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 -

Tallgrass to Today: Gateway to the Midwestern Prairie

Monday, July 29

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Education

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Evening Social

$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.  Going native - what might this mean to you as a 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

Randy's yard in the metropolitan suburbs of Milwaukee is unconventional! Lawn and formal garden beds are all but gone for most of the 1.5 acres now naturalized with native vegetation.

As per Dr. Douglas Tallamay's book "Bringing Nature Home", and as a land steward, Randy wants to share with you that diversity in vegetation brings a surprisingly diverse presence of wildlife, small and large, that his property supports. Randy will have a special focus on the native plants that birds use, but also how plants are far more important in many other ways to us, and all the wildlife that has been photographed in his yard!  It's not too late to become stewards of your property, to achieve a wildlife friendly landscape!


About the Speaker: 


With a Masters degree in both Botany and Zoology, Randy Powers is a reconstruction ecologist with thirty years of ecology field experience in natural area problem solving, restoration and management. Randy also works as an environmental and plant inventory consultant and is a licensed Wisconsin Nursery Man and Propagator. He has been the Owner and Operator of Prairie Future Seed Company since 1987 and specializes in educating others about the connections between plants, pollinators and people.


Perennials and Bulbs for Pollinators

Jack De Vroomen

Our foods are reliant on insect pollinators to produce fruits such as strawberries, almonds, tomatoes, apples, coffee beans, watermelons, sunflower seeds and many more. Join Jack DeVroomen as he discusses the opportunities and challenges in today’s world to guarantee flowering plants who need pollinators, and pollinators who need flowers, will be there now and in the future. What horticultural products should we grow and use in the landscape? And what would be the effect on the horticultural business if we don’t act? 

About the Speaker:

As Marketing and Sales Director for De Vroomen Garden Products, Jack heads up the marketing of Perennials and Flower Bulbs in the USA and Canada and has been with the company since 1979. De Vroomen Garden Products has been producing plants in the Netherlands and the USA since 1925 and has operations in Illinois, USA as well as Ontario, Canada and Lisse, Netherlands. They sell to growers, garden centers, landscapers, mail order companies, and cities and park districts. The De Vroomen Family has been Members of PPA “since the early days”, APGA, Rotary International and AMCHAM. Jack has been on the board of directors for the Keukenhof Garden and Keukenhof Castle for almost 17 years. He is also Chairman of the Puntenburg Foundations, founded by Jack’s parents Dick and Puck, where children with a handicap can experience riding and working with horses as therapy.

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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