The Kansas Native

Troy Marden is author of a book published this year by Cool Springs Press, “Plant This Instead — Better Plant Choices.” It is a guide to choosing prettier, hardier, longer-blooming, drought-tolerant and native plants. A carefully selected plant variety can give you all the enjoyment and curb appeal of a gorgeous, painstakingly tended garden but cost you a lot less work and heartache. He suggests lesser-known plants that will thrive naturally in various microclimates, featuring native and noninvasive plants, hardy alternatives to less sturdy species, new introductions and repeat bloomers.

His career began as a teenager working in a retail nursery and garden center near his hometown of Riley, Kansas. His college years at K-State found him focusing heavily on greenhouse management and production, eventually leading to internships at two of the country’s most esteemed public gardens, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, and Longwood Gardens, a former DuPont estate in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

For the past 20 years, Troy has called Nashville, Tennessee, home. He is watched each week by tens of thousands of viewers on Nashville Public Television’s gardening show “Volunteer Gardener.” His gardens, floral design, writing, and photography have appeared in regional and national gardening magazines, including Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Design, Southern Living and Tennessee Gardener.

For the Kansas City Garden Symposium, Marden plans to present two programs: “Plant This Instead!” and “A Passion for Plants: Marrying Garden Design with Plant Collecting.”