Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 9, in the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St. Grant Stephenson, founder of Horticultural Consultants Inc. in Houston and an expert on cold-hardy palms, bamboo and cycads, will present, “Understanding Palms to Understand Their Needs to Thrive in the Landscape.”
With more than 30 years experience in the nursery industry, Stephenson is particularly focused on varieties that thrive in the Gulf Coast climate. His fascination with the plant world began when he was 3 years old while working alongside his grandmother in her gardens.
Stephenson later started working in the horticultural industry and began studying landscape architecture and design. In 1991, he founded Horticultural Consultants Inc., a wholesale nursery supplying collector-quality specimen plant material and offering expert horticulture consultation. HCI is now the preferred supplier of palms and other tropical plants for the nation’s most demanding landscape projects.
Stephenson has acquired palms throughout the world and maintains active relationships with botanists, growers and plant enthusiasts worldwide. Botanical gardens, estates, private collectors, zoos, amusement parks, landscape architects, developers, arboretums and top landscape contractors look to him for his expertise. He is continuously sought after to identify problems and solutions in the area of cold-hardy palms, bamboo and cycads.
In the mid-1980s, Stephenson became a commercial and lifetime member of the International Palm Society. In May 2008, he was elected to the society’s Board of Directors where he has served for the past four years. He holds a U.S. patent on the Oasis Palm Tree Anchoring Systems, along with the Oasis Palm Cart, which is used for moving large specimens weighing up to 4,500 pounds by hand.
Stephenson lives in the Austin area with his family and is currently focusing on consulting as well as appraising palms for damage caused by fire and other weather-related events.
The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month and includes a rare-plant raffle after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series fund are always appreciated.
Parking is available at nearby Raguet Elementary School, located at 2428 Raguet St., with continual shuttle service to the Brundrett Conservation Education Building.