since 2007 on her own blog Miss Rumphius’ Rules.

Susan left a successful career in the fashion industry and founded Susan Cohan Gardens in 2003 after earning a certificate in Garden Design from the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Gardens in London.  She is serves on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.  She teaches landscape design at County College of Morris, Bergen Community College and has been a lecturer at the New York Botanical Garden. 

Her latest work is a garden at the 2017 Mansion in May and she has one of her designs featured in the June 2017 issue of NJ Design.

David Culp is the creator of the gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. David has been lecturing about gardens nationwide for more than 15 years. His articles have appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Fine Gardening, Green Scene, and many other publications. 

He is a former contributing editor to Horticulture magazine and served as chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Hardy Plant Society.   David is Vice President for Sunny Border Nurseries in Connecticut. He is author of the book The Layered Garden published  by Timber Press An expert on, David is a herbaceous perennials instructor at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.  

He has developed the Brandywine Hybrid strain of hellebores, and was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise on snowdrops. His garden has been featured several times in  Martha Stewart Living and on HGTV.  Brandywine Cottage is listed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Gardens.  He is a recipient of the Distinguished Garden Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  He has also been awarded the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Award of Merit.  He serves on the Pennsylvania Horticultural Societies Gold Medal Plant Selection Committee.

Marta McDowell lives, writes and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. She shares her garden with her husband, Kirke Bent, their crested cockatiel, Sydney, and assorted wildlife. Her garden writing has appeared in popular publications such as Woman’s Day, Country Gardening and The New York Times. Scholars and specialists have read her essays on American authors and their horticultural interests in the journals Hortus and Arnoldia.

Marta's latest book, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, tells the tale of the plants and places of the beloved author of the Little House series. Timber Press published All the Presidents' Gardens, a book that relates the history of American gardening as seen through the White House grounds. It made The New York Times bestseller list and won an American Horticultural Society book award in 2017. Following the relationship between the pen and the trowel led Marta to children's author/illustrator Beatrix Potter and poet Emily Dickinson. Timber Press published Marta’s book, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, in 2013. It won the Gold Award from the Garden Writers Association in August 2014. Emily Dickinson’s Gardens was published by McGraw-Hill in 2005. If you visit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, you can stroll the grounds with a landscape audio tour that Marta scripted. She was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden's 2010 show, "Emily Dickinson's Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers," and worked with Chicago Botanic Garden's Lenhardt Library on a Beatrix Potter exhibit in 2016.

Marta teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden where she has been twice awarded "Instructor of the Year." A popular lecturer, she has been a featured speaker at locations ranging from the Arnold Arboretum to the Philadelphia Flower Show to the Beatrix Potter Society's Linder Lecture at the Sloane Club in London. With artist Yolanda Fundora, Marta wrote "A Garden Alphabetized (for your viewing pleasure)" in 2008. 

Marta interned at Wave Hill, Frelinghuysen Arboretum, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor in Devon, England and at the Chelsea Physic Garden. She worked as a horticulturist for five years at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. Marta is on the Board of the NJ Historical Garden Foundation at the Cross Estate in Bernardsville, NJ. She received the 2016 Annual Award from the Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Her garden is included in the Smithsonian's Archive of American Gardens.

Susan Ollinger is a landscape and garden designer certified by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). Since 1996, she has been creating custom landscape designs, and overseeing the installations for Sterling Horticultural Services. In addition to attending numerous workshops and conference tours in this country and in Europe, Susan has completed certificate courses at Rutgers University and Harvard Graduate School of Design. She also holds a degree in Landscape Design from County College of Morris.

Susan began her career in a retail nursery, managed private gardens, and served a two-year internship at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morristown, NJ. She has lectured to groups and adult schools in garden design and plant maintenance, and is a freelance garden writer, member of the Garden Writers Association. Susan served as president of APLD International in 2012, and founded the NJ chapter

Daryl Savage has been volunteering as a Master Gardener since 2009, and has been designing planters and containers professionally since 2011 for private clients and at multiple garden centers: Ridgefield Farms, Hamilton Farms & Fullerton Garden Center.  Her work has been featured in NJ Design magazine, the Springfest Garden show, and won prizes at the flower show at the NJ State Fair.  Her goal in design is to create beautiful, long-lasting, unusual plantings that become focal points in the home landscape to enjoy.

Daryl will be demonstrating container planting with plants available at the sale at pop ups at 10:30 and 2 on Saturday. Master Gardeners Gail Di Domenicao and Diane Lattanzio will be doing several pop ups on a variety of plants featured at out sale on Saturday and Sunday. See more details in the following article.

Marc Zukovich holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Botany from Drew University and certificates from Harvard Graduate School of Design and the New York Botanical Garden. Before founding Sterling Horticultural Services, Marc was a District Manager for Brickman Industries. Prior to that, he managed a 38-acre private estate in Alpine, NJ. Since 1990, Marc has managed the grounds of Honeywell Inc.’s World Headquarters, formerly AlliedSignal, in Morristown.

Marc also teaches classes in horticulture as an adjunct professor at County College of Morris, where he was recognized with the NISOD national award for teaching excellence. He frequently lectures for adult schools and community groups throughout New Jersey and his talks for the Friends at the arboretum are always popular and his next talk is on rhododendron on May 20.