Building on more than three decades of success hosting national symposia, the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) has gathered some of the brightest and best names in the industry for the 35th Annual Perennial Plant Symposium and Trade Show being hosted in Denver, Colorado, from July 23 through 28.
This event is held in a different region of the country each year with the goal of exposing green industry professionals to a broad range of design styles and plant palettes, as well as gaining new ideas from highly successful growers and retailers that can be implemented in their own operations back home. Denver’s high altitude, dry conditions, higher light intensities and deep snow cover allows for amazing plant palettes one won’t see elsewhere.
The 2017 symposium will bring together western region experts like world-famous rock garden guru Panayoti Kelaidis, steppe specialist Michael Bone, and western garden design expert Lauren Springer Ogden to share dry garden techniques that are pertinent to gardeners across the country who face rising pressures to use water more responsibly.
The controversial yet undeniable cannabis and hemp industries will be discussed with local experts Duane Sinning and Kerrie Badertscher. Attendees will also hear from PPA veterans like Stephanie Cohen, Tony Avent, Brent Heath and Paul Pilon as well as some new voices in the industry including Shannon Currey, Joseph Tychonovich and Brie Arthur.
The trade show portion of the event is always a gathering of “who’s who” in the perennial industry. “If you grow, sell, buy, design with, teach or write about perennials, pretty much everyone at the symposium is someone you should talk to – or keep an eye on,” says PPA past-president John Friel of Emerald Coast Growers. This year’s trade show will flaunt the most promising new perennials its member companies have to offer and create opportunities to network with industry professionals face to face.
In addition to a packed lecture schedule and trade show, the symposium includes a robust selection of tours of some of the most highly regarded perennial growers and retailers in the area like Gulley Greenhouse, Center Greenhouse, Welby Gardens, Tagawa Nursery and Nick’s Garden Center and Farm Market, among many others.
“In Colorado, you’ll see incredible plant diversity, from riparian urban areas to mountain tundra, all within an hour of Denver. At the symposium, we’ll have the experts there to help explain the difficulty plants have surviving on 14 inches or less of water in our high desert to 200 inches of snow and cold in the mountains,” explains Gene Peilin, PPA local site committee co-chair and general manager of Gulley Greenhouse.
Denver is famous for its botanic gardens. PPA symposium attendees will have the unique opportunity to visit both campuses of the Denver Botanic Garden and enjoy a special dinner in the gardens one memorable evening. Additional opportunities will include tours of the private gardens of Panayoti Kelaidis, Rob Proctor, Lucette Larkin and Rod Haenni. The symposium will conclude with an optional, yet once-in-a-lifetime, day trip to Vail to visit the spectacular Betty Ford Alpine Garden and enjoy an alpine walk with fellow hortiholics including Kelaidis and other regional experts.