‘Speaking of Gardening’ Symposium Highlights

Sitework Studios is a proud ongoing sponsor of Asheville’s Speaking of Gardening Symposium. Our Fine Garden Design Division has played a key role in founding this event and for the past 10 years has continued to assist with organizing the event. This year’s event packed the house at the NC Arboretum. If you are a gardener or a professional in landscape architecture, garden design or horticulture, mark your calendar nowfor next year’s event happening the third weekend in August, 2015. Speakers come from across the US and Europe and represent the top echelon of horticulture and design. Ten NC BOLA credits are available for Landscape Architects.

David Culp is a gardener, nurseryman, writer, and owner of  a  twenty acre Pennsylvania garden where he perfects  the design technique of layering – inter-planting many different species in the same area so that as one plant passes its peak, another takes over. His garden has been featured on HGTV and Martha Stewart Living. His book The Layered Garden, published by Timber Press, won the coveted 2013 Best Overall Book by The Garden Writers Association. His articles have appeared in Country Living, Fine Gardening, Green Scene, Horticulture Magazine and many others. He is a recipient of multiple awards and is an entertaining speaker. www.davidlculp.com. 

Panayoti Kelaidis has worked at the Denver Botanic Gardens for 30 years in many capacities. He is currently the Senior Curator and Director of Outreach. As Curator he supervises the curatorial staff and directs inventory, maintenance, interpretation and integrity for over 15,000 kinds of living plants.  From his far-reaching knowledge of horticulture in the mountainous and dry climate of Colorado, he shared his experience in growing rock garden plants that perform well in western North Carolina. He received the Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs, the most prestigious award given by the organization. He also received the 2000 Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal from Swarthmore College, which is generally considered the highest honor in American horticulture. www.botanicgardens.org

Greg Paige joined Bartlett Tree Company as Arboretum Curator in 2005. Greg ‘s career in public horticulture includes working at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont North Carolina, the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.  The Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory moved to its Charlotte location in 1965. The 350-acre Bartlett Arboretum includes one of the best collections of oak and conifer on the east coast, the biggest collection of magnolia in the country, and an extensive collection of holly, elm, crape myrtle, crabapple, maple, and rhododendron.   A primary function of the facility is to provide intense technical and career training for employees who care for the trees and shrubs on client properties. Scott has been known to haul storm damaged street trees back to the arboretum in order to study their roots! www.bartlett.com

Andrew Bunting has been Curator at the Arboretum since 1993. Prior to working at the Arboretum he was Curator at Chanticleer Gardens and has worked at Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Tintinhull House in England and Titoki Point in New Zealand. He currently serves as president of the Magnolia Society International, vice-president of Delaware Center for Horticulture, and Vice-President of Swarthmore Horticulture Society.  Andrew spoke on magnolias – the ones you’ve never heard of before. Those of us who attended have a whole new scope on Magnolias to grow in our landscapes. www.scottarboretum.org

Scott McMahan and Andrew Bunting spoke about their recent and harrowing (!) plant collecting trip with Dan Hinkley and Ozzie Johnson to Vietnam and Burma. Scott McMahan is an Atlanta native and brings years of experience to McMahan’s Nursery and Garden*Hood (a new retail garden center in Atlanta). He was a propagator of plants for a large wholesale grower and a nursery manager for the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  He trials and then contributes specialty plants to Garden*Hood that he has gathered on his travels in Indonesia, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, as well as the south and northwestern United States. He tests many unusual plants to see what will perform well in zone 7. www.mcmahansnursery.com

Jenks Farmer grows crinums and many other heirloom pass-along plants in Beach Island, South Carolina. He spoke about the traditionals ways of growing and sharing plants, and discussed both old and new cultivars. He also talked about  innovative practices at his nursery, as well as showing multiple design projects he has completed recently. His new book, Deep Rooted Wisdom is a ”plea for us to take gardening back from the marketing companies” and tells stories of old gardeners, farmers, and country people and how they garden.  www.jenksfarmer.com