Fall Symposium

"Falling for Color"
Featuring Dan Benarcik, Chanticleer; Eileen D. Boyle, Mt. Cuba Center; Jim Harbage, Ph.D., and Jim Sutton, Longwood Gardens; Jamaica Kincaid, Harvard University; and Jason Reeves, University of Tennessee Gardens

  • Saturday, November 14, 2020 – 9:00 am3:30 pm

How to Join Us Online on Saturday

E-mails with the details on how to join us on Saturday have been sent to all registered participants through the end of Thursday. An e-mail will be sent on Friday at the end of the day to all of the newest participants. A reminder e-mail will be sent to everyone early on Saturday morning. And if you register overnight (late on Friday or early on Saturday), you will receive an e-mail with the instruction to join us before the program begins. If you register on Saturday after the program has begun, you will get an e-mail shortly, but not immediately, after you register. If you don't see an e-mail from us in your inbox, please look in your spam folder. If you're a Gmail user, please look in your Promotions tab (or the other tabs).

If you haven't received any of the e-mails, please write Chris Glenn at chris_glenn@ncsu.edu.

Fall is finally at our doorstep, and our long-awaited Fall Symposium is also almost here! This year, we have a great cast of speakers that are sure to reinforce and develop your knowledge and love for gardening.

Acer palmatum


Saturday, November 14

9:00 am
Welcome with Mark Weathington
9:10 am
"Falling for Color by Raising Chrysanthemums"
Jim Harbage, Ph.D., and Jim Sutton, Longwood Gardens
10:00 am
10:10 am
"More than a Colorful Plant: Trials at Mt. Cuba Center"
Eileen D. Boyle, Mt. Cuba Center
11:00 am
11:10 am
"Cast Away: Turning Trash into Treasure"
Jason Reeves, University of Tennessee Gardens
12:00 pm
12:30 pm
"Gardening in Overtime—Getting the Most out of Your Late-season Display"
Dan Benarcik, Chanticleer
1:20 pm
1:30 pm
"The Disturbances of the Garden"
Jamaica Kincaid, Harvard University
2:20 pm
Questions and Answers with the Speakers
3:00 pm
4:30 pm
Rare Plant Auction Closes


Chanticleer in fall

"Gardening in Overtime—Getting the Most out of Your Late-season Display"
Dan Benarcik, Chanticleer

Fundamentally we all want the same thing ... more! More plants, more choices, and more options to extend our gardening season. Dan will share with you ways that he extend the season on both sides at Chanticleer, both fall and spring. Plant suggestions, design tips, and techniques for how to make your late season garden sing.

colorful coneflower trials at Mt. Cuba Center

"More than a Colorful Plant: Trials at Mt. Cuba Center"
Eileen D. Boyle, Mt. Cuba Center

Mt. Cuba Center trials native plants for their ecological and horticultural value. But a plant needs to be more than colorful and pretty to get on our preferred list. Learn how we do our trials and our winners for such multi-hued genera as heuchera, baptisia, phlox, and hydrangea. Which flowers do our pollinators and hummingbirds prefer in beebalm and coneflowers, and what happens to bee composition when you change the flower color in coreopsis? Find out why the plants in your garden should be more than just ornamental. Join Eileen Boyle as she shows you a rainbow of colorful natives that will create life in your garden and make your day!

Chrysanthemum Festival

"Falling for Color by Raising Chrysanthemums"
Jim Harbage, Ph.D. and Jim Sutton, Longwood Gardens

Jim Sutton, associate director of display design, and Jim Harbage, director of floriculture and conservatories at Longwood Gardens will present how the team at Longwood have raised the level of chrysanthemum culture and training to utilize these iconic fall flowering plants to bring color, design, tradition, and wow to the displays at Longwood Gardens. They will discuss: the intricacies of the Japanese and Chinese training techniques they employ, the management of the 200-plus inventory of rare cultivars in their collection and how they maintain them; the choreographing of color, texture, and three-dimensional shapes in the design process; and the final results of what has become the annual Chrysanthemum Festival.

Tagetes (marigold) flowers

"The Disturbances of the Garden"
Jamaica Kincaid, Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Based on "The Disturbances of the Garden" published recently in The New Yorker, Harvard professor Jamaica Kincaid will provide insight on her relationship with gardening and how gardening and plants act as the center of the world and our lives as we understand them.

bottle wall art

"Cast Away: Turning Trash into Treasure"
Jason Reeves, University of Tennessee Gardens

When you see an old set of bedsprings on the side of the road, do you pick it up? Jason does! Working with limited funds, he finds ways to bring whimsy into the University of Tennessee Gardens in Jackson. The 44' wall of suspended bottles is a major attraction in the gardens, which draw thousands of visitors each year. Found objects such as cookstoves, bicycles, and satellite dishes are used to create imaginative art that showcases the dazzling plant collections of the University of Tennessee Gardens. Jason will inspire you to repurpose your own treasures into whimsical creations.


Dan Benarcik

Dan Benarcik
Horticulturist, Chanticleer

Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Dan's childhood found him with one foot in the flowershop/greenhouse and one in the woodshop. A University of Delaware plant science degree led him to Mt. Cuba Center as the Woodspath gardener. A jump to wholesale plant sales with Imperial Nurseries before joining the young team at Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania. It was there where he's spent 28 years creating and implementing seasonal displays within courtyard gardens. Dan's focus has long been tropical and non-hardy plants with a strong emphasis on dynamic design, creative container combinations, and innovative display. Dan and his wife share an acre of residential gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.

Eileen Boyle

Eileen D. Boyle
Director of Conservation and Research, Mt. Cuba Center

Eileen Boyle is the director of conservation and research at Mt. Cuba Center. During her 15 year tenure at MCC, she was also the director of education and created their Ecological Gardening Certificate. She has degrees in ornamental horticulture and forest ecology and has always been interested in how plants and wildlife interact. Eileen was the director of horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden and also at the Philadelphia Zoo. She served as park administrator for Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks in New York City. She ran the horticulture program at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey and started her career at USDA, Beltsville, Maryland, in plant tissue culture. She loves teaching about plants and watching butterflies.

Jim Harbage

Jim Sutton

Jim Harbage, Ph.D., and Jim Sutton
Director, Floriculture and Conservatories and Associate Director of Display Design, Longwood Gardens

James (Jim) Harbage, P.D., is the director of floriculture and conservatories at Longwood Gardens. He was associate professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University before joining Longwood Gardens in 2000. His team is responsible for acquisition and production of seasonal plants as well as permanent additions to conservatory collections. His team also leads the design, installation, and management of conservatory displays. Jim is curator of the chrysanthemum collection at Longwood Gardens, accredited by the Plant Collections Network of the American Public Gardens Association.

Jim Sutton is the display designer for Longwood Gardens, one of the world's great gardens, encompassing 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, and a four-acre conservatory complex. Welcoming 1.3 million guests per year, Longwood continues the mission set forth by founder Pierre S. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts.

As display designer since 2007, Jim is the aesthetic gatekeeper for Longwood, responsible for conception, designing, and implementing Longwood's renowned Conservatory displays that elevate the art of horticulture. In addition to his design role, Jim teaches courses in floral design in Longwood's Continuing Education Program as well as frequently lecturing on horticultural topics across the country.

Jim's aesthetic expertise and plant savvy have made him a sought-after judge at the prestigious Philadelphia International Flower Show, America in Bloom program, and the 2018 Rose Bowl Parade, serving as one of the three judges for all the floats.

A former Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, Jim not only implemented and demonstrated techniques for soil conservation and improvement, but also taught environmental awareness during his two-year assignment. Jim earned a Bachelor of Science in horticulture from Pennsylvania State University.

Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid
Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Jamaica Kincaid is a professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and is a world renowned writer of fiction. She is best known for being a significant voice in contemporary literature. She is the award-winning author of several short story collections, novels, and nonfiction books, including At the Bottom of the River, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya, The Autobiography of My Mother, and See Now Then. Jamaica is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is also is both a gardener and gardening writer and has written extensively on the subject.

Photograph: Sofie Sigrinn (wikimedia.org)

Jason Reeves

Jason Reeves
Research Horticulturist, University of Tennessee Gardens

Jason Reeves grew up on a farm in western Tennessee, where he fell in love with the plant world. He 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, Tennessee. Jason's 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. His past experiences include work at the Opryland Conservatories in Nashville, Missouri Botanical Garden, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, and in private gardens in New Zealand. When he's not bringing the grounds to life with his imaginative garden displays, he's evaluating hundreds of new and unique plants for the state's green industry; speaking at gardening symposiums or traveling the world leading gardening tours, and serving as a contributing editor to Fine Gardening magazine. He is also a landscape designer and consultant whose influence may be seen in landscapes across Tennessee in the form of distinct plant combinations and his signature garden art. You can follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jason.reeves.79827.

Early registration (ends Sunday, November 8, 2020): $50.00 for members, $65.00 for nonmembers; late registration (begins Monday, November 9, 2020): $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.
Online. Instructions will be provided by e-mail to all participants.
Please contact Chris Glenn at chris_glenn@ncsu.edu for more information about this symposium.