Plant conference brings out all things botanical

Landscape design, botany, horticulture and gardening will be the highlight of “Landscaping and Gardening With Native Plants” conference held in Highlands on Sept. 10 and 11.

Hundreds attend the annual conference featuring two days of fieldtrips, workshops and speakers. Get inspired to use native plants in your garden. Learn new concepts in ecology and conservation. Gather tips on design principles. Come away with a list of native perennials, shrubs and trees that work best in our region. 

The annual conference is put on by the Highlands Biological Foundation and will be based at the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center in Highlands. The proceeds will benefit the Botanical Gardens at the Highlands Biological Station, a refuge and demonstration garden for over 500 species of Southern Appalachian plants.

There are nine fieldtrips to chose from on Friday, including The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with herbalist Ila Hatter, garden tours with landscape designers, photography and landscape design workshops, and hikes to Lonesome Valley, Devil’s Courthouse and Satulah Mountain.

Dr. John Pickering, an ecologist at the University of Georgia and creator of Discover Life, a web-based interactive encyclopedia of known species, will give a talk Friday evening on “Nurturing the Ecosystem in Your Own Backyard.”

A native plant auction will be held on Saturday afternoon where bidders can acquire rare and unusual native plants.

Saturday features a line-up of well-known speakers in the horticulture field, including: Peter Loewer of the Wild Gardener and author of over 30 books; Richard Bir, formerly of the NC Cooperative Extension Service; Dr. Sean O’Connell, microbiology professor at WCU; and landscape photographer Kevin Fitzpatrick.

The registration fee for the entire event is $135. 828.526.2602.


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