Colleagues Mark Weathington, director of JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University, and Tony Avent, founder of Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery, will launch the first Southeastern Plant Symposium in Raleigh, N.C., June 7 and 8.
“The Southeastern Plant Symposium is an incredible opportunity for professionals and non-professionals to hear many of the world’s renown plant speakers in a single event,” said Avent. “We are bringing in the most knowledgeable and most passionate plant lovers to speak.”
“There are many great new plants entering the market from plant breeders, from explorations around the world, and from collections of botanic gardens,” added Weathington. “We’ll be talking about cutting-edge plants at the forefront of new trends in gardening and new plant selections that reinvent how we think about gardening.”
“The Symposium will provide accurate information from people who know and grow the plants, as opposed to the frequently incorrect information that’s perpetuated online,” said Avent. “Our speakers will cut through the new plant clutter to expose attendees to what is truly exceptional.”
Tony Avent, Juniper Level Botanic Garden, and Mark Weathington, JC Raulston Arboretum, at NCSU.
Southeastern Plant Symposium speakers include:
- John Grimshaw, Director, The Yorkshire Arboretum, Castle Howard, York, U.K.
- Scott McMahan, Manager, International Plant Exploration, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Ga.
- Ted Stephens, Owner, Nurseries Caroliniana, Augusta, S.C.
- David Creech, Professor Emeritus, SFA State University, and Director of Stephen F. Austin Gardens, Nacogdoches, Texas
- Julie Moore, Office of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C.
- Tony Avent, Founder, Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, N.C.
- Adam Black, Director of Horticulture, Peckerwood Gardens, Hempstead, Texas
- Leanne Kenealy, Plant Breeding and Nursery Technician, JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, N.C.
- Buddy Lee, Director of Plant Innovations, Plant Development Services (PDSI), Loxley, Ala.
- Guy Meacham, New Plant Development Manager, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Company, Boring, Ore.
- Tom Ranney, JC Raulston Distinguished Professor and Mountain Crop Improvement Lab, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, NC State University, Fletcher, N.C.
- Kim Shearer, Tree and Shrub Breeder and Manager of New Plant Development Program, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Ill.
- Tim Wood, Product Development & Marketing Manager, Spring Meadow Nursery, Grand Haven, Mich.
- Donglin Zhang, Professor, Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
“Targeted attendees include private plant collectors, landscape architects and designers, nursery and botanic garden staff, members of HOA landscape design committees, city and county horticulturists, parks staff, new homeowners who want to create a distinctive landscape design, and members of the public who are passionate about new and different plants,” said Avent.
“Horticulture and landscape plants are among our most basic needs after food and shelter,” Weathington said. “Study after study shows that stress levels go down when we are surrounded by plants, and concentration goes up. Nature Deficit Disorder and Plant Blindness are climbing because we are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Gardening is one of the best ways to combat these modern problems.”
“Plants are great at sequestering carbon, so more plants in the world are always better,” added Avent. “The New York Times recently reprinted one of Oliver Sacks’ great articles on why ornamental plants are essential.”
“North Carolina’s Triangle is one of the greatest centers for horticulture in the country,” said Weathington. “Juniper Level Botanic Garden and JC Raulston Arboretum will be open for Symposium attendees. Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham is a great place to visit as is the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.”
The host hotel for the Southeastern Plant Symposium is the Embassy Suites by Hilton near Research Triangle Park in Cary, N.C. For more information and to register for the event, visit https://jcra.ncsu.edu/events/details.php?ID=1700.