Presented by the Perennial Plant Association and The Morton Arboretum.


The program is presented by the Perennial Plant Association and The Morton Arboretum.

February 28, 2015

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The Program will be held at:

Thornhill Education Center at The Morton Arboretum 
4100 Illinois 53
Lisle, IL 60532


Contact Steven Still
Perennial Plant Association

Ready! Set! Garden! has been wildly popular and the event is now SOLD OUT!

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On Saturday, February 28, 2015, the Perennial Plant Association and The Morton Arboretum are teaming up to offer a day-long symposium entitled, ‘Ready! Set! Garden!' Some of the best writers and creative plantsmen in the business will be there, and you’re invited to listen, learn and ask questions.

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers offers one credit for each presentation for a total of six (6) APLD CEUs for the full day program. 

Registration is $89 for members of PPA and/or The Morton Arboretum. Non-members are welcome to attend. Non-member registration is $105. Lunch, beverage breaks, and admission to the 1700-acre arboretum are included in the registration fee. 

The program will be held at the Thornhill Education Center at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois 53, Lisle, IL 60532.

'Ready! Set! Garden!'

8 am to 8:45 am -Registration

9 to 10 am -The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year Round Beauty

David Culp, Sunny Border Nurseries, Downingtown, PennsylvaniaLayered Garden BookDavid Culp

Brandywine Cottage is David Culp’s two-acre garden where he has mastered the design technique of layering-interplanting many different species in the same area. David will illustrate a basic lesson in layering: how to choose the correct plants, how to design a layered garden, and how to maintain it. David is a world-renowned plantsman and award-winning author of The Layered Garden, published by Timber Press.

10 to 10:30 am -Break

10:30 to 11:30 am -A New Spin on Old Favorites

Susan Martin, Gardener Sue's News, Holland, Michigan

This is not a sales pitch! Here you’ll see new varieties of perennials compared side by side with their older counterparts and judge for yourself which are truly new and improved. You’ll leave with practical knowledge and inspiration you can implement immediately. Get a sneak peek at a few new perennials for the 2015 retail season too! 

11:30 am to 12:30 pm - Perennials in the Landscape

Susan L.B. Jacobson, FASLA, PLA, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois

This presentation will give an overview of the perennials used at The Morton Arboretum, highlighting some winning combinations and landscape uses. The talk will touch on solutions for tough areas and three-season interest. 


12:30 to 1:30 pm –Enjoy networking and Lunch

1:30 to 2:30 pm –Thrills & Chills - New Perennials for 2015

Chris Hansen, Great Garden Plants, Zeeland, Michigan

Join Chris for a fast-paced look at the exciting new sun and shade-loving perennials for 2015. Chris guarantees you’ll experience a variety of “thrills & chills” as you enjoy a sneak preview of more than 100 tantalizing new perennials. From the newest double-flowered coneflowers to Chris’ own hellebore hybrids, you’ll be entranced by these colorful new garden plants. Chris promises to present only plants hardy to zone 5. 

2:30 to 3:00 pm - Break

3:00 to 3:30 pm - Sedums, Sun-Lovers & Other Sumptuous Succulents

Galen Gates, Gates Landscape Garden Design, Palentine, Illinois

“This trusty plant will brighten a window in winter, cheerfully color spring, enjoy the heat of summer and hunker down with you in the fall” -- Brent Horvath’s description of a favorite Sedum from his new book, The Plant Lover’s Guide to Sedums. This presentation will highlight sun-lovers that are: established benchmarks, new, high-performance plants that are “must-haves” and even a few plants you may have thought were once called... Sedum

3:30 to 4:00 pm –The 10 Best Hostas & More!

Mark Zilis, A to Z Perennials, Inc., Rochelle, Illinois

Sorting through the myriad of hosta cultivars can be a daunting task. Choosing ones that not only sell well, but make great garden plants is the key to long-term commmercial success. Today’s talk will focus on the ten hostas every nursery should offer. 

4:00 to 5:00 pm - Get to Know Maintenance

Laura Deeter, Ohio State University ATI, Wooster, Ohio

Perennials are our “babies.” Yet as they grow up, they often behave in inappropriate ways, becoming bullies, thugs, or simply lazy. As gardeners, we break our back, knees and bankbook for our babies and we want them to perform their best throughout their lives. But we (and our clients) are also busy and can’t spend every waking moment catering to every whim and desire. You’ll learn maintenance tips and tricks to make your perennials work for you!

Meet Your Presenters

David Culp

David is the creator of Brandywine Cottage Gardens in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Brandywine Cottage has been featured several times in Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times and on HGTV. David has been lecturing about gardens nationwide for more than 15 years. His articles have appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Fine Gardening, and Green Scene. David is vice-president of marketing for Sunny Border Nurseries in Connecticut. He is the award-winning author of The Layered Garden, published by Timber Press. Read more about David in a 2013 New York Times article and check out his website.

Laura Deeter

Laura is a professor at the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), The Ohio State University. She teaches herbaceous and woody plant identification, plant health management, landscape design, garden maintenance, perennial production, and computer aided design. Laura has been awarded the ATI Distinguished Teaching Award, The Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguishing Teaching, the Perennial Plant Association Academic Award, and the American Horticultural Society Teaching Award.

Chris Hansen

Chris is the vice-president of Great Garden Plants of Holland, Michigan. Great Garden Plants, established in 2007 is an online source of new and exciting garden plants. Chris’ career in horticulture includes time in internships at the Missouri Botanic Garden and Longwood Gardens, as Director of Horticulture for Wayside Gardens, and in a wholesale nursery for several years. During this time Chris has visited and photographed thousands of nurseries and home gardens. Chris Hansen was the co-recipient of the 2013 Perennial Plant Association Retail Sales Award. His experiences searching for new perennials with be highlighted in “Thrills & Chills – New Perennials for 2015.”

Susan L.B. Jacobson, FASLA, PLA

As a landscape architect for The Morton Arboretum, Susan leads the landscape, planning and design efforts for the Arboretum’s award-winning grounds. Susan guides and coordinates the design development for the 1700-acre arboretum campus. Prior to the arboretum, Susan was owner and sole proprietor of Bartell’s/Jacobson Design, a landscape architectural design firm. The firm’s design work emphasized use of native plant material and sustainable landscape design principles. Susan is a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Mark Zilis

Mark is President of A to Z Perennials, a new wholesale nursery specializing in tissue cultured herbaceous perennials. Following his graduation from the University of Illinois, Mark has prospered as a co-owner or owner of T&Z Nursery and Q&Z Nursery, respectively. Mark is the author of The Hostapedia and Mark Zilis’ Field Guide to Hostas. He is the perfect speaker to present “The Ten Best Hostas and More.” 

Galen Gates

Galen is the principal of Gates Landscape Garden Design in Palatine, Illinois. His responsibility is as a landscape consultant for private and public properties and estates such as Trump Tower Chicago, Millennium Park, and Navy Pier. For 30 years Galen provided leadership to the Chicago Botanic Garden, including Director of Plant Collections with 25 expeditions and trips into 20 countries conducting field studies and collecting valuable genotypes. He has also been a contributor to 90 books and 30 journal articles.

Susan Martin

Susan’s company, Gardener Sue’s News, conveys the depth and breadth of her career in horticulture. A GenX garden communicator, she takes information from her experience at Walters Gardens, Inc., as marketing director for 11 years, as a sales representative and merchandiser for Hines Nurseries, as a self-employed garden designer, and as a garden center retailer. Her early nurturing by her parents during her Michigan upbringing has led to a rounded presentation for all of us.