A horticulturist whose interest in plant life and botany was developed while studying in nearby Stamford will present a program on "The Living Landscape" on Wednesday at the Darien Library.

Rick Darke, who has gone on to become an award-winning landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer, will speak at 7 p.m. The free program is co-sponsored by the Tree Conservancy of Darien, Darien Land Trust, Darien Nature Center, Darien Library and Friends of Selleck's Woods. The library is at 1441 Post Road.

Darke will discuss how an understanding of nature and relational biodiversity can be put to practical use in making and maintaining both home gardens and community landscapes, according to publicity for the program. He will explain the role plants play in the larger environment, such as providing berries for birds, food for bugs, or a place for bees to pollinate. Strategies for employing "organic architecture" in creating beautiful, conserving, highly functional layers will be presented in detail, program sponsors say.

Darke, now based in Pennsylvania, was inspired early in his career in Fairfield County. As an undergrad engineering student, Darke attended a course on summer flora at UConn's Stamford campus and the Bartlett Arboretum. He learned how to identify wild plants in Connecticut woods and fields and was moved to return to the University of Delaware as a botany major. According to Darke, this led to his 20-year career at the Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and his work in horticulture that has won awards, including the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society.

Darke has done independent design work and published in the field for more than two decades. His most recent book, "The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden," co-authored with Doug Tallamy, is a guide to designing a biodiverse home garden, according to a news release.

For more information, email info@treeconservancyofdarien.org.