Midwest Regional


2019 Midwest Regional Symposium

Back to Basics

 February 2, 2019

The Morton Arboretum

Lisle, IL


Registration for this event is closed.


The Perennial Plant Association and The Morton Arboretum are teaming up to offer a day-long symposium entitled, ‘Back to Basics.’  Some of the best writers and most knowledgeable experts in the business will be here, and you’re invited to listen, learn, and ask questions.  Horticulture professionals and garden enthusiasts can meet well-known authors, discover great plants, and get ideas and inspiration for the 2019 growing season.


PPA members should call the Arboretum Registar’s Office at 630-719-2468 to receive the member rate of $96.  The fee includes light morning refreshments, a buffet lunch, and all program materials.  Limited to 150 participants!



Speakers include:


Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD, Bobbie’s Green Thumb presenting “A Landscape Artist’s Perspective on Perennial Garden Design”


For years, perennial gardens were designed as side by side blocks of color.  Over the past ten to fifteen years, these designs, with European influences, have become more impressionistic.  In addition, more importance is being given to foliage, deadheads, and lengthening the seasons of interest.  The degree of maintenance is also affected by these changes in design and by plant selection.


Bobbie Schwartz is a certified landscape designer in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  A life-long obsessed gardener and a landscape designer for 40 years, she is the owner of Bobbie’s Green Thumb, a full-time business focusing on landscape design, consultation, installation, and maintenance of residential properties.  Since 1988, she has been lecturing locally and nationally on various aspects of garden design and gardening with perennials and grasses.  She writes extensively for various associations and magazines and is the author of Garden Renovation: Transform Your Yard into the Garden of Your Dreams.



Todd Jacobson, The Morton Arboretum presenting “Intriguing Woody Bones for the Perennial Border”


Although perennial borders can offer beautiful sweeps of colorful blooms complemented by a wide array of interesting foliage textures, neglecting to add woody accents tot he border is a missed opportunity to provide the much needed structure a garden yearns for!  Explore intriguing tree and shrub selections that make for captivating accents in the perennial garden, whether it’s their ability to provide complimentary blooms, extend the season of interest, create focal points, or even provide a backdrop for seasonal perennial color.


Todd is currently Head of Horticulture at The Morton Arboretum, where he has worked since 2003.  He oversees the Arboretum’s horticultural displays, arborists, lawn care, and snow removal operations, and is actively involved in perennial evaluation.  He has been in the field of horticulture since graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in ornamental horticulture.  Since then he has gained experience in a number of different green sectors, including interiorscape maintenance, park maintenance, landscape/hardscape installation, municipal landscape design & planning, and public garden grounds management.  He’s been an ISA Certified Arborist since 1997 and is crazy about his Chicago Cubs!



Susan Martin with Gardener Sue’s News presenting “Lessons Learned Under the Trees”


Shade.  Most of us have it, but many of us are unsure what to do with it.  Over a decade of experience gardening in every degree of shade near the Lake Michigan shoreline has taught Susan many lessons and ignited her passion for shade gardening.  Much of what she has learned, you’ll never find in books about shade gardening, and she’s ready too share the inside scoop.  Learn how to take advantage of the conditions you have, not those you wish you had, and discover life beyond host as in the shade garden.


Susan Martin is an avid gardener, writer, marketer and speaker for gardening audiences across the U.S.  She has spent nearly two decades in the Horticulture Industry working in new plant development, garden design, communications, sales and marketing, including over a decade in management at the largest wholesale grower of bare root perennials in the United States.  Susan finds her calling in spreading the joy of gardening to her fellow gardeners, a love which was instilled in her by her parents.  She is a native of Michigan where she has been digging in the dirt since age four.  Follow her on Facebook at Gardener Sue’s News.



Jim Ault, Ph.D., Chicago Botanic Garden presenting “Perennial Plant Breeding and Development at Chicago Botanic Garden”


Jim Ault, Ph.D., has been the Director of Ornamental Plant Research at Chicago Botanic Garden for 23-plus years.  As the Garden’s plant breeder he develops new perennial plants for garden use in the upper Midwest and in comparative climates elsewhere.  Jim hybridizes mostly with North American native taxa such as Aster, Baptisia, Echinacea, Phlox, and Vernonia.  He also manages the Chicagoland Grows plant introduction program; participates in plant exploration; manages the Garden’s tissue culture lab; and will be curating the Garden’s nascent orchid collection.  Not getting enough of plants at work, he is also an avid gardener with a greenhouse full of orchids and a backyard full of lilies (Lilium).



Laura Deeter, Ph.D., Ohio State ATI presenting “All Gardens Great and Small”


A lighthearted romp through landscape design, discussing the follies, foibles, fun, and fantastic things we all do in our gardens!


Laura Deeter received her PhD in horticulture from The Ohio State University after studying road-salt tolerance in herbaceous perennials under Dr. Steve Still.  She is currently a Full Professor of Horticulture at The Ohio State ATI in Wooster, OH teaching a multitude of horticulture classes.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her teaching and service to gardening, and travels extensively around the country speaking on a variety of gardening topics.  At home she gardens on her tenth of an acre with her hubby, three dogs, 100 pink flamingos and counts her 300+ species of perennials as dear friends.

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