May 14, 2018
GWA Announces Annual Conference Details

Exclusive garden tours, education sessions covering communication trends and networking opportunities are coming to Chicago Aug. 13-16, 2018, as part of GWA: The Association of Garden Communicators’ 70th Annual Conference & Expo. GWA is co-locating with the Independent Garden Center Show. 

The conference will kick off with a presentation from Jacqueline van der Kloet, recognized for her designs in Lurie Garden and the New York Botanical Garden. Additionally, for the first time, GWA conference attendees will also have special access to the Independent Garden Center (IGC) Show, including exhibits, keynote speakers — such as Daymond John of the TV show “Shark Tank” — and a Tuesday evening concert by the Marshall Tucker Band. To close out the conference, the GWA Awards & Honors Dinner on Thursday, Aug. 16 will take place at the iconic Mid-America Club and recognize and celebrate both GWA Media Awards winners and GWA Honors.

“Holding the GWA conference in conjunction with the IGC Show allows us to easily connect our professional garden communicators with individuals and organizations that need their services, including garden center owners, managers and buyers,” said GWA president Becky Heath. “Also, it’s an opportunity to reinforce our expertise by tapping into trends and products that will be on our audiences’ minds this year.” 

The GWA conference sessions are tailored to professional communicators from across the green industry, including authors, bloggers, marketers, editors, photographers, and TV and radio personalities. Topics include tips and tricks for writing, digital technology, business marketing and publishing. 

Attendees have special access to iconic Chicago public gardens as well as exclusive tours of inspirational private gardens, including:

Tuesday, Aug. 14: Downtown High Life: From the Lurie Garden to the Lakefront

  • Lurie Garden in Millennium Park
  • McCormick Place Rooftop Farm
  • Shedd Aquarium Gardens

 Wednesday, Aug. 15: Farm to River: Urban Farming, a Riverfront Park and a Glorious Glass House

  • Garfield Park Conservatory
  • Farm on Ogden
  •  Ping Tom Memorial Park
  • Hyde Park Private Gardens
  • Midway Plaisance & Jackson Park

Thursday, Aug. 16

  • North Side Jewels Tour: Historic Home Gardens & Lincoln Park tour (includes Wicker Park, Lincoln Park Conservatory and LaSalle Street Gardens)
  • South Side Saga Tour: Private Gardens and a World’s Fair Gem (includes visits to Garden of the Phoenix and Burnham Wildlife Corridor)

Friday, Aug.17

  • West Suburban Delightful Delicacies Tour  (includes Beard Private Garden, O’Brien Private Garden, The Morton Arboretum, McVay Private Garden, and Gardens at Ball
  • North Suburban Distinctive Designs Tour (includes Chalet Nursery, Fulmer Private Garden, Kurtis Conservation Foundation and Mettawa Manor, Camp Rosemary Posy Krehbiel Garden, and Chicago Botanic Garden)
  • Food and Community in the City Tour (includes Edible Treasures Garden at The Field Museum, Peterson Garden Project Pop-Up Victory Garden, Global Refugee Training Farm, and Uncommon Ground.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit


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