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I'm grateful for these generous reviews and I'd like to share them with you -


Lesley's talks are thoroughly researched and conveyed in an engaging manner - she's a great speaker with a range of interesting presentations.

Heather Emelander, President, The Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum


Lesley Parness is delighting garden clubs throughout the Garden State with her inspired programs taking us back in time via her entertaining, historically accurate

accounts of gardening through the ages. Seek her out for fascinating, memorable programs.

Jeannie Geremia, President, The Garden Club of New Jersey


Lesley Parness is always a delight to work with personally and professionally.  She is a great draw for program audiences with her lectures.  I would         recommend her for any library.

Donnella Tillery, Manager of Adult Programs, Chester NJ Public Library


Our library patrons love Lesley's talk and they always get rave reviews.  She is a consumate professional and a pleasure to work with. 

Marcela Dunham, Program Coordinator, Somerset County NJ Library System


Josephine: The Empress Gardened


The talk about your talk still hasn't died down! Everyone loved hearing about Josephine, her life and gardens and roses. Thank you so much for such an engaging and informative program and for sharing your scholarship and humor with us.

Ashley Formento, Program Chair, Contemporary Garden Club of Princeton


A fascinating combination of history, gardening & intrigue. We were spellbound!

Judy Snow, The Chrysanthemum Society, Hunterdon, N.J. Chapter


Through her lecture on Empress Josephine, Lesley Parness celebrated the life of this great lady.  In weaving together lore and history, Parness                engaged us with her passion, wealth of knowledge, and truly alluring speaking style.

Shauna Moore, Horticulture Supervisor, Somerset County Park Commission


Josephine – The Empress Gardened was a beautifully presented program , full of interesting history and horticultural information. Lesley Parness is an articulate, 

first class presenter who has done her research and has deep horticultural roots. 

Bonnie Joachim,Program Coordinator, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum



On behalf of the Short Hills Garden Club, I want to thank you for your terrific presentation on the indomitable Empress Josephine. It was both fun and                   informative and I will forever think of Napoleon Bonaparte as a "hot mess." Many members told me how much they learned and enjoyed it.

Diana Moriarity, Program Chair, The Short Hills Garden Club


Beyond the Potted Palm: How Victorians Gave Us House Plants

This was our second presentation by Lesley and no one was disappointed!                     

Lesley brings you back to the Victorian plant era with ease.  You settle in and enjoy her storytelling, the artful presentation, and snippets of great interest.         

We love her style, her love for plants and her carpet ride into the past!

Donna Faustini, Program Coordinator, Master Gardeners of Bergen County NJ


Thank you Lesley. Your presentation “Beyond the Potted Palms : Victorians and their Houseplants” was a magical journey through botany,                       history, culture, geography and artistry. Your meticulous attention to detail was rivaled only by your masterful exploration of the Victorian                         penchant for house plants.

Rupa Ranganathan, President, Garden Club of Mount Tabor



I cannot tell you how very much we enjoyed Lesley’s engaging talk entitled “Beyond the Potted Palm." Her style, the incredible history of the Victorian era, together with the magnificent slides that were so meticulously selected, all presented for a most completely interesting evening! What a great night!!!

Maddy Marziotta, Program Chair Woodbridge Garden Club


Medicinal Plants of the Civil War

From our members: "the speaker and her images were fabulous."

For myself, I point to this quote from William Faulkner: which exemplified Lesley's talk " The past is not dead, in fact, the past is not even past."

Richard Rosenthal, President, North Jersey Civil War Round Table


On behalf of the members of the MGBC, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for a most comprehensive presentation. It was fascinating, illuminating, and enchanting at the same time.

Smadar Shemmesh, Corresponding Secretary, Master Gardeners of Bergen County


Your talk sparked the curiosity of two Master Gardeners to pursue the topic of plants as medicine. One intends to write an article for our newsletter on a topic related to your talk and another is going to lead his committee in the creation of a garden that focuses on medicinal herbs and their use.

Pat Lagunas, Program Committee Co-Chair, Mercer County Master Gardeners


Lesley Parness is a masterful speaker and teacher. She wove the story of how medicinal plants were crucial to both sides during the Civil War against the backdrop of the shocking state of American medicine in the mid-19th century. The audience was fascinated - from beginning gardeners to a Phd in the history of medicine. 

Susan Newberry, President, Durand-Hedden House and Garden


Growing Great Garlic


Attendees at Lesley's garlic program found her mix of history and life experience fun and informative. They were eager to go forth and plant garlic, anticipating a great harvest next summer!

Cathy House, Duke Farms Community Garden Assistant, Hillsborough, NJ


You sure did fill up 2 hours with information on garlic! We left believing that garlic is the king of the garden! I never knew what I didn't know about garlic!

Attendees at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morristown, N.J.


A wonderful program for any gardener. Our Club members left Lesley's program ready to grow and harvest great garlic bulbs next Summer.

Arleen Carlson, Program Chair, Allentown NJ Garden Club


Drama Queens: Dark Beauties of the Garden


Thank you so much for your stunning presentation! I've had feedback from just about everyone on the Zoom call and they loved it! One picture was more fun or interesting than the next.  Our members were thrilled! You reviewed over 75 dark beauties including annuals, perennials, succulents, grasses, shrubs, and trees with fabulous photographs of gardens, sweeping landscapes and containers. Your wonderful presentation left us ready to run to the nurseries and catalogs. I highly recommend this program.

Pam Peters, President, Essex (CT) Garden Club


Lesley delighted the Maplewood Garden Club with her enchanting photographs of “Dark Beauties." Her comprehensive presentation left members wanting to incorporate these “Drama Queens” into their own gardens. I highly recommend this program.

Margo Greene, Program Chair, Maplewood Garden Club


Thank you for a delightful and extremely informative presentations.... it was terrific!

Valerie D'Antonio, President, Hoboken Garden Club


Thank you so much for your brilliant presentation.  It was so well thought out and expressed.  Also helpful were your suggestions for garden visits.

Susan Kaufmann, Program Chair, Garden Club of Bernardsville



A dynamic program filled with dramatic choices of dark, flowering beauties for your garden. With blooming ideas throughout the years, great slides and good site suggestions, Lesley covers a full range of plants to enhance any garden. From full sun to partial shade, there will be a plant sure to make your garden pop!

We Master Gardeners enjoyed her presentation tremendously and will make use of the knowledge she shared with us.

Gayle Williams, Program Chair, Monmouth County Master Gardeners



Gardening in the Age of Elizabeth I, or Bring the Bard to Your Yard


As a student of English history as well as an avid gardener, I found the presentation most enjoyable. There was much fascinating information about a dynamic period in garden history, and the plants that were being used at the time.

Sally Hemsen, Past President, The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum


I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on the Elizabethan garden. Your knowledge is extensive. I am legally blind therefore I really enjoyed your very descriptive narrative.

Ursula Rucki, - Program Committee Co-Chair, Montville Garden Club


Suitable for Framing: A Victorian Woman's Place in Botanic Art


Lesley is a delightful storyteller and historian. Always filled with her wry humor, her presentations never fail to delight. “Suitable for Framing” is filled with beautiful illustrations and photographs. It is a fascinating portrait of women’s contributions to the world of botanical art and a must for all lovers of horticulture, art and women!

Jenna Doscher - Program Manager, Hanson Park Conservancy


The information Lesley provided was fresh and enlightening. Lesley’s engaging manner set a tone of ease and intimacy with the viewers, even within the online context.  The graphics presented comprised a unique interface of illustrations, artist portraits, and aesthetically formatted text. 

Lesley’s vast knowledge and enthusiasm left us with a desire to learn more about these talented, brilliant women.

Anne Chmielewski, Program Co-Chair West Trenton Garden Club


The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Early American Women & their Kitchen Gardens


The Real Housewives Program was an inspiring glimpse into history. The beautiful pictures combined with Lesley's unique teaching style made me want to experiment with historical plants and appreciate all these women did to take care of their families. I look forward to visiting many of the garden sites Lesley recommended.

Melissa Almendinger - Community Garden Manager, Duke Farms


Thank you so much for the great presentation! I feel like my understanding of New Jersey history has been enriched in very important ways -

I will be happy to endorse you as a speaker to anyone!

Jennifer Miller - Adult Services Librarian, Scotch Plains Library


Thank you again for your terrific presentation on early American women and their kitchen gardens. We all learned so much

and were highly entertained.  What a great way to spend an afternoon!

Pat Wells - Chair and VP Historical Society of Chatham Township


We Grew it Here - One Hundred Years of New Jersey's Horticultural History


Lesley was engaging as well as informative. I learned so much about plants and the connection to New Jersey Jersey and I liked how the talk was broken into types of flowers, technologies, geo political and economic forces. The information was easy to understand by someone who is not really knowledgeable in the area of horticulture.  Thank you so much Lesley!

Cindy Warrick  - Senior Public Information Assistant, New Jersey State Library


A revelation! A vivid exhibition of New Jersey's gardening history, highlighting the work of a great cast of agricultural pioneers.

She recounts this with historic photos of their farms, sales brochures, and often their grand homes.

Our members thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Parness' presentation and it would be appreciated by any gardening-focused group.

Marcia Frifield - Program Chair, Women Garden of Ridgewood

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