Join the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Program for a lecture from speaker and author Abra Lee! Register here.

It was nothing short of a grand affair when Blanche Hurston, sister-in-law of Zora Neale Hurston, launched her Florida floral business during the roaring twenties. And when it came time to sell her beautiful blooms, the mighty Mahalia Jackson made customers an offer they just couldn’t refuse! From the ordinary to the extraordinary, join in as we lift the voices of historic Black Americans in horticulture.

Abra Lee is a speaker, writer, and founder of Conquer the Soil a community that combines history, art, fashion, and culture to raise awareness of ornamental horticulture. She has spent a whole lotta time in the dirt as a municipal arborist, extension agent, airport landscape manager, and more. Lee is a graduate of Auburn University College of Agriculture and an alumna of the Longwood Gardens Society of Fellows, a global network of public horticulture professionals.