Testimonials

From people who have an insatiable urge to write about experiences, these quotes refer to Kirk R. Brown’s many appearances in a variety of strange clothes and unique hats.  His communications feature horticultural knowledge, humor, history, and an urge to be sustainable in all things:

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Frederick Law Olmsted, Keynote speaker, Landscape Architect

A standing-room-only crowd gather in Longwood Gardens Conservatory for an opening keynote address by Kirk R. Brown for the International Plant Propagator’s Society Conference

As Kirk has said to me ‘John [Bartram] usually gets all of the credit.’  I’ve seen Kirk as John Bartram, but this time I watched Kirk speaking as Kirk about the business of speaking.

While Kirk’s ‘in character’ presentations are amazing–well researched, funny, engaging–so are his presentations as himself.  Kirk is a smart speaker, has great pacing and information, and, most unusually, creates a new talk for EVERY SINGLE SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT. That’s incredibly special. Most people only slightly adjust their talks to fit the audience, but Kirk creates a special talk just for your group. I highly recommend him.”    —Katie Elzer-Peters

“In a potentially deadly panel on the business end of public speaking, Kirk kept the audience in stitches with stories from his experience and escapades.  The content was strong, and we were on the edge of our seats from the sheer hilarity of it all.  He made my day!”        —Kris Medic

Kirk R. Brown, Frederick Law Olmsted, Keynote speaker, Horticultural speaker

Kirk and his wife Sara, travel together a great deal to visit gardens, historic properties and world heritage sites. His keynote addresses have been presented internationally.

“I heard Kirk Brown present his John Bartram talk in Chicago at the annual DGA conference.  The first role of any presenter is to understand his audience.  Kirk certainly did that…and with lot’s of gusto!  He kept us attentive throughout his talk sensitively mixing humor and insightful historical references to his subject.  His strong visual presentation kept us hooked on his every word as he demonstrated an “old-world” like program with his captivating slides and a costume that each of us in the audience adored!  Plain and simple (as his Bartram character attested to in his life), Kirk Brown is a very good speaker that will entertain and educate any size garden group.”   —Paul Kelly

“In July of 2012, I lead a group 33 South Carolina gardeners on a visit to Bartram’s Garden and other horticultural points of interest in the Delaware Valley.  Kirk, as John Bartram, joined us for our first dinner and presented a program on John’s work and influence, as well as his garden, home and family life.  Simply put, it was a magical evening.  The program–part horticulture, part history and part theater–was mesmerizing.  It set the tone for our garden adventures yet to come, and it provided important background information and historical perspective for our journey.

On a more practical level, I would also like to say what a pleasure it was to work with Kirk.  As a speaker coordinator for many educational gardening programs in the Upstate of SC, I have no hesitation in recommending Kirk as a speaker.  He was easy to reach and responded promptly to all requests, he was knowledgeable and well prepared, and he was enthusiastic and engaging with his audience.  Kirk got top marks in my book and I look forward to working with him again in the future.”  —Marion St Clair

“Kirk’s strong point as a speaker is his ability to keep the audience engaged in the topic with his enthusiastic delivery and mastery of visual presentations.   Kirk passes on information in a fun manner so everyone leaves feeling they have spent their time wisely and learned in the process.”     —Myrene K. Brown

“You got the highest marks of any of our speakers in the evaluation questionnaire from the attendants.  We all had a wonderful time.”        —Pat Dygulski, Monmouth Museum

“It was great to meet the man who brings John Bartram alive.  Thank you for coming to Athens, GA.  You were great!  A teacher’s skill to be sure.  My best in life and the garden.”    —Michael Dirr, Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

John  Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Horticultural Speaker, Keynote address, Frederick Law Omsted

John Bartram, stage center, in one spotlight. His favorite position.

“Kirk’s portrayal of America’s first world-class plantsman is a masterful blend — passionate, humorous, moving, educational but never pedantic. Meticulous research and an obvious affection for the subject enables him to fully inhabit the role, not just the costume.  John Bartram took a skeptical audience first by surprise and then by storm.”    —-John Friel, Program Chair Perennial Plant Association

“Kirk Brown doesn’t just portray John Bartram— he IS John Bartram. His performance is remarkable, believable and most enjoyable. Bravo!”    —Robert LaGasse, Executive Director, Garden Writers Association

“If only history were taught with such significant information, tying specific incidents with the general atmosphere of the times, many students would pay much more attention!  The story of John Bartram as portrayed by Kirk Brown was easy to understand and was delivered with an ‘on the edge of your seat’ performance!”

“I’ve known Kirk Brown for many years as members of the Garden Writers Association. When Kirk is in costume as John Bartram, he IS John Bartram to the point that I forget he’s Kirk! Any audience from ages 9 to 90 will not only be captivated and entertained but will feel a part of our past as they walk back in time with John Bartram. What a wonderful way to learn history! I highly recommend Kirk Brown as a wonderful human being and as the historic gardener, John Bartram.”     —Brent and Becky Heath, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

“Kirk Brown did not imitate John Bartram, he actually became him. His gallery of pictures and quotes and his performance added up to an electrifying and edifying performance. Anyone who has an interest in history or horticulture will be spellbound by this presentation.”     —Stephanie Cohen  Author/lecturer

“John Bartram came back to life with a captivating lecture presented by his alter ego, Kirk Brown. The chain of history has a new link added with this lively presentation of Bartram’s botanical discoveries, complete with fascinating stories of his life and times.

Knowing that Bartram was of relatively modest means, Collinson urged him to dress appropriately for important meetings, so as not to reflect badly on Collinson.  Clearly, Kirk Brown took this under advisement when choosing his apparel for Philadelphia Botanical History, presented by John Bartram, presented to the PPA. It was very well received and given enthusiastic applause.”    —Judy Glattstein, Author/lecturer

“John Bartram may have passed away in the year of 1777, but I feel as if I know him.  Some of his wisdom has been imparted to me.  The greatest compliment I can give for this transcendent moment is that Kirk left me with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.”     —Jimmy Turner, Director, Horticultural Research Dallas Arboretum

“On behalf of the Friends of the Monmouth Museum I can’t thank you enough for coming to Bingham Hall and giving us such a wonderful presentation. Perhaps presentation is not the most accurate word, for we all felt as if we had been thrown back in time as we followed John Bartram over his lifetime.  It was ‘time traveling!’  It was such a lovely day and quite a success for The Friends. I feel it was one of the best programs that we have put together, and a great way to end our fund raising season.”    —Monica Ragolia, Chair, Friends of The Monmouth Museum

“I’ve seen Kirk do John Bartram on several occasions now, and each time, just when you think he couldn’t be more believable, it gets better. Most recently at Gardenwriters Symposium in Raleigh NC, Kirk did a performance and received a standing ovation. Of course we were already standing but seriously the applause seemed to never end. The Power Point Presentation that accompanies his performance is continually tweaked and is of a broadcast quality, something that you would expect from a production company at The Discovery Channel or The History Channel. If you have the opportunity to see this performance, do it, you will be impressed.”       —Barry Glick, Sunshine Farms and Gardens, Plant Collector Extraordinaire

“As a professional speaker myself, I have very high standards when it comes to public presentations. I want a talk to be concise, informative, humorous, well illustrated, perfectly paced, accessible to the entire audience, and whole-hearted. Kirk Brown’s John Bartram presentations are all of these and more. Kirk understands how to tailor a talk so that it’s meaningful to the group that he’s speaking to, yet he does this seamlessly and without pretense. He is amusing and quick to respond to his audience, always remaining in character. Audiences come away from one of Kirk’s John Bartram presentations with a better knowledge of horticulture and American history, and with inspirations and ideas that they can apply to their own lives and work.”     —C.L. Fornari, Speaker, Writer, Consultant, GardenLady.com

“I am so glad that John enjoyed himself.  He certainly charmed and delighted the 70 guests that attended yesterday’s event.  It was the first time in my many years of coordinating special events that I did not get one complaint!!!  They are looking forward to visiting John’s garden.  Thanks again.”       —Mary R. Suszkowski, Special Projects Coordinator, Monmouth Museum

“And John was the best of guests! Everyone loved your story, and for me, I was completely in the 18th century, for a while there I forgot where I was. Thank you.”    —Kathy Pojawa, Monmouth Museum

“If you ever have the opportunity to see Kirk Brown’s portrayal of John Bartram, grab it! The costume, the dramatics, the history, and the humor: it was a perfect kick-off for the conference. It was interesting to learn how Bartram arranged his expeditions (some fairly close to home, and others as far off as Florida – possibly to escape his family of 9 children?), and find out about the kinds of plants that his supporters back in England were interested in (magnolias and pines, especially). Here’s a great article about Kirk channeling John Bartram: Bringing a Legendary Gardener Back to Life”       —      Nancy Ondra, Gardening Gone Wild

“I would like to formally thank you for bringing John Bartram to life for us during your presentation on February 3.  It was an amazing presentation that had everyone in the audience enthralled.  It was fabulous to travel back in time and to have history literally come to life!  John is extremely fortunate to have someone so utterly devoted to telling his story, snake and all.  I know you broadened the knowledge of many of my coworkers and absolutely delighted the woman working on Franklinia at the National Arboretum!”        —Janet Draper, Smithsonian Institution

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