Kelly Norris

Kelly D. Norris is one of the leading horticulturists of his generation. As a planting designer in public and private space, he explores the intersections of people, plants and place through ecological, site-specific design and art. An award-winning author and plantsman, Kelly’s work in gardens has been featured in The New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Fine Gardening, Garden Design and in numerous television, radio and digital media appearances. His most recent book New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient, Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden debuted in January 2021 from Cool Springs Press.

He is the former director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, where for 8 years he directed efforts in design, curation, programming, garden and facility management after serving as the owner’s representative to nearly $20 million in capital projects.

In addition to his latest volume, Kelly has authored three other books: Iowa Gardener’s Travel Guide (2008), A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts (2012; winner of the 2013 American Horticultural Society Book Award), and Plants With Style (2015).

Kelly has earned recognition from a variety of organizations including early career and young professional awards from the Perennial Plant Association (2011), GardenComm (2018) and the American Horticultural Society (2018); a Zone Horticulture Commendation from the Garden Club of America (2018); the Iowa Author Award for Special Interest Writing (2013), the youngest Iowan to be recognized in the history of the awards program; and a fellowship from the Chanticleer Foundation (2015) for his curatorial and plant exploration work at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Kelly holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in horticulture from Iowa State University.

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