32nd Annual Southern Garden Symposium – CANCELLED

CANCELLED, Due to COVID concerns, but make a note to register next year. This conference is definitely on my bucket list to attend.

The Southern Garden Symposium seeks to preserve and commemorate gardening in the Deep South through lectures, workshops, and tours of historic Afton Villa gardens and Rosedown gardens in St. Francisville, LA.
While the symposium’s workshops and lectures provide ideas and inspiration for the gardener, social activities showcase classic southern elegance at its finest. From home-baked breakfast breads served each morning, to sumptuous evening gala fare and an elegantly relaxed Saturday afternoon tea, not a detail is overlooked.

Speaking of Gardening symposium

I am posting this more than a year in advance, but I did attend this symposium in 2018 and will keep an eye out for more information. There are four reasons:

  • I do go to a few talks, mainly in the Southeast, and this symposium consistently offers talented speakers that I never heard before.
  • The audience – in two days you get to know a few people. This supportive community is happy to share tips and recommendations and a conversation at lunch.
  • The vendors – just count that in the budget.
  • The location – Asheville, NC. Such a fun location with great gardens in the area. The area is also great for hiking and beautiful waterfalls (free, healthy, natural options). We enjoyed a Lyle Lovett outdoor concert at Biltmore the following night (which included a few hours in the gardens before the concert started). I would definitely book at least one extra night to enjoy the area.

This is a symposium that is guaranteed to sell out. Seriously, my February calendar has a note in the side bar to keep an eye on the websites of a few annual events because they do sell out. This is one of them.

2021 Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium – Virtual

 I have a few things already on my calendar for this weekend, but this symposium has a flexible structure, releasing new talks each day to watch on your schedule. 
From the website:
In recognition of Earth Day on April 22, we invite you to join us from your home or garden, as we examine garden designs, gardening practices, and plant choices that embrace nature yet beautify the landscape. Guest speakers and Colonial Williamsburg horticultural staff will share some of their best practices for creating gardens that are sustainable and earth-friendly. While we may not be able to gather in a large group to enjoy this conference together, each conference registrant will receive a multi-day ticket voucher to redeem for a future visit to enjoy our historic and iconic gardens at a time most convenient to you!

After a year where many dove headlong into the art of gardening—many perhaps for the first time—now seems perfect to address the relationship between gardeners and the environments in which they practice their skills. Keynote Speaker, national gardening television host, Joe Lamp’l, will provide practical information to help us all become better, smarter gardeners. Professor and researcher, Doug Tallamy, will share how we are nature’s best hope for biodiversity, and David Mizejewski, spokesperson for the National Wildlife Federation, will share a whole new perspective on gardening.

 Award winning authors Anne Spafford and Nancy Lawson will discuss creating successful gardens for pollinators and other wildlife.  Our esteemed roster of speakers is rounded out by local garden experts and talented members of Colonial Williamsburg’s landscape and foodways staff, eager to share their horticultural knowledge and skills with you in presentations, demonstrations, and panel discussions. We hope you will join us virtually for the 74th Annual Garden Symposium, April 22-25, 2021 as we Celebrate Planet Earth by Giving Back with Our Gardens.

Register by April 1, 2021

Gardening Symposium

Loudoun County, Virginia, Master Gardeners Association

Garden Symposium Schedule

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome and Announcements
9:15 – 10:30 Ginger Woolridge
Woody Natives: Making Quick and Confident Choices
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 12:00 William Cullina
Sugar, Sex, and Poisons: Shocking Plant Secrets Caught on Camera
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 1:45 Ira Wallace
Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia
1:45 – 2:00 Break
2:00 – 3:15 Sam Droege
Introduction to the Native Bees of the Mid Atlantic

The Great Grow Along – 40+ hours of sessions

The Great Grow Along is a 3-day online learning experience. Access 40+ hours of dynamic sessions led by top influencers and plant pros, and connect LIVE with other plant parents, urban homesteaders, DIY landscapers, pollinator protectors… no matter what your garden goals are, there’s something for you.
Easy to Participate
Learning tracks are set up for what interests you… but you can enjoy it all virtually. During the event and for six months afterwards whenever you like.
Exciting Q&A with session experts, live interviews with trend setters and organizations making a difference, networking with other new (and experienced) gardeners… a weekend you won’t want to miss.
40+ workshops on a variety of topics in the following tracks:
– Edible Gardens : Wise choices for new gardeners, seed starting, planning, harvesting and beyond…
– Pollinators & Plants : Understanding natives, bees, butterflies, birds, plant selection, etc.
– Urban Gardening : Creative solutions for successful gardening in smaller spaces, raised beds, containers, etc.
– DIY Landscaping : Think like a landscape designer, container design, plant selection, etc.
-. Houseplants : Care fundamentals, light, propagation, pet-safe plants, trends, etc.
– Dig Deeper : Organic gardening, soil,, compost, water-wise gardening, chicken keeping, honey bees, medicinal plants, and more.
To access the event, please visit https://www.greatgrowalong.com

Virtual 32nd Annual Ecological Landscape Symposium

Note:  You can register for individual days of this four-day conference.

Guiding Theory into Reality:
It Don’t Mean a Thing if the Landscape Don’t Sing

The 2021 Ecological Landscape Design Symposium, going virtual this year, will explore how ecology, culture, and design can be incorporated into real-world contemporary practice. This program is geared toward landscape practitioners in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US.

January 21 & 22, 2021 | 1 – 4:30 PM EST*
January 28 & 29, 2021 | 9 AM – 12:30 PM EST*
*All four dates are distinct programs with different speakers – register for full bundle or individual days.

Incorporating science into landscape design is of little use if the resulting plantings are not harmonious to the people who engage with them, and are not in tune with the animals that depend on them. In this virtual symposium we will explore how scientific research can lead to tangible approaches for a new landscape tradition, one where ecological, anthropological, and sociological considerations expand the scope of landscape design.

Annual Symposium Brochure


CEUs are available (ASLA-LACES, APLD, ISA, NOFA)

Cosponsored by:
New Directions in the American Landscape
Morris Arboretum of the University of PA
Connecticut College Arboretum

Every door prize at this virtual garden conference is a winner – and many are worth more than the registration fee.

This week I wrote the descriptions for over a dozen door prizes offered as part of the virtual 2020 Georgia Master Gardener Association Conference. This conference includes home garden tours led by Allan Armitage, Mike Dirr and Coach Vince Dooley, plus six live garden talks. Click here for registration and more information about the conference  Anyone can attend. Please share with your gardening friends. This conference would be especially interesting to Southeastern U.S. gardeners.

Back to the door prizes… It seemed rather dry to just add promo copy to the descriptions, so I decided to share why I wanted to win each prize (except the books – they are great, but already in our library!), and link to more information and purchase opportunities (because we can each win only one at best.)


Herbaceous Perennial Plants, 4th Edition, by Allan Armitage (signed!)

Value:                 $80

More info/buy: http://www.allanarmitage.net/shop

One thousand plus pages of information about perennials, hot off the press with current and tried-and-true varieties and cultivars, at your fingertips. Beware though – you will find yourself looking up a particular plant then lost in the engaging text for a while. Here is a recent review I wrote about this book.


Gardening with Grains, by Brie Arthur (signed!), plus two seed packets

Value:                 $36

More info/buy: https://www.briegrows.com/shop

Perfect timing! Grains are cool-season… hmmm…  crops? ornamentals? BOTH! Learn more with her new book and two packets of wheat seeds – Soft White and Bronze Chief.


The Foodscape Revolution, by Brie Arthur (signed!), plus two seed packets

Value:                 $34

More info/buy: https://www.briegrows.com/shop

Brie is such an energetic and inspiring speaker that you want to know more about Foodscaping – and you will with her first book. Two packets of Brie’s Soft White wheat seeds will get you out into the garden to plant.

Donated by Brie Arthur.


Seven Steps to an Organic Garden, by Mike Cunningham

Value:                 $15

More info/buy: https://tinyurl.com/yyqj54yg (book),  https://countrygardensfarm.com/

Mike and Judy Cunningham, “The Teaching Farmers”, and their family run a 150-acre farm and CSA with vegetables that are Certified Naturally Grown. Taking a class at their Newnan Farm to learn about cooking, gardening or food preservation is on my bucket list, so I watch their Facebook page to find out when the classes will start again post-COVID.


Hydrangeas for American Gardens, by Michael A. Dirr (signed!)

Value:                 $45

More info/buy:  https://tinyurl.com/y3k3797v

Hydrangeas are signature Southern plants. A Hydrangea collection can include sun and shade plants, native and exotic plants, blooms from spring to fall, plus amazing fall color and winter bark. With this book you can learn more about the hydrangeas in your garden and make plans to expand your collection.

Donated by Mike Dirr.


Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr (signed!)

Value:                 $82

More info/buy: https://tinyurl.com/y3k3797v

Who knows more about woody plants than Mike Dirr? A virtual tour of his garden and his signed iconic reference on your shelf – Score!

Donated by Mike Dirr.


Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History, by Vince Dooley (signed!)

Value:                 $35

More info/buy: https://tinyurl.com/y23pfpdl

Southerners love football and Georgia fans love Vince Dooley. Vince will be touring us through his home garden as part of this virtual conference. Did you know he is quite the gardener, with a hydrangea named for him? You want this SIGNED book because, although it is his most recent of many books, it is already sold out.

Donated by Vince Dooley.


Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Georgia, by Linda Chafin

Value:                 $33

More info/buy: https://tinyurl.com/y4cjkytr

Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Georgia and Surrounding States is the first field guide devoted exclusively to Georgia’s wildflowers, while also including many plants found in neighboring states. This is a great reference to identify plants or learn more about native plants to add to your landscape.


Clematis Abilene

Value:                 $29

More info/buy: https://www.brushwoodnursery.com/

Clematis Abilene has rich, pink two-tone blooms. The flowers are up to 6 inches across and very full at maturity, but the plant remains compact and suited to smaller spaces and container culture.

Brushwood Nursery is known nationwide for their Clematis and consistently in the Top 5 in their category at The Garden Watchdog.

Donated by Dan Long, Brushwood Nursery.


Antique Glass Garden Art

Value:                 $50

These hand-crafted flowers are created from antique glassware, each one a unique design. The winner will have a glass flower shipped to them with instructions on purchasing a metal support locally to install it at just the right height for their garden.

Donated by Carol Martinese.


45-Minute Online Landscape Consultation

Value:                 $80

More info/buy: https://clifrbroc.wixsite.com/mysite


Cliff Brock was the curator of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia’s flower garden before spending a year in Oregon and then returning to Newnan, GA. Cliff knows plants so very well and, like many gardeners, has many talents. He is also a composer and pianist, as well as a writer and photographer (check out his blog here.) A 45-minute virtual consultation, offering design ideas and giving plant maintenance advice – well, that would be amazing.

Donated by Cliff Brock.


Encore Azaleas Gift Certificate

Value:                 $40

More info:          https://www.encoreazalea.com/gardening/article/encore-azalea-brochure, www.facebook.com/EncoreAzalea

Encore® Azaleas are the bestselling multi-season blooming azalea in the world with over 30 varieties. Won’t it be fun to add a few to your garden?

Donated by Flowerwood Nursery.


Southern Living Plant Collection Gift Certificate

Value:                 $40

More info:          https://southernlivingplants.com/about-us/brochure/, www.facebook.com/SouthernLivingPlantCollection

The Southern Living Plant Collection by Flowerwood Nursery includes over 60 varieties of trees, shrubs, bulbs, annuals, perennials, and ornamental grasses. You will have fun with this gift certificate!

Donated by Flowerwood Nursery.