Saturday, October 17, 2009

Swarthmore Perennial Plant Conference 2009

They do two a year: the Woody Plant Conference and this one. I believe I've only missed one. Since Swarthmore is only about a two hour drive, and the Scott Arboretum=the Campus is so wonderful, and because the speakers are consistently excellent, it's easily the best and least costly way to get a hold on "new" plants. Plus you never know who you're going to see. I've been waiting to hear Bill McLaughlin talk about those obscure SE/SW plants that he has amassed at the USBG ever since the courtyard garden opened. Because I'm a plant geek and always prowling for new plants, I loved the presentation of Jimmy Turner, the Senior Director of Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden. Apparently they trial a ridiculous number of plants every year, and their conditions are ours multiplied by, well, a lot! Among his plants I saw a half dozen or more must haves. Not to slight the other speakers.

This is the Scott Amphitheater; it was designed by Thomas Sears, a fairly well known Philadelphia landscape architect and built in the early 1940s? Typically, at one of these conferences, it would be filled with attendees eating their lunches. It was raining this year but we walked through it anyway. In the introduction to every conference, Claire Sawyers, reminds us that Commencement ceremonies are held there, rain or shine....I don't usually give a second thought to that remark, but this year...

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