I highly recommend an assessment from Bill (The Mad Botanist) before beginning any landscape or gardening work on your property. Even if you plan to hire contractors to do the work, have Bill assess your project first. You will have a better understanding of what is possible and how it should be done. You will also save money and time by avoiding unnecessary work and expensive mistakes. Bill started his assessment of my property by asking a lot of questions and listening carefully to what I was trying to accomplish. He helped me brainstorm solutions to landscaping problems including drainage, light, and soil conditions. He is an expert at matching plants to specific sites through both his scientific knowledge and gardening experience. He assessed my existing plants for health and placement and offered creative options for new plantings. He advised me on what work I could do myself and how to do it, but he also pointed me to good contractors for things I did not want to do or could not do. I saved over $1000 on tree work by using a contractor he recommended! Whether doing your own work or hiring contractors, have Bill help you think through your project first. His assessment fee is a steal for the knowledge, ideas, and savings you will gain from his visit. He even showed us how to tap our sugar maples.
CHRISTY J, NE Indy (May 2019)
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Bill McKnight (The Mad Botanist) speak at a local garden club meeting. The presentation (Common Gardening Mistakes) was entertaining and informative. Subsequently, my husband and I were inspired to hire him to do a garden consultation (an assessment) of our property. Two other garden consultants had recommended that chemicals should be our primary source for eradicating Asian honeysuckle and wintercreeper, so we were intrigued to hear from Bill and his more organic (mechanical) approach to managing invasive plant species. Bill walked the property with us taking time to identify plants, demonstrate his favorite tools and preferred methods, and answered our many questions. Bill is a wealth of plant knowledge and tells it like it is. We purchased his book which has also been invaluable. After only a few months and with the help from a small group of volunteers, we’ve been able to manually remove nearly an acre’s worth of the unwanted species -- WITHOUT chemicals. Bill continues to be a great resource to us and is there to remind us that “gardening is a process.” He even brought a treat for our cat!
ANONYMOUS, E Indy (Feb 2020)
If you have an opportunity to take a class with Bill, DO IT! Not only will you learn more than you can absorb in just one class, but you will also be entertained by his witty personality. His knowledge of plants and caring for Mother Earth is amazing. Highly recommended!
TONI, MACRI-REINER, E Indy (Oct 2020)
(Exactly one year after this sweet, talented grandmother and wonderful human submitted this statement, she was shot and killed in her home by a gang of white trash teens -- may they rot)
I drove by Bill’s property and became curious, so I googled The Mad Botanist. I then signed up for his class and bought a copy of his book. Thank goodness I did! He’s exactly who I was looking for. He knows it all!!! (and more), he’s fun to learn from and easy to understand. He gives it to you straight and the best advice to save money. My fiancé and I were overwhelmed with the needs of our first place. We have The Mad Botanist to thank for showing us the way.
BROOKE G, NE Indy (Oct 2020)
I drove by Bill’s property and saw the signs, “Mad Botanist” and the word of the month; decided to research. Wow! am I glad I did. The classes have been information overload about plants and gardening techniques -- fast paced and a little like drinking from a fire hose. We also have his book which is a wealth of knowledge and a great reference. Bill is PASSIONATE about botany and gardening and it shows. Also, his opinions and rants are GREAT; I love it when I find people that share similar thoughts, but they just say it!
DAVID (& JANEEN) W, W Indy (Nov 2020)
We recently bought and renovated a house that had expensive but tired landscaping. We are novices to all things related to plants. Luckily, someone referred us to Bill. He is teaching us how to maintain our plants, as well as what to remove and replacement ideas. He is able to see things that we can't. His book is fantastic, but having him provide advice while walking our property is such a treat and blessing. We have grown to love taking care of our plants and property. While he is a fantastic botanist and gardener, he is an even better person. We have really enjoyed getting to know and work with him.
MIKE & JODY M, N Indy (Jan 2021)
I discovered Bill McKnight quite serendipitously, when I drove by his house and was intrigued by his Mad Botanist sign. So glad I did. Getting to know Bill through classes, consultations and guided trips through Soules Garden has been a delight. If you haven't taken one of his classes I highly recommend you do so. Not only will you learn more than you thought possible but you will also be thoroughly entertained and nourished. Bill is an excellent cook and baker and usually provides delicious treats, as well as superb wine and beer at his classes. Bill has to be one of the most informed botanists in Indiana and delights in sharing his knowledge. Be prepared to be challenged, as Bill, a former educator, employs the Socratic method of teaching and will both question and answer questions. Every time we tour his three-acre garden we are enchanted as it changes weekly, with some plants even flowering in the winter. In addition to the fabulous ornamentals, I also discovered that we both enjoy growing heirloom tomatoes. Underneath his curmudgeonly style I have found Bill to be a man with a heart of gold and am so glad he is a part of my life.
JACK O, Geist IN (May 2023)