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2020 Midwest Perennial Plant Association Symposium: Garden Companions

Schedule and location

This program is sold out. Please call the registrar to be added to a waitlist. 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Saturday, February 1, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Thornhill Education Center

Fees and Registration

Fee includes admission to the Arboretum all day, light morning refreshments, a buffet lunch, and all program materials. Members of the Perennial Plant Association should call the Arboretum Registrar’s Office at 630-719-2468 to receive the member rate.
$106.00 members of the Arboretum or the Perennial Plant Association
$125.00 nonmember
This program is sold out. Please call the registrar to be added to a waitlist. 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course description

The Perennial Plant Association and The Morton Arboretum are teaming up to offer a day-long symposium entitled, ‘Garden Companions.’ Some of the best writers and most knowledgeable experts in the business will be here, and you’re invited to listen, learn, and ask questions. Horticulture professionals and garden enthusiasts can meet well-known authors, discover great plants, and get ideas and inspiration for the 2020 growing season.


8:00 a.m. Coffee and Registration

8:30 a.m. Welcome

8:45 a.m. Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden 
Jessica Walliser, author and radio co-host, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Understanding the cycle of predator and prey is an integral part of growing organically. Using information assembled for her award-winning book, Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control, Jessica shines some light on the methods needed to attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, to the garden—and keep them there. Jessica describes over a dozen species of beneficial insects found across North America and accompanies the lecture with beautiful images of the predators themselves and their favorite host plants. You’ll never look at bugs the same way again!

9:45 a.m. Break

10:05 a.m. Native Plant Selections and Hybrids from the Midwest
Brent Horvath, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Hebron, Illinois

Do you like natives? Brent Horvath, owner of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, grower, breeder, gardener, and author, has been breeding and selecting native cultivars for over 20 years. Get to know some of his favorites and what makes them different.

11:05 a.m. Break

11:20 a.m. Gardening for the Sake of Gardens
Chris Fehlhaber, Chanticleer Garden, Wayne, Pennsylvania

Chanticleer Garden outside of Philadelphia is a pleasure garden. Its main purpose is for guests to leave in a better mood than when they arrived. Providing pleasure should be the focus for all gardens. To help achieve this we must change our approach from that of yard work to the practice of gardening. Come together for a conversation about altering our mindset and Gardening for the Sake of Gardens.

12:20 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Lighting the Way: Bright Selections for the Shade Garden
Paul Zammit, Director of Horticulture, Toronto Botanical Garden

While a shaded garden may not receive a lot of sunlight, Paul believes there are plenty of shining stars to make such spaces memorable. Join Paul as he draws on his 25 plus years of experience and his passion for plant shape, texture, foliage, colour, and garden ornament to explore the opportunities of creating a shaded oasis full of eye candy and seasons of interest.

2:30 p.m. Break

2:45 p.m. Perennials Under a Woody Framework
Mark Dwyer, Landscape Prescriptions by MD, Janesville, Wisconsin

We know our landscapes contain a range of plants including bulbs, annuals, perennials, vines, trees and shrubs. Pursuing comprehensive design takes into account not only the ornamental nature of our plant combinations but how well they grow and adapt together in variable garden settings and situations. Mark will discuss a wide range of woody and herbaceous plants, including some fun new selections, and he’ll also examine how to best combine them in the landscape.

3:45 p.m. Concluding remarks and raffles

Presented in partnership between The Morton Arboretum and the Perennial Plant Association

Perennial Plant Association logo


Course number

Mark Dwyer sitting on stairs

Mark Dwyer was Director of Horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens (Janesville, WI) for 21 years before founding his own horticultural consulting firm, Landscape Prescriptions by MD.  He has a background in landscape architecture and urban forestry with his true passion being obtaining, growing, observing and photographing all types of plants.

Chris Fehlhaber is an assistant horticulturist at Chanticleer Garden

Chris Fehlhaber is an assistant horticulturist at Chanticleer Garden. His goal is to raise the public’s consciousness and appreciation of enriching, progressive horticulture. He believes we may all lead better lives by making the world a more beautiful place. Chris holds degrees in Landscape Architecture-Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin.

Brent Horvath is the author of The Plant Lovers Guide to Sedums.

Brent Horvath grew up in the gardening business, working for his parents at Intrinsic Landscaping and Flowers by Intrinsic, and holds a BS from Oregon State University. He started Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc. in 1992, and has gone on to develop over 100 new perennials, including many noteworthy varieties. Brent’s book, The Plant Lovers Guide to Sedums received a Gold award from the Garden Writers Association in 2015, and he was awarded the Perennial Plant Association Grower of the Year award in 2016. When Brent is not gardening, he can be found standup paddle boarding, windsurfing, gardening, and traveling.

Jessica Walliser is co-hots "The Organic Gardeners" on KDKA-Radio in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” on KDKA-Radio in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a former contributing editor for Organic Gardening and a regular contributor to many national gardening publications. Her two weekly gardening columns for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have been enjoyed by readers for over ten years. Her book, Attracting Beneficial Bugs to the Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control, was awarded the American Horticultural Society’s Book Award. Jessica received her degree in ornamental horticulture from The Pennsylvania State University. Jessica lives and gardens northwest of Pittsburgh with her husband and son, six chickens, two cats, two hermit crabs, and billions and billions of very good bugs.

Paul Zammit has a weekly gardening column on the CBC Here and Now radio program in Canada.

Paul Zammit is a graduate of the University of Guelph and is the Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. He is a passionate and energetic gardener and lover of nature who has presented across Canada and the U.S. and internationally for over 25 years. He has appeared on television and in print, such as a weekly gardening column on the CBC Here and Now radio program.  In 2019, Paul was awarded the garden Communicator of the Year by Landscape Ontario. Paul has also been awarded the Young Professionals award by the Perennial Plant Association. He is also the recipient of an Industry Service Award. 


Course details

Notes: Held indoors. Limit 180
Continuing education: Each talk is approved for 1 CEU credit through the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) 

A logo for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

Arboretum class weather, cancellation and refund policies


Lunch generously sponsored by Hinsdale Nurseries, Millennium Park Foundation, Chicago Botanic Garden, Elite Growers and Chalet