Garden Storyteller

Garden Storyteller


Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. - Native American proverb

Terry Karpen, Garden Storyteller, visits gardens all over the world. Her experiences have taught her that "every garden has a story." As windows into cultural expression throughout history, gardens are much more than pretty flowers and fragrant roses. Gardens mirror the architecture, art, literature, music, theater, religion, philosophy, and social and economic circumstances of their time and place. Terry is passionate about sharing her insights and discoveries. She brings to life unusual and seldom-visited public and private gardens with entertaining stories and beautiful slide images. The garden stories unfold compellingly as she takes you along on her journeys through New York, California, Spain, Italy, and beyond.

Terry is a speaker for garden clubs, social groups, library and continuing education programs, and her garden storyteller presentations are perennial favorites at the New York Botanical Garden.

For further information or requests for garden storytelling presentations, please contact Terry at 203.938.0684 or terry[at]

[A garden’s] function is essentially social: a garden is in effect a miniature Utopia, a diorama of how its makers see themselves and the world. Anyone who creates a garden draws a map of their mind on the ground, whether consciously or not. If we take the time to read them, carefully situating them in the matrix of architecture, art, literature, and social and economic circumstances in which they are embedded, gardens tell us about the wealth, power, status, sex lives, ethnicity, religion, politics, passions, aspirations, delusions, illusions, and dreams of their creators. Always rooted in their time and place, even the most unique gardens are indicators and traces of the tensions and energies in a constantly changing society. They can express political theories, aesthetic preoccupations, scientific and religious ideas, cultural inheritances, and sheer force of personality.
— Wade Graham, American Eden