Ohio Landscape Plant Symposium

Secrest Arboretum

Kick-off spring with a full-day horticultural extravaganza at Secrest Arboretum featuring nationally-recognized speakers. If you love plants like we do, this is an event you can’t miss!

Cost: $85.00 per person; lunch is included

ISA Continuing Education Credits are available.

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8:30 AM Registration & coffee
9:00 AM Welcome and Introductions
9:15 AM Tony Avent, Proprietor, Plant Delights Nursery
  Southern Plants for Northern Climates
10:15 AM Andrew Bunting, V.P. of Horticulture, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
  Magnolias for the Midwest
11:15 AM Break
11:30 AM Ed Lyon, Director, Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University
  From Bringing Nature Home to The New Wild: A Balanced Perspective on Gardening in the Future
12:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Richard Olsen, Director, U.S. National Arboretum
  Where the Wild Things Are: The Role of Cultivation in Plant Conservation
2:30 PM Tim Wood, Product Development & Marketing Manager, Spring Meadow Nursery
  The Hunt for New, and Better Plants


















Southern Plants for Northern Climates

Due to an array of glaciation events, many plants moved south to escape the cold, far from their genetic origins, resulting in unexpected winter hardiness. We’ll explore some exceptional perennials with southern roots that have great potential for Zone 5/6 gardeners.

Tony Avent

Tony Avent, Plant Delights NurseryTony Avent is an American horticulturist and plantsman. He and his wife,  Anita Avent, own Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanical Garden in Raleigh, NC. Tony Avent grew up with a passion for plants and nature. In 1978,  he graduated from NC State University with his bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Science and began working for the NC State Fairgrounds as a Landscape Director.  In addition, he worked as a volunteer curator of the Shade Garden at JC Raulston Arboretum from 1985 to 1994. He also worked as a weekly garden columnist for Raleigh’s News & Observer newspaper from 1987 to 1998. He established Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanical Gardens in 1988.  In 1994, Tony designated all his time to running the nursery. Tony is a plant breeder best known for his Hosta breeding program, but actively breeds other genera as well. In addition, Tony travels the world on plant hunting expeditions to search for new, rare, and unusual plants. He is an avid plant collector with a large collection of rare, variegated Agave. He is a prolific writer as well, having authored a book and dozens of newspaper articles, magazine articles, and web articles. He is currently contributing editor to Fine Gardening Magazine. Further, Tony travels the country, having given over 800 lectures on gardening topics, not to mention the lectures he each year held at Plant Delights Nursery.  

Magnolias for the Midwest

In this presentation, Andrew Bunting, Vice President of Horticulture at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and author of “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias”, will explore the best-of-the-best for magnolias that will thrive in the Midwest, including several native magnolia varieties. This lecture will cover both species and cultivars alike, and will detail the attributes of each magnolia, including how they can be used in the landscape, cultural considerations, pruning, and more. Andrew will also discuss some of the best mail order nurseries where these magnolias can be found.

Andrew Bunting

Andrew BuntingAndrew Bunting is Vice President of Horticulture and leads the utilization of planting and design to promote environmentally sound gardening practices at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Andrew has elevated each of the departments he oversees and has increased the brand and visibility of PHS through their respective work. Andrew received his B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from Southern Illinois University. Prior to arriving at PHS, Andrew worked at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chanticleer Garden, and the Scott Arboretum for a tenure of 27 years. He has received the American Public Gardens Association’s Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He also serves on the Board of Magnolia Society International. Andrew published his first book in 2015, “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias.” 

From Bringing Nature Home to The New Wild: A Balanced Perspective on Gardening in the Future

Our ecosystems will collapse if we don't garden with all natives. The species that conservationists fear most are precisely the ones that nature needs most. Two contradictory statements, which is right? These are perhaps the most challenging times for gardeners in history. Conventional narrative is that climate change may be leading the world toward what some term as the earth's sixth great mass extinction. We all want to garden with ecological responsibility but where does advocacy become activism and what are the truths behind the controversy and hype? More than ever, we need open minds and accurate science-based education; Ed Lyon will delve deeply into some of those issues in this presentation.

Ed Lyon

Ed LyonEd Lyon is the director of Reiman Gardens. For 20 years he has inspired and taught public, student and professional audiences through lecturing and writing and through Spellbound Garden Writing & Consultation. He writes for garden magazines and has created on-line classes for Fine Gardening and Garden Gate. He authored the book Growing the Midwest Garden, published by Timber Press in 2015. He serves on the executive board of the Perennial Plant Association. Throughout his roles in public garden administration and hands-on experience in the green industry, he has been as passionate about education as he is horticulture.

Where the Wild Things Are: The Role of Cultivation in Plant Conservation

Through history, gardeners have served as a vast contingent of citizen scientists preserving plant diversity. Cultivating a plant is, more and more, an act of conservation. As such, this talk will celebrate the role gardeners play in ensuring future generations experience the wonders of the plant kingdom. In the process, will highlight examples of plants in our gardens and the community of gardens, public and private, collaborating on cultivating the world’s flora.

Dr. Richard Olsen

Richard OlsenWith two horticultural degrees from NC State and a third from the University of Georgia, Dr. Richard Olsen’s career spans genetics, specimen development and administration.  Recognized as a leader in public horticulture, Dr. Olsen was named Director of the US National Arboretum (USNA) in 2015. Prior to his promotion at the USNA, earlier he was a research geneticist and the Arboretum’s lead scientist where he focused on developing pest and disease-resistant urban landscape trees. This important work – including travel around the world to find and develop new plants for commercialization in the U.S. – continues to benefit America’s nursery and landscape industry.

The Hunt for New, and Better Plants

Every new plant has a story. Join Tim Wood, plant hunter, shrub breeder and plant enthusiast as he takes you on a plant hunting journey in search of new and useful woody plants. Get to know some great new plants, the interesting people behind them, and what makes them better for growers, garden centers and gardeners.     

Tim Wood

Tim WoodThe Proven Winners tagline is “A Better Garden Starts with a Better Plant.” As the Product Development Manager for Spring Meadow Nursery, Tim Wood’s job is find those better plants. He is credited with discovering or breeding over 400 plants including Limelight, Little Lime and Incrediball Hydrangeas. An avid photographer and writer, he writes a blog called “The Plant Hunter” and has three books to his credit including “Tree and Shrub Gardening for Michigan.” He studied and taught horticulture at Michigan State. Prior to Spring Meadow, he did stints at Zelenka Nursery, Longwood Gardens, Kingwood Center, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Arnold Arboretum. Of all his accomplishments, Tim is most proud of his role in the Invincibelle Spirit campaign which has raised over a million dollars for breast cancer research.  

Sponsored by:

Friends of Secrest ArboretumOhio Landscape AssociationKingwood Center GardensBartlett Tree Experts