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Today's Horticulture Symposium

Today’s Horticulture Symposium

Date & Price

Friday, February 7, 2020, 8:00 am–4:30 pm

Onsite Symposium Pricing

$119 Onsite Symposium Early Bird (if registered by January 4)

$149 Onsite Symposium (if registered after January 4)

$75 Onsite Symposium PGAA Members (discounted rate applies to alumni who have paid 2019 dues)

Attend Online

You may now participate in Today’s Horticulture anytime, anywhere, for free. You can access the symposium webcast, live or on demand, using your preferred platform, including mobile device.

Please note, due to the ongoing pandemic, we will not be holding our Today’s Horticulture Symposium in 2022. The symposium will return in 2023. Please continue to check back for updates.

Celebrating 50 years of the Professional Horticulture Program

This daylong symposium is hosted by the Professional Gardener Alumni Association of Longwood Gardens.

The event is sponsored by Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer Foundation, Mt. Cuba Center, and The Professional Gardener Alumni Association. It boasts a diverse lineup of speakers and features a plant sale. Registration also includes lunch and access to the Gardens.

View the symposium brochure to register by mail.


8:00 am
Registration and Plant Sale

Featuring an eclectic offering of houseplants, perennials, woodies and more. Proceeds from the sale benefit educational travel of the Longwood Gardens Professional Horticulture Program.

8:50 am

Emily Reuther, Event Coordinator

9:00 am
The Thousand Year Wood: Past, Present and Future of People and Oaks

William Bryant Logan

Oaks and people have been intimately connected since at least the Mesolithic period. Learn about the long history of that relationship including the many things oaks have taught us, from Japan to Europe to California. William Bryant Logan will engage about the present possibilities for planting and maintaining oaks in the landscape with consideration given to the preferences of different species and where they are best suited.

9:45 am
Transforming Residential Landscapes

Ash Gillis

With biodiversity in severe decline, one way to affect change is to radically increase native plants in residential landscapes. But what would motivate homeowners to make this shift when faced with opposing societal pressure? This presentation will offer insights from social psychology and successful real-world examples of communities growing native plants together.

10:30 am

11:00 am
Year Five on Day One: Cultivating the Amazon Spheres

Ron Gagliardo

In 2018, Amazon HQ Seattle opened The Spheres, a new take on the urban office environment that embraces biophilic design. The Spheres is a result of innovative thinking about the character of the workplace and an extended conversation about what it often lacks: a direct link to nature that inspires curiosity and conservation.

11:45am–1:00 pm

1:00 pm
Professional Horticulture Program Alumni Spotlight

Part One: Water Gardening: Lessons Learned

Tim Jennings

Adding a water feature to your garden can enhance your entire landscape. Explore the culture, care, and maintenance of aquatic plants with the horticulturist responsible for Longwood’s outdoor Waterlily Display, who will reinforce water gardening principles and introduce the audience to a few favorite plants.

Part Two: Horticultural Therapy at the NJDOC

Debbie Mahon

The New Jersey Department of Corrections operates the Jones Farm Horticulture Program in Mercer County. Instructor Debbie Mahon will present the day to day, yearly, and professional achievements of the students she teaches there, while also sharing some positive points in hiring a returning citizen.

Part Three: Why Not Roses?

Adam Glas

Fall back in love with America’s national flower. Many gardeners are intimidated by roses because of their reputation for being difficult to grow. Learn how new breeding efforts, sustainable growing methods, and trials for pest and disease resistance have positioned roses for a renaissance and which ones are best for your garden.

2:00 pm
Dessert/Coffee Break

2:15 pm
Farming While Black

Amani Olugbala

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom, yet discrimination against African-American farmers has led to their decline to fewer than 2% of all growers today. Meanwhile, Black communities suffer disproportionately from lack of access to fresh food and healthy ecosystems. Learn about Soul Fire Farm’s commitment to food sovereignty based on justice, dignity and abundance for all.

3:00 pm

3:30 pm
Collaborative Approaches to Design and Planting at Harris Bugg Studio

Charlotte Harris & Hugo Bugg

Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg had successful separate design practices before formally merging in 2017 to form Harris-Bugg. They will share case studies of a range of their current public and residential projects, as well as an insight into what it takes to produce an award-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. They may also mention some of the challenges of collaborating and how they have (or haven’t!) resolved them.

4:15 pm
Closing Remarks

About Our Speakers

Ron Gagliardo

Ron Gagliardo grew up near the Florida Everglades, where he developed a permanent passion for nature. He studied Botany at NC State and in 1993 joined the Atlanta Botanical Garden curating tropical collections. In 2008, he moved to the Amphibian Ark team to work on conservation of threatened amphibians. Ron returned to horticulture in 2014 as Amazon’s first horticulturist overseeing all aspects of Amazon horticulture and corporate landscapes at The Spheres.

Ash Gillis

Ash Gillis is a doctoral candidate in social psychology at The Pennsylvania State University and Graduate Research Fellow at Mt. Cuba Center. Combining expertise in social processes and research methodology with a passion for environmental conservation, Ash informs, develops and evaluates programs that encourage environmentally sustainable behavior. Ash’s work has been published in Global Environmental Change, Nature Climate Change, and Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Adam Glas

Gardener Supervisor Adam Glas has worked at The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College since 2012. With a focus on sustainability and organic methods he has been renovating and cultivating the Dean Bond Rose Garden. Adam graduated from the Professional Horticulture Program in 2004 and studied Horticulture and Landscape Design at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg

Harris-Bugg is an award-winning landscape design practice based in the UK whose clients include The National Trust, The Royal Horticultural Society’s new Bridgewater garden, botanic gardens in Jordan and Sweden, and estates throughout England and Scotland. Winners of two gold medals at RHS Chelsea, Harris-Bugg has been called “pioneering design talents of their generation” and their work has been featured in Country Living Magazine and Architectural Digest.

Tim Jennings

Tim Jennings graduated from the Professional Horticulture Program in 1988 and is currently the Senior Horticulturist for Longwood’s outdoor Waterlily Display, and the Fern Passage and Rose House in the Conservatory. Tim teaches several popular water gardening courses and plant identification classes at Longwood and can answer almost any question about waterlilies.

William Bryant Logan

William Bryant Logan is a certified arborist and the author of several books including Dirt, Oak, Air, and Sprout Lands: Tending the Everlasting Gifts of Trees, published by WW Norton in 2019. He is the founder and president of Urban Arborists, a leading New York City tree care firm, and he serves on the faculty of the New York Botanical Garden.

Debbie Mahon

In 1990, Debbie Mahon was one of the youngest graduates of the Longwood Garden Professional Horticulture Program. Soon after, she became a horticulture instructor for the NJDOC, where she has been committed to helping young people develop professionally. For the past 16 years, Debbie has been the environmental advisor for her hometown in Lower Bucks County, PA and currently serves as its mayor.

Amani Olugbala

Amani Olugbala, Community Educator at Soul Fire Farm, is a storyteller and food justice advocate with over 15 years of experience in youth education and community outreach. Amani’s early work with Natural Leaders, Brother Yusuf, Youth Ed Venture Network, and YO! underscored the necessity of reintroduction to land as a source of healing and power for those who have been historically and systematically disconnected.