North Carolina Botanical Garden


Annual Jenny Elder Fitch Memorial Lecture:
North Carolina: Land of Water, Land of Sky

with Bland Simpson, UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing, Author, Musician

The registration period has closed for this event.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

5:30 PM-6:30 PM

Location: Hybrid - Virtual and In-person attendance options (see below for more information)

Free; preregistration required

This program will be delivered in a hybrid format.


In-person option: A limited number of seats will be available in the Reeves Auditorium, with masks required indoors. Please register all members of your party separately to ensure we have enough seats. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture. 


Virtual option: We will stream the lecture live via Zoom Webinar. Links for accessing the program will be emailed to registered participants in advance of the program.


Additional copies of the signed book will be available at our Garden Shop after the lecture.



During this special lecture, Bland Simpson will read from and speak about his new book, North Carolina: Land of Water, Land of SkyHe will be joined by photographer-collaborator Ann Cary Simpson, who will also show and discuss some of her work that appears in the book.


About the book, as described by UNC Press:

Bland Simpson, the celebrated bard of North Carolina's sound country, has blended history, observation of nature, and personal narrative in many books to chronicle the people and places of eastern Carolina. Yet he has spent much of his life in the state's Piedmont, with regular travels into its western mountains. Here, for the first time, Simpson brings his distinctive voice and way of seeing to bear on the entirety of his home state, combining storytelling and travelogue to create a portrait of the Old North State with care and humor.


Three of the state's finest the journey: Simpson's wife and creative partner, Ann Cary Simpson, professional photographer Scott Taylor, and writer and naturalist Tom Earnhardt. Their photos, combined with Simpson's rich narrative, will inspire readers to consider not only what North Carolina has been and what it is but also what we hope it will be. This book belongs on the shelf of longtime residents, newcomers, and visitors alike.



Registration ends: 11/7/2021 5:00 PM

About the Speaker

Bland Simpson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also pianist for The Red Clay Ramblers, the Tony Award–winning string band. In 2005 he received the North Carolina Award, the state's highest civilian honor.

About the Annual Jenny Elder Fitch Memorial Lecture

Named in memory of Jenny Fitch, local plant enthusiast and passionate gardener, the Jenny Elder Fitch Memorial Lecture takes place each fall. Mrs. Fitch passed away in 1995. The endowment for the lecture series was graciously donated by her husband, R.B. Fitch, in 1997 after friends and family sent scores of memorial gifts to the Garden. We have been able to bring a renowned gardener or horticulturist to Chapel Hill each year since 1999 to present the Jenny Fitch lecture.

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The Book


This program will be offered online via Zoom Webinar. More details will be provided a few days before the event.