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May 12, 2021
PPA Announces Additional Speakers for 2021 Virtual National Symposium

PPA recently announced a lineup of well-known industry leaders as speakers for the upcoming PPA Virtual National Symposium, being held from July 27-29.  This year’s inspiration for the Virtual National Symposium program and session topics is drawn from the theme Celebrating Perennials: People, Place & Purpose as speakers join us from places like Italy, Britain, Brooklyn, Denver and beyond.

A few speaker highlights include:

Panayoti Kelaidis is a plant explorer, gardener and public garden administrator associated with Denver Botanic Gardens, where he is now senior curator and director of outreach. Kelaidis will present “Reinventing a Western Landscape Aesthetic,” where he will share some of the heroes — both people and plants —who have created the transformation of Western landscapes from “English style” into something far more sustainable and appropriate to a Western setting, as well as discussing its relevance and impact on other regions. 

Horticulturist, landscape designer, lecturer and writer Jason Reeves joins the PPA Virtual Symposium with a tour of his private home garden in western Tennessee.  Jason received his master’s degree in ornamental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Tennessee — Knoxville. In 2002, he became a research horticulturist and curator of the University of Tennessee Gardens located at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. His colorful plant combinations and unique garden art, made by recycling everyday objects, draws several thousand people each year to the Center’s annual lawn and garden show, Summer Celebration. 

Scott McMahan, Atlanta Botanical Garden’s manager of international plant exploration, will offer final remarks as the closing speaker at the Virtual National Symposium with the session titled “Plant Exploration with a Purpose.” McMahan’s lecture will focus on photos and stories from 20 years of plant exploration in Southeast Asia and how that has prepared him in his current role at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  In particular, he will speak on the work he and his colleagues have been doing in the wilds of China, Vietnam and India.

Each day of the three-day educational event will consist of hour-long opening and closing sessions, mini sessions, tour talks and traditions such as the New to the Market Forum and Landscape Design Awards. Throughout the event, attendees will participate in polls, trivia, Q&A with presenters as well as be engaged beyond education for some fun surprises! Sponsors are crafting daily mindfulness breaks and those who register by June 18 will receive a welcome box including items to participate in a happy hour and a custom PPA virtual tea tasting by Drink Good Tea.  

The Virtual National Symposium is part of PPA’s 2021 Hybrid National Symposium showcasing online education days, as well as in-person, smaller, outdoor PPA Pop-Up events held at various locations around the U.S. To learn more about the Pop-Up events, visit https://perennialplant.org/page/Popups. 

The PPA Virtual National Symposium will take place online from 1–5 p.m. ET July 27-29, with additional happy hour events on July 27 and 28. For a schedule of events and to register visit https://perennialplant.org/page/VirtualNationalSymposium.

Early-bird registration rates run through June 18.


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