Kathleen Connolly

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Old Saybrook, Connecticut

From meadows and native plants to lawns, foundation gardens, and deer resistance, Kathy Connolly's “lively and well prepared" talks are interactive and full of tips for successful land care. She offers innovative design ideas and helpful resources.

w: Kathy's Home Page

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e: view email Kathy@SpeakingofLandscapes.com


Kathy Connolly is a landscape designer, garden writer, and speaker from Old Saybrook, CT. She gives about 25 talks each year for master gardeners, garden clubs, libraries, community groups, conservation associations, and others. 

Kathy is also a columnist for The Day community newspapers in southeastern Connecticut, reaching more than 150,000 homes each week. She is the former editor for The Spruce (formerly About.com)  lawns and lawn alternatives. She writes on horticulture and landscape ecology for several other newsletters, magazines, and websites as well.

Kathy has a master’s degree from the Conway School Graduate Program in Landscape Planning and Design, as well as an Advanced Master Gardener certificate. She is an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional through the Northeast Organic Farming Association, a member of the Ecological Landscaping Association, GardenComm for Garden Communicators, Native Plant Trust, Connecticut Forest and Park Association, as well as the land trust in her town of Old Saybrook, CT. 

See Kathy's recent articles.



"Five Ways to Cover Ground and Give the Lawnmower a Rest"

Grassy lawns are the single most popular ground cover, but they are not always the best cover for a location or the easiest to maintain. In this talk, Kathy Connolly talks about ways to cover ground with a variety of low-growing, durable groundcovers, from sedum and moss, to low-mow lawn mixes, shrubs, and flowering meadows. One-hour and two-hour formats.

"Grow a Meadow, Large or Small"

Many people love the beauty of a flowering field, but when they tried to grow a meadow they were disappointed. In this talk, Kathy Connolly explores the establishment and care of a successful meadow. She defines the terms, discusses meadow ecology, the role of native species, and explains the steps a would-be meadow grower can take from June to December to start a new meadow or encourage an existing one. 

"Waterwise Landscaping for Healthier Lakes and Rivers" 

Rain gardens and waterside buffer gardens are a joy to see, but beauty is only where their benefits begin. If properly designed, these gardens provide important stormwater management services. They protect water bodies from polluted runoff and help control erosion. When designed with native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees, waterside gardens provide extraordinary support for native birds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife. This one-hour presentation offers an introduction to how we can use flowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs to manage stormwater. Topics: Definition of buffer gardens, beneficial functions they provide, the roles of roots and leaves, site selection and site preparation, plant selection, and installation.

"Native Plants for the Home & Community"

Native plants have a critical role in the regional web of life--and our backyards may be their last, best hope in some cases. Far from lacking in beauty, these sturdy botanical citizens are often hiding in plain sight at our garden centers. In this presentation, Kathy defines native plants, shows why they are important, and offers extensive lists for the regional home or community garden.

"Foundation Gardens That Say 'Welcome Home' to Native Plants"

Are there ways to get greater satisfaction from your home landscape, improve landscape ecology, and increase the value of your home? Research points towards some possibilities, most of them centered around foundation gardens and entryways. Learn how to bring beautiful native plants into the traditional bastions of boxwoods and pachysandra. Take a new look at some of the fundamental problems posed by planting near buildings.  An extensive handout will include lists of plants and design resources. Available in a one-hour and two-hour format.

See a recent video from Kathy's 2018 tour of southern Connecticut meadows: https://vimeo.com/303306388. .



Old Saybrook, CT

Photo Gallery

  • Kathy Connolly speaking to Southbury Land Trust
  • Kathy Connolly speaking to garden club
  • Kathy Connolly on a garden coaching visit.
  • All-native garden at Lake Hayward, East Haddam, CT

Click here for Slideshow. You can also click on any of the photos to start slideshow.

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Audience Reviews

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Fantastic class!

Susan Denham from Arlington, MA - 03/23/2019 22:43:50

I attended Kathy’s day-long “Meadows 1, 2, 3” class sponsored by the New England Wildflower Society. We’ve all sat through disappointing lectures and lackluster presentations, so my expectations were modest. To my delight, Kathy’s highly engaging session was easily one of the best I’ve seen in a lifetime of presentations. Her lecture was clear, logical, and superbly organized; her delivery was crisp, witty, and chock-a-block full of the findings of wide ranging formal and academic studies interlaced with practical, hard won tips. She ran a terrific day with gusto and passion for her subject. Highly recommended without reservation!

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She Has It all

Sarah Torff from Guilford, CT - 03/19/2018 09:59:51

Kathy is a wonderful speaker: down to earth, knowledgeable and to the point. Her PP slides are clear, concise and very helpful in understanding some of the challenges as well as possibilities of establishing a meadow and/or working with native plants. This woman knows her stuff and is willing to work with people and their landscapes "where they are."

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Engaging, Top Notch Presentation

Jane Mignone, Barrington Garden Club from Barrington, RI - 02/24/2017 08:23:08

Kathy’s knowledge and passion for landscape design was evident during her ground cover presentation to our garden club last week. Kathy is a dynamic speaker: she was engaging, interesting, and reached out to all levels of gardeners in our large group. She was well prepared and imparted a wealth of information accompanied by many lovely photos. Kathy appears to keep very current and up to date in her field. She shared many new developments in ground covers and provided detailed resource handouts. She has a great website and blog too. Her organizational skills and professionalism were impressive, from initial contact right through her presentation and email follow ups.
All in all, Kathy gave a top notch presentation!

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