Seven of the world's top botanical and horticultural experts will speak at the 2021 Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction, according to event organizers Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, and Tony Avent, founder of Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery.
Southeastern Plant Symposium will be online worldwide and available to registered attendees on Saturday, June 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The registration fee is $75. This live presentation will be recorded and made available to all registrants. The Rare Plant Auction is free and opens online to attendees and the public June 3, at 3 p.m., ending June 12, at 5 p.m. (all times are Eastern Daylight Time USA).
Featured speakers include:
- Fergus Garrett, one of the greatest garden designers and garden makers in the world, CEO and Head Gardener, Great Dixter House and Gardens, United Kingdom.
- Stephen Barstow, Extreme Salad Man, global expert on ornamental edibles, inventor of the term edimentals, author of Around the World in 80 Plants, leader of the Norwegian Seed Saver organization.
- Peter Zale, Ph.D., Associate Director, Conservation, Plant Breeding and Collections, Longwood Gardens, PA, USA.
- Kevin Conrad, Botanist, US National Arboretum, Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository, National Plant Germplasm System, Beltsville, MD, USA.
- Irene Palmer, Research Specialist with Tom Ranney, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, experienced in a wide range of plant breeding with a focus on hydrangeas, camellias, crepe myrtles, azaleas, and more, NC, USA.
- Aaron Floden, Ph.D., Botanist, Missouri Botanic Garden, a world expert on plants with a focus on native American flora, MO, USA.
- Hans Hansen, Director, New Plant Development, Walters Gardens, Zeeland, MI, USA.
"The symposium is for horticulturalists, botanists, garden and nursery staff, serious gardeners, and those who want to learn more about plants," said Weathington. "The presentations will be filled with information and beautiful visuals. Attendees can ask questions during the presentations."
"The Rare Plant Auction will feature a collection of plants not found anywhere else in the world," added Avent. "Even the most rabid plant collector will find many things in the auction they've never seen or heard of before. There is no other source for many of these plants. People may have searched for years and never found these plants – it is that rare."
"This is an amazing opportunity to hear many top experts in a single event," said Weathington. "One of our speakers is Fergus Garrett, CEO and Head Gardner at Great Dixter House & Gardens in the United Kingdom. Fergus is one of the best garden designers and garden makers in the world and will talk about the importance of color, foliage, texture, repetition, structure, experimentation, as well as informality and movement in putting plants together."
"Known as the Extreme Salad Man, Stephen Barstow is a world authority on ornamental edibles and invented the term edimentals," added Avent. "Barstow authored the book Around the World in 80 Plants and will make you look at your garden differently – thinking about the ornamentals you can grow, enjoy, cook, and eat."
Proceeds from the Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction benefit the endowments of Juniper Level Botanic Garden and JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University. "We have parallel missions and visions of what gardens and plants are for," said Weathington. "Plants are critical assets. We are growing them and conserving them for science and for the benefit of all people. In our home state, ornamental plants are one of the biggest agricultural products."