Speakers Tour Fall 2015 West

 I am pleased to announce Jerry Kral as the NARGS Speakers Tour Fall 2015 West speaker.  He will be traveling Western North America for eighteen days in October, 2015. A list of topics can be found  at the bottom of this site.  Jerry is well versed in Conifers, utilization of rock and rock construction in the garden, garden design and esthetic utilization of plant materials.  His presentations are enjoyable and informative, generally based on experience.  For an example of Jerry's passion visit the American Conifer Society Home Page.

For information and scheduling contact Harold Peachey.


Jerry Kral

Jerry attended Cornell University from 1958 to 1962 majoring in Agricultural Science. Two years of dairy farming in Wyoming County ensued. This did not do much for Jerry’s social life. Jerry slowly phased out of farming while attending Geneseo State University and obtained his Permanent Secondary Science Teaching Certificate. He taught High School Science at Hilton until he retired in 1993.

Jerry and his wife, Karen, purchased 900 Winton Road in 1993 and began “Jerry & Karen’s Garden”. Within 3 years Jerry was giving regular garden tours. He became a Master Gardener in 1996. He was on the originating committee of the very successful Gathering of Gardeners (GOG) Symposia and is still an active committee member. GOG has featured such luminaries as Dan Hinkley, Tony Avent and Michael Dirr.

Jerry is an active member of the American Conifer Society( ACS) and served as a member of their Board of Directors for 6 years. He currently organizes the ACS -NE Regional auctions and serves on the National Scholarship Committee of the ACS as its chair.

Jerry is also president of Rochester’s largest plant society (The Greater Rochester Perennial Society) with 150 members and entering its 17 year.

Acquisition and subdivision of surrounding properties continues and the garden is now almost an acre within the city limits of Rochester. Jerry & Karen’s Garden has been featured in the WXXI Show, The secret Gardens of Rochester, Upstate Gardeners Journal, The D&C, and The Conifer Quarterly. The 2008 Fall Issue of “garden ideas & outdoor living”, a national special media publication of Better Homes and Gardens, featured 10 pages of parts of Jerry & Karen’s garden. Fine Gardening has several photographs of Jerry’s Garden (Go to the FG web page, click on design, then click on shade or trees and the pics will be under the article, “Conifers For Shade”.)

Jerry & Karen actively support Cornell Cooperative Extension (GOG underwriting), Rochester Civic Garden Center (scholarships and symposia underwriting) and The Dutch Connection at George Eastman House ( “Dutch Connection” underwriting).

Jerry and Karen’s garden is considered the most visited private garden in the Rochester area. Over 600 people toured the gardens in 2013. The gardens consist of at least fifty garden rooms inter-connected by over a half-mile of stone pathway. Unique sculpture and other touches of whimsy greet visitors as they walk the paths. Fountains, fish ponds, waterfalls and giant hypertufa mushrooms add to the unique flavor of this garden. The garden features unusual “sitting nooks” with colorful polywood rockers, gliders and benches.

The “new Garden” has turned into a 12,000 square foot walk through rock garden featuring many unique styles of rock gardens from classic, to tufa crevice to just plain “edgy”. The emphasis is always on the aesthetic with over 300 conifer cultivars adding backbone to the many rock garden plants displayed.

Jerry has given many slide presentations to local and regional garden clubs including 2 presentations for the NARGS (Adirondack Chapter) at Cornell University. 

    A sometimes “edgy” and/or cutting edge slides show presentation. The presentation explores why we do rock gardens (some reasons are obvious but some may not be). Different styles of rock gardens are explored including some still evolving. Ways to make your rock gardens look better and present your plant treasures in the best possible “frames”. Basic construction, rock placement and copying nature when building your own are covered in a non-technical style. The presentation usually takes an hour but can be lengthened or shortened as desired.
    Conifers; What Every Well Dressed Rock Garden Is Wearing
    Conifers can add an aesthetic to a rock garden impossible to achieve with other plants. This slide presentation introduces an exciting new way to plant conifers so that you can enjoy them even in the tiniest crevice or ledge. Selection of plant material is critical. Fortunately, today’s conifer palette offers dozens of conifers that will fit even the smallest rockery. The presentation will show dozens of selected cultivars offering enough variety of size, color, texture and form to please the most discriminating tastes. The presentation usually takes an hour but can be adjusted.
    So You Think You Know Your Conifers
    Every year at least 100 new conifer cultivars are introduced. This presentation tries to make sense of this incredible palette. The American Conifer Society (ACS) size and growth expectations are explored and its limitations addressed. What you should really pay “attention” to is the primary focus of this presentation. Special attention is given to the genetic “miniatures” as these are ideally suited for rock gardens. Some “tricks” borrowed from bonsai cultivation are explored. That being said, some of the best conifers for any size rock garden will be identified and the reasons “why”. Presentation length can be adjusted.
    Want A Lush Garden?
    This presentation explores a few “tricks” anyone can use to give your garden that “wow” appearance. Using raised beds and rock gardens can triple your plant density creating a “layered” effect that can enhance your garden’s overall botanical delights. The correct use of special conifers is “key” to adding the “lush” factor to your plantings. Conifers can add drama when almost everything else is dormant. Presentation length can be adjusted.
    No Room Or Lots Of Room…Container Rockeries Fit It All
    All kinds of containers are explored with their good qualities and bad. The correct container with the right plants can add as much to your landscape as a large specimen plant or rockery (with some advantages). Conifer miniatures and dwarfs are ideal for this restricted space form of gardening. Add a few select rocks and you have a small-scale rockery that can go for decades before needing any adjustment. It’s all in how you do it and where you put it. What is the biggest advantage of a container? You can move it! Presentation length can be adjusted.
    Gardening Is A Fine Art; Why Stop With Just Your Plants?
    In a way creating a rock garden is much like doing a painting. Instead of using oil on canvas, rocks and plants are structured on soil within a frame to make a nice picture. This presentation covers using “Objet d’art” to add whimsy, style, and comfort to your rockery. Modern artisans are using both classical and cutting-edge materials to inspire your secret passions. What to avoid and what to embrace is explored. Colorful polywood furniture, birdhouses, weather vanes, statuary, and reflective objects are just a few ways to personalize your garden and put a smile on the faces of visitors. Even using your rocks as a piece of a sculpture can add that final note of delight to your garden picture. Presentation length can be adjusted.
This speaker has appeared in the following programs:
  • Speakers Tour


The Speakers' Tour is arranged by Harold Peachey, who can be reached by email or phone: 1 315-480-0978