Copyright 2022. Natural Selections Garden Design. All rights reserved.


Click on the Youtube video for a 'hello' from Michele


Natural Selections owner and principal designer, Michele Schuckel, is an experienced, organized and detail-oriented public speaker.

Please call or email for more information on any of the programs listed below or to inquire about reserving a date for your club or organization. Please see the Coronavirus Response tab for more about how we can work together to connect your group members to the gardening and horticultural resources as we learn to live with the "new normal" of life during and after the pandemic.

Please reach out to learn more or discuss dates and details: or (617) 417-0784

Gardening in a Changing Climate (New Program) Let’s get down to business here; the climate is changing. How are we going to keep up, stay in-the-know and adaptable? How can we, as gardeners and stewards of our beautiful New England advocate and protect our ecosystems while still finding beauty, peace, and joy in our plant-based passions? Let’s dive in! We’ll discuss rain gardens, vernal pools, an accelerating carbon cycle (natural forest floor decomposition), shifting planting zones, and more. Come away empowered to take actionable steps to make a difference in your own backyard!

Field to Fork: The Horticulture & Agriculture of the Food We Eat (Profits Donated to Combat Food Insecurity) The science, horticulture, and economics of where our food is grown and how it gets to our tables is fascinating! We’ll explore the origins of cultivated crops, what it means for products to be GMO (or not!) or Certified Organic and the nutrition science behind the plants we consume every day. Learn the back-story on the agritourism industry and the latest developments in sustainable farming. Think about plants in a new way!

Native Plants, Natural Selections: Survival of the Fittest for New England Gardens We’ll discuss using plant material native to New England in any garden (including containers!) The benefits of this practice include drawing pollinating insects and birds, seasonal weather tolerance, eco-friendly practices, and garden longevity. Includes a handout with native plants that your members can bring to the nursery and other great resources to make it easy to incorporate the ideas from the lecture into home gardens or municipal projects.

The Well-Traveled Bloom: The Cut Flower’s Journey from Ground to Vase (New Program) The flowers in your vase have had quite an adventure if you bought them at a store! Learn about how and where they are grown, treated, and shipped and the people that do the work and drive this 8-billion-dollar industry. We’ll dip into sustainability and how your choices as a consumer can shape planet-friendly options in the future.

Pollinator Magic: Draw Birds, Bees, Butterflies & Other Beneficials Do you know why flowers not feeders are better for hummingbirds? Consider the value of easy changes to your plant-material selection to draw native butterflies, hummingbirds, solitary bees, and songbirds to your garden. Learn about the declining populations of these beautiful creatures and how your backyard ecosystem can make a difference.

Composting: The Coolest Kind of Recycling (Hands-on/Lecture Combo if in Person) Learn about the benefits of both home and municipal composting, options for collection, the stages of decomposition/science behind the process and common pitfalls. The program will be customized to include information on group collection in your community. Participants will get an up-close look at compost at different stages of decomposition. Includes a handout for reference to make this practice easier to make a part of your home routine.

Winter in the Yard: Plants & Animals that Thrive & Survive in the Cold The quiet season for gardeners is anything but for the plants and animals outside your windows. Learn to appreciate the seasonal survival techniques of the animals in our yards and woods and the plants that best support them and provide you with four seasons of interest. This is a natural science-meets-garden design program that gets rave reviews from participants!

Weed ID: What the Weeds are Telling Us and How to Listen for Healthier Gardens (New Program) If weeds are growing in our gardens and lawns there is a reason. Rather than continually weeding, treating with herbicides, and laying mulch we can decode the message. Learn to change how we treat our soil and select plants to prevent them from growing where you don’t want them! 

Everyday Centerpieces: Brighten Your Home or Bring in a Few Friends Be sure to make time to celebrate the everyday and to connect with friends and family, especially mindful of the difficulties of COVID-living!  Consider quick-to-construct centerpieces and other ways to brighten your daily routine or next gathering with friends and family. Includes 3-4 opportunity drawing centerpieces for your club fundraising for a small additional fee.

The Botany of Beverages (Great Couples’ Event) Have you ever considered the horticultural origins of your favorite spirits? Explore plants of the world as we consider how roots, leaves, stalks, and flowers are made into alcohol and other adult beverage augmentations. Your event can include an optional cocktail tasting for a nominal per-person fee.

Healthy Gardeners: Mindfulness in the Garden & Elsewhere What better place to be present and mindful than in the garden. Learn practical wellness skills and come to understand the fundamentals of mindfulness that can be applied to daily life. This introduction to these healthful practices is designed to center on the gardener on wellbeing in a chaotic world.

Winter Blooms: Amaryllis & Paperwhites In this demonstration you will learn about the origin and history of amaryllis and paperwhites, tips for forcing and care, and creative ways to pot for beautiful arrangements from start to finish. Optional opportunity drawings available for your club fundraising. Offered November-January due to availability of bulbs.

Yankee Containers for Sun & Shade: Perennials, Native Plants, Herbs & Veggies Why Limit Yourself to Annuals?! Using seasonal combinations, we'll fill containers that can last multiple seasons. Plant material will be based on seasonal availability and could include evergreens, grasses, herbs, petite woody perennials, fern, vegetables, etc.

Pruning: Remove the Mystery (Available Outside & Distanced or Via Lecture/Demo/Workshop) Remove the mystery from pruning. Understand the science and theory behind when to prune, the tools to use and how to maintain them. Includes demonstration of the proper use of loppers and hand saws. Members can try techniques if we meet outdoors, or we can review inside for application later!

Homemade Wreaths & Swags: Learn to Make-Your-Own at this Holiday-Centric Workshop Learn how to do it yourself: Make wreaths, swags or garland using plant material harvested by members. Create easy (and beautiful!) bows, apply creative themes, and adornments. History of the holiday wreath included! Offered in November and December.

Small Group/Club Lecture or Demonstration $375 (under 30 members)
Large Group/Club Lecture or Demonstration $425 (over 31 members)
Conference/Symposium $725
*Workshops/tastings start at rates above with an additional, reasonable per person fee

  • Handouts, plant material/arrangements as applicable, and mileage inside Rt. 495 included, outside Rt. 495 mileage based on door-to-door Google Maps distance, reimbursable at Federal rate
  • Payment due at time of engagement/event or in advance via credit card or Venmo, if desired
  • Our contract serves as your club/organization invoice unless otherwise arranged
  • Having run a small garden club with a limited budget, and a large group, and working as a club speaker for many years I strive to be transparent and flexible. I understand the constraints of budgets, boards and community organizations.
  • Please contact me to discuss ways we can work together! Programs can be customized!
  • I will remain up to date with vaccination against COVID-19, happy to mask (or not) as local conditions and your location/club warrant
  • Let’s talk about opportunity drawings or ways to customize a program for your club!
  • Flexibility and backup dates around Coronavirus changes are okay; we’ll navigate this together!

Thanks for fostering connection and community for your clubs! 

Please reach out to learn more or discuss dates and details: or (617) 417-0784