Monday Education

The 2019 Perennial Plant Association National Symposium in conjunction with All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau is offering a day of Pre-Conference Lectures on Monday, July 29!  The Pre-Conference Lectures are open to the public and are designed for interested home gardeners as well as professionals. 

Shortly after the lectures, join us at the hotel for an Evening Social from 6-7pm.

Connect: GardenComm @ PPA-AAS-NGB Symposium will meet at 7pm in the Chicago Fire Oven restaurant. GardenComm Members and those interested in learning more about GardenComm are welcome.


Pre-Conference Lectures - Chicago Gardens: Tall Grass to Today; Gateway to the Midwestern Prairie

Monday, July 29

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

$199 Early-Bird Rate / $249 Regular Rate


Education sessions include:


Going Native: A Balanced Perspective

Ed Lyon

A recent noble gardening trend is a movement focused on using native perennials, trees and shrubs in the home garden. However, most home landscapes have changed considerably from the cultural conditions that were originally indigenous to the site. The well-meaning push to support this movement tends to highlight the idyllic without education that addresses reality. Many worthy garden movements have failed due to oversimplifying information, resulting in unhappy homeowners who revert to a simpler form of gardening – or abandon gardening altogether - when these new trends fail to work.  Go native, what might this mean to you as professional and educator; what information should you provide your client? This talk will attempt to balance real-life challenges with the benefits of the native plant movement.


About the Speaker:

Ed Lyon is the Director of Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. He was formally Director, Allen Centennial Gardens, Madison, Wisconsin.  His public garden career includes serving as Symposia & Special Programs Coordinator for Chicago Botanic Garden, Director of Education for Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Executive Director for the Rotary Botanical Gardens.  /  Through Spellbound Garden Writing & Consultation, he writes and speaks for both public and professional audiences. He has written a book called "Growing the Midwest Garden for Timber Press, released May, 2015. He has written the “Ask the Expert” column for Wisconsin Gardening magazine as well as feature articles plus a regular regional report on southern Wisconsin for Chicagoland Gardening plus feature articles and continues to write for State-by-State Gardening. He teaches, lectures and has served as featured/keynote speaker for a number of conferences.  /  He is emphatic about focusing on gardening with regionalism as a primary focus.  Most importantly, he is an avid gardener with dirt under his fingernails.


Hardy Grasses and Perennial Companions

Richard Hawke

Perennial plants are the perfect companions to ornamental grasses, in traditional and naturalistic landscapes alike. Richard Hawke will present a variety of top-rated hardy grasses and companion perennials from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s trials.


About the Speaker:

Richard Hawke has a horticulture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been the Plant Evaluation Manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden since 1986. He is an instructor for the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, author of Plant Evaluation Notes, and an author and contributing editor for Fine Gardening. In 2005, Richard received the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award for teaching excellence. The Plant Evaluation Program received the Award for Program Excellence from the American Public Garden Association in 2008.  


Trends in Design: Then to Now

Kellie O’Brien


Plants for Birds

Randy Powers


Perennials and Bulbs for Pollinators

Jack DeVroomen


Tropicals for the Garden

Irvin Etienne

A garden can be perfectly nice filled only with hard plants. But why settle for perfectly nice when you can perfectly spectacular? A few (or a great many!) luscious tropicals can bring a bit of island paradise to the most landlocked cold-climate garden. It doesn't take a lot of money, work or time. In this presentation we will look at some of the best tropicals for dramatic color and texture to make a garden just a little more exotic. It will cover a bit on care and design as well. Irvin can't serve you a Mai Tai but he can show you how to create a perfect spot to have one!


About the Speaker:

Irvin is the Horticultural Display Coordinator for the Garden at Newfields (Indianapolis Museum of Art) where he has worked over 25 years. In that position he helps the Horticulturists with their plant selection and garden design as well as designing and maintaining his own areas. While working in the 152 acres of the Garden and grounds requires knowledge and skill with all manner of woody and herbaceous plants, Irvin lusts for and loves the tropical species most of all. He is the recipient of Gold and Silver awards in Electronic Media Writing from the Garden Writers Association for his blogging at the IMA. In addition to speaking Irivin writes for Fine Gardening and has a regular column in Indiana Gardening magazine.

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