Benjamin Futa

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South Bend, Indiana 46614

With more than ten years leading public gardens and a lifetime tinkering with plants, I am a passionate planting designer who prioritizes ecology, resiliency, and four-season interest through exceptional planting design.

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Embracing the Culture in Horticulture

In a time of climate change and rapid cultural transformation, the horticulturist of the future must embrace the culture of horticulture in tandem with the art and science of growing plants. To stay relevant in a changing world, our gardens – and gardeners – have an opportunity to cultivate spaces that are more than simply the sum of their plants. These spaces also can embrace their potential to cultivate, sustain, and foster diverse elements of healthy and resilient communities. Doors open when we think in terms of “and” rather than “or.” 

In this talk, discover how one University public garden, the Allen Centennial Garden at UW-Madison, successfully engaged its campus community of students, staff, and faculty to foster a community of passionate plant lovers and future horticultural leaders.


Brown is a Color, Too

Late fall and early winter are not typically considered a time of excitement in the garden, yet there's still so much to see and experience. This presentation explores inspirational plant combinations and maintenance methods for enhancing a garden in November and beyond.


Building a Bulb Lawn

This practical, step-by-step presentation will illustrate how to create a beautiful bulb lawn - an arrangement of bulbs planted in a lawn that can delight throughout the season.


Principles of Planting Design with Perennials

Durable, multi-faceted, resilient: perennials have it all. The eternal quest in garden design is to create a garden with consistent interest year-round, and perennials can play that role. This presentation will demystify the design process, empowering you to create your most captivating garden.


The Ecological Garden

Our gardens represent a partnership with nature. In the face of challenges posed by climate change, how we garden is changing rapidly. Explore tools and strategies that will allow your garden to be more resilient, productive, and rewarding through developing our partnerships with nature.

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Audience Reviews

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One of Our Most Popular Presenters Year After Year

Kristin Korevec from Madison, WI - 03/25/2021 08:29:01

Ben is one of our most popular and engaging speakers at PBS Wisconsin's Garden & Landscape Expo year after year. His presentations consistently draw record crowds and rave reviews. He's innovative, eloquent, engaging, passionate and such an effective communicator. Ben is extraordinarily talented.

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Engaging and motivational

Jane Cramer from Madison, WI - 09/07/2020 13:16:34

Ben is a visionary and innovative gardener who believes passionately that “gardens will save the world”. I have heard Ben speak on the air and in person a number of times and have always come away armed with novel ideas and a broader perspective about what a garden can and should be. He is up-to-date on the latest design principles and is always seeking ways to make the garden a healthier, more resilient and meaningful place. Ben also believes that plants are a medium for building relationships among the people and communities around them. He speaks with such energy and enthusiasm that you will leave the presentation itching to get back into your own garden to put his ideas to work!

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Making Gardening Equitable and Relevant

Karla Geiger from Greendale - 09/02/2020 10:41:08

When Ben spoke to our Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteer group, he helped us realize that gardens connect all of us. Public gardens have such impact and relevance in our society and communities. Powerful speaker!!

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