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The Connecticut Horticultural Society is thrilled to announce that its 2024 Virtual Symposium on Saturday, February 3, “Gardening Matters: Our Future is Growing, will feature talks by garden experts Fergus Garrett, John Forti, Jared Rosenbaum and Gary Lewis. The day-long symposium runs from 9am-4pm and is designed to inspire, enlighten, and educate novice and expert gardeners alike.

After purchasing tickets directly from CT Hort on this page, you will be able to log in to attend the Symposium with your email address on February 3rd.
You will receive a link to the symposium to watch at your convenience about a week after it airs. 

Thanks to our sponsors: Prides Corner Farms, Connecticut Valley Garden Club, Coast of Maine, Cricket Hill Garden, Webster Bank, Natureworks, Ballek’s Garden Center, PlantHer, Colorblends, and Friendship Tours.

Sponsored by Prides Corner Farms
About the Talk:
Mr. Garrett will talk about the principles of long season gardening. He will touch on long season plants, shape, texture, underplanting and interplanting with bulbs and other plants which are happy to share the same space, as well as the use of self sowers and temporary fillers to prolong the seasons.

The main part of the talk will concentrate on how to use bulbs and woodland plants to provide another layer in your perennial and mixed borders. From snowdrops through to alliums, these play a vital role in filling the gaps and giving you color for many months.

About Fergus Garrett:
Fergus has held the position of Head Gardener for the internationally acclaimed Great Dixter Garden in Northiam, East Sussex, UK since 1993: It was from the charismatic gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006) and his unique gardening skills that Fergus learnt to keep the gardens of Great Dixter constantly changing throughout the seasons and to be adventurous in trying out new plants and plant- combinations.

He is a hands-on gardener and plantsman who has a keen interest in working practices. He is interested in ecology and how an ornamental garden and biodiversity interact. He is also keen on woodland management and green wood working, and has spearheaded several projects including the greening up of urban and suburban communities, biodiversity related projects in towns and villages, and training students from all over the world in the Dixter style of flower gardening. Fergus has written many magazine articles and lectures widely both nationally and internationally.

In 2008 Fergus was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Associate of Honour. In 2012 he received the International Contributor Award from the Perennial Plant Association. In 2013 Fergus received the Longhouse Landscape Award and in the same year, the Garden Media Guild Golden Nisse Award.

In 2015 Fergus was awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal for outstanding contribution to the practice of horticulture. On 8th April 2019 Fergus received the highest accolade the Royal Horticultural Society can give: The Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH).

Sponsored by Connecticut Valley Garden Club
About the Talk:
Mr. Forti’s talk draws from his best-selling book of traditional plants and skills for the modern world. He will share the inspiration from our long history of heirloom preservation, garden craft and homestead lifeways that we can apply to our own gardens and landscapes, as well as artisanal gardening lifestyles that are helping us to rebuild vibrant local agricultural economies and celebrate sustainable cottage industries that are contributing to our new, homegrown American arts & crafts movement and backyard environmentalism.

About John Forti:
John Forti is a garden historian and ethnobotanist who has directed gardens for Plimouth Plantation Museum, Strawbery Banke Museum, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and Bedrock Gardens. He is also author of the best-selling book The Heirloom Gardener–Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World. As a Slow Food Governor and biodiversity specialist, his preservation work has helped to restore countless native and heirloom plants and has brought traditional artisanal practices to modern thinking. He has won numerous awards for historic garden preservation, children’s garden design, herbal and historical education and the 2021 Award of Excellence from National Garden clubs. His new book was inspired by his posts as The Heirloom Gardener – John Forti which go out regularly to millions on Facebook.

Sponsored by Coast of Maine
About the Talk:
Native edible and medicinal plant species can be integrated into gardens and ecological restoration projects to create habitats that support (and include) humans as part of local ecosystems. In this informative talk, Jared Rosenbaum will lay the groundwork for how to steward edible and medicinal plant species from native habitats such as riparian corridors and glades and discuss how a habitat-based approach translates to yards, parks, and farms. He’ll explore the prospect of changing our foodways to patterns that favor native diversity, rewarding restoration and stewardship.

Field botanist, native plant grower, and restoration practitioner Jared Rosenbaum asks whether we can honor native ecosystems and lifeways as we restore habitats that support humans, other animals, and native plants alike.

About Jared Rosenbaum:
Jared Rosenbaum is a botanist, native plant grower, and Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner. He is a founding partner at Wild Ridge Plants LLC, a business that grows local ecotype native plants using sustainable practices and performs botanical surveys. Jared is the author of the book Wild Plant Culture: A Guide to Restoring Native Edible and Medicinal Plant Communities, as well as children’s book The Puddle Garden, about native plants and wildlife.

About the Talk:
Ground covers are widely thought of as utilitarian, but these plants also offer a diverse range of beautiful and intriguing options with a variety of colors, textures, and forms. They can unify a landscape, knit together plantings and hardscape, and add extra layers of beauty, dynamism, and surprise. As a replacement for lawns, they can reduce our use of water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, carbon-based fuels, and transform a yard into a diverse landscape of habitat and food for native insects, birds, and other wildlife.

In this companion talk to Gary’s encyclopedia The Complete Book of Ground Covers (which won this year’s Gold Laurel Award in the category of Technical/Reference Book from Garden Communicators International, the US-based industry organization that represents garden communicators), Gary will highlight the functional and aesthetic uses of ground covers in the landscape, including tips and tricks for designing with ground covers to take your outdoor space to the next level and a discussion on the diverse services ground covers can provide to make gardens more sustainable. He will illustrate all these benefits and uses of ground covers with beautiful photos taken from his travels to gardens around the world.

About Gary Lewis:
Gary Lewis has had a lifelong passion for plants. While completing a Masters of Science degree in Botany, Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials on his 28th birthday. Since that time he has greatly expanded the business into a dynamic, award-winning, destination nursery for Western Canada with over 5,000 different plants a year, many of which are grown at Phoenix Perennials from plant material sourced from around the world. In 2013 Phoenix Perennials launched Canadian mail order to bring their unique plant selection to a broader audience and now ships more than 2,500 different plants a year to avid gardeners from coast to coast to coast.

Gary is a regular speaker at garden clubs and has appeared many times on radio and television. He has written for a variety of gardening magazines including Fine Gardening and his encyclopedia, The Complete Book of Ground Covers (Timber Press, 2022). This compendium focuses on 4,000 different ground covers for the temperate gardening world accompanied by 650 photos he took on travels around the world.

In 2013 Gary was selected as Communicator of the Year by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association and in 2017 was the recipient of the Retail Sales Award from the Perennial Plant Association.

Expose your business or organization to hundreds of garden enthusiasts! Become a sponsor!

Holding the symposium online allows us to draw an audience of thousands of households from Connecticut and all around the country, a greater number than we’ve ever reached with our symposium before. 

As a sponsor at any one of the levels we have built into our program, your business will benefit from the exposure of this day-long program. We hope you will check out what we have to offer. If you have any questions, please contact Diane Erling at (860) 970-5105 or via email at [email protected].

Click here to access the sponsor information.

This symposium may qualify for continuing education credit(s) for green industry professionals, Connecticut Accredited Nursery Professionals, Master Gardeners, and Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals (CT NOFA).  Please contact us at [email protected] with the subject line: Symposium CEU.  After the Symposium, we will provide you with documentation of your attendance for submission to your accrediting association.

Registration is now closed, please contact the office to inquire about recording availability.

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