Winter Symposium

Sold Out – Sorry, No Walk-ins

"Garden Divas"

  • Saturday, February 18, 2017 – 8:00 am12:00 pm

Note: Registration is now closed. We've started a wait list in case there are any cancellations. Please write Chris Glenn at to be added to the wait list.

From Gertrude Jekyll and Vita Sackville-West to Rosemary Verey and our own Elizabeth Lawrence, women have been among the brightest stars in the horticultural world. Continuing in that tradition, our divas with dirty fingernails carry on that legacy.

Diva – A woman of outstanding talent (traditionally in opera but also recognized in other performing arts). The term is derived from the Italian for "goddess" and is reserved only for those at the very top of their craft.

The inimitable Perennial Diva, Stephanie Cohen, is a living legend with multiple books under her belt and a litany of awards from just about every horticultural group. She shares her passion for plants and gardening across the country as a much in-demand speaker following a 20 year career inspiring generations of students at Temple University where she also founded and led the Landscape Arboretum at Temple University. If you haven't experienced a Stephanie Cohen presentation, you haven't lived a full life.

Carol Reese cemented her spot in the pantheon of great JCRA speakers during her 2004 lecture at the Arboretum. Her incredible depth of knowledge combined with a unique perspective and sense of humor is the stuff of legends. As the University of Tennessee's ornamental horticulture specialist, Carol knows the ins and outs of all aspects of gardening and shares her wisdom through frequent lectures, a newspaper column, blog, and articles in most major gardening magazines.

Our own hometown hero Pam Beck needs little introduction as the co-author of Best Garden Plants for North Carolina and longtime Carolina Gardener magazine contributor and columnist for the News & Observer. She continues to write for gardening magazines and her photography appears in various books and other publications. Pam has been a JCRA board member, volunteer, and supporter for many years and and has served in advisory roles for other local horticultural groups. What Pam doesn't know about gardening in North Carolina, isn't worth knowing.

The one through-line for all of our "women of outstanding talent" (divas) is their incredible passion for plants and gardening combined with a gift for communicating the knowledge, creativity, and skill needed to have success in the garden. A morning spent with them will send you out inspired to create your own patch of paradise.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

8:00 am   Registration, continental breakfast, and silent auction begins
8:30 am   Presentation
9:30 am   Break and auction
9:45 am   Presentation
10:45 am   Break and auction
11:00 am   Presentation
12:00 pm   Conclusion and auction checkout


Graham Ray's garden

"Hanging out with Shady Characters"

Pam Beck

If you don't already have a shade garden, you soon will as your trees and shrubs spread and grow. This colorful talk examines all of the layers of a shade garden with recommendations for plants that can tolerate various types of shade and root competition, along with design tricks to brighten up even the darkest corners.

Amorphophallus titanum

"Trends in Horticulture: From New and Novel to Retro to Ridiculous
Stephanie Cohen

Everything evolves from life styles, cars, clothing styles, home goods, architecture, eventually everything changes. Stephanie Cohen, a.k.a. "The Perennial Diva," dishes the dirt on trends in horticulture. Some are great and just trending, others are retro and are coming back in style, and some are not to be believed!

Come and enjoy this "unique" presentation!

natural planting

"Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Stories"
Carol Reese

You walk past them every day. Mute, they cannot tell us of their fascinating roles in our nation's history, or further back, their contributions to the native American way of life. Discover delicious edibles that can be gathered on country roadsides, and learn the answer to the head scratching question "Is it a plant, or is it a weed?" Digging a little deeper, many plants and garden critters lead fascinating love lives. Carol makes it funny, but it is actually a wonderful trip through the intimate interactions just outside the window. You can tell the stories of our silent friends in the landscape after this lively yet poignant program.


Pam Beck

Pam Beck

Pam Beck is an award-winning garden writer, photographer, and lecturer from Wake Forest, North Carolina. Since 1988, Pam's articles and photographs have been published in national and regional gardening magazines, newspapers, professional newsletters, and Web sites. She has taught landscaping for adult education classes; worked retail in garden centers; done design and install work; and, has been a garden scout and photo shoot stylist for Better Homes & Gardens. Pam is the co-author of Best Garden Plants for North Carolina published by Lone Pine, and is a frequent guest on WPTF's Weekend Gardener and The Tom Kearney radio shows. When not gardening on her own two acres, Pam is often traveling to speak before avid gardening audiences—such as this one.

Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen has written a book on design that was published in the spring of 2005 called The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer published by Storey Press. It was their best seller for 2005. This book was chosen by The Garden Writer's of America as the winner in the best overall book.(2005) Stephanie finished a new book for 2007 called Fallscaping. The Diva has received the honor award from The Perennial Plant Association at their meeting in 2005 in Canada. Stephanie is the first woman to receive this award—the only other woman won as a husband and wife team. Currently, she is starting book three for Timber Press and helping to consult on the restoration of the Muhlenberg House Gardens located in Trappe, Pennsylvania. The Diva was written about in Greenhouse Grower (2008) as one of the people in a "Who's Who" in the perennial industry. Stephanie was recently awarded the Garden Communicator of year from PPA. She has also received three awards from the Perennial Plant Association for design, as well as receiving their Service and Academic Award. She has received awards from Temple University, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and The American Nursery and Landscape Association for Garden Communicator of the Year 2000. In 2005, the Diva became a fellow of Temple University Alumni Association, the highest award given to an alumna. She has lectured coast to coast, including Alaska. Stephanie has been on QVC TV as the “Perennial Diva.” She was featured on CN8 TV once a month on a gardening segment. Stephanie has taught herbaceous plants and perennial design at Temple University for over 20 years. She was the founder and director of the Landscape Arboretum at Temple University, Ambler. She is a contributing editor for Fine Gardening, The HGTV Newsletter, is on the advisory board for “Green Profit”, “Green Scene” a publication for PHS, and a regional writer for the Blooms of Bressingham Plant Program. Currently she has finished her new book "The NonStop Garden" which will be released in May 2010.

Carol Reese

Carol Reese

Carol Reese is an ornamental horticulture specialist with the University of Tennessee Extension, where her job for the last 20 years has been to keep the green industry professionals up to date with an increasingly savvy gardening clientele. Her horticulture degrees are from Mississippi State where she taught classes in plant materials and landscape design. In her home community of Sessums, Mississippi, she managed the family owned Reese Orchard for several years, where the major crop is the large and tasty Asian persimmon. Her speaking engagements take her around the country, and she is a contributor to several garden magazines, and has written a weekly gardening and nature column for the Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tennessee for nearly two decades. However, she says her most important credentials are learning from her own experiences, and from those of other gardeners and naturalists. Her favorite place to learn about nature is while roaming the woods and fields in the company of her large collection of motley mutts.

Continuing Education Credit

The North Carolina Landscape Contractors' Licensing Board has approved the Winter Sympsoium for three hours (3L) of continuing education credit. The course number is CE 653. Landscape contractors will need to sign in at the symposium and will receive a proof of attendance form.

We've applied for continuing education credit through the North Carolina Board of Landscape Architects Continuing Education Credits as well.

Proceeds from the Winter Symposium benefit the daily operations and programs of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Fund-raising efforts for the JC Raulston Arboretum operate under the auspices of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit (tax ID 56-6049304).

Early registration (ends February 5, 2017): $50.00 for members, $65.00 for nonmembers; late registration (begins February 6, 2017): $65.00 for members, $80.00 for nonmembers.
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store. Registration is limited and is considered complete when payment is received.
Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks before the program's start date. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this symposium.