As the conversation continued, the guests began to delve deeper into the topic of native plants in North America. Christopher Lloyd spoke of his own travels across the continent and the incredible diversity of flora he had encountered. "It's really quite astonishing," he said, "the sheer number of plant species that are native to this continent. And yet, so few of them are being used in gardens."
Beth Chatto nodded in agreement. "It's a shame, really. There are so many wonderful native plants that are just waiting to be discovered and appreciated by gardeners."
Piet Oudolf added his own thoughts on the matter. "But we must be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that all native plants are automatically good garden plants. We need to select those that are well-behaved and will thrive in a garden setting."
Lady Bird Johnson, who was a tireless advocate for native plants in her own right, spoke up. "I couldn't agree more. But we also need to change the way people think about their landscapes. We need to encourage them to see the beauty in the wild and untamed, to embrace the natural world and work with it, rather than against it."
William Robinson, who was known for his advocacy of the wild garden style, nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, and it's up to us as designers to lead the way. We need to create gardens that are not only beautiful, but also functional and sustainable, that work with the local ecosystem rather than against it."
As the discussion continued, the guests shared stories of their own experiences with native plants, from the rocky outcrops of the Appalachians to the vast prairies of the Midwest. They talked about the importance of preserving local ecosystems and creating gardens that support biodiversity.
Piet Oudolf spoke of his own work in the High Line in New York City, where he had used a mix of native and non-native plants to create a dynamic and sustainable garden that celebrated the natural history of the area. Lady Bird Johnson shared her own experiences with the wildflowers of Texas and the important role they played in preserving the local ecosystem.
Beth Chatto, who had spent her career championing the use of native plants in gardens, spoke passionately about the need to educate the next generation of gardeners about the importance of sustainability and biodiversity. "We need to inspire young people to see the beauty in the natural world, to get them excited about planting gardens that are both beautiful and functional."
As the sun began to set over the garden, the guests continued their discussion, exchanging ideas and sharing their own visions for the future of gardening in North America. They all agreed on one thing: that the beauty and diversity of native plants was something that should be celebrated and shared with the world. They raised their glasses in a toast to the power of plants to transform our lives and our landscapes, and to the endless possibilities that lay ahead.