Spring Symposium

"Magnolia Mayhem"
A Magnolia Study Day

  • Saturday, March 23, 2013 – 8:00 am2:00 pm

A trio of great plantsmen will share their knowledge in this not-to-be missed magnolia study day. Magnolia Society International board members Kevin Parris and Aaron Schettler will be joined by the JCRA's Mark Weathington. Kevin, a horticulture instructor and the arboretum director at Spartanburg Community College, will discuss recent magnolia hybridization successes while Aaron, the grounds manager at Meredith College, will highlight great magnolias for use in southeastern landscapes. Tours of the JCRA's and Meredith College's magnolia collections with Mark and Aaron follow the presentations.


    March 22, 2013 (Friday)
8:30 AM   Depart from the JCRA
9:30 PM   Tom Krenitsky's private garden
11:00 AM   Depart
11:30 AM   Lunch in downtown Chapel Hill
12:30 PM   Depart
12:45 PM   Charles R. Keith Arboretum
2:00 PM   Depart
2:15 PM   Camellia Forest Nursery
4:15 PM   Depart
5:15 PM   Arrive at the JCRA
    March 23, 2013 (Saturday)
8:00 AM   Registration, continental breakfast, and silent auction begins
8:30 AM   Aaron Schettler
"The Fascinating World of Magnolias: Magnolias 101"
9:30 AM   Break and auction
9:45 AM   Kevin Parris
"Recent Interspecific Hybridization Advances in Magnoliaceae: These Ain't Your Mama's Magnolias"
10:45 AM   Break and auction
11:00 AM   Tour of the JCRA's magnolia collection with Mark Weathington
12:00 PM   Lunch
1:00 PM   Tour of Meredith College's magnolia collection with Aaron Schettler


Kevin Parris
"Recent Interspecific Hybridization Advances in Magnoliaceae: These Ain't Your Mama's Magnolias

Kevin's presentation will highlight recent hybridization efforts in Magnolia, focusing on evergreen taxa. The recent taxonomic consolidation of the former Genera Michelia and Manglietia into Magnolia has sparked the imagination of breeders and led to an increasing number of interspecific and intersectional hybrids. One outcome of these breeding efforts will certainly be an availability of pink evergreen magnolias for southeastern U.S. landscapes. Kevin will first walk us through the intriguing taxonomy of the plant Family Magnoliaceae, and then highlight some of the breeding breakthroughs of Bill Smith, Dennis Ledvina, Tom Ranney, and share his own serendipitous story of how the first hybrid between Magnolia insignis and Magnolia fraseri was developed. With an immense respect for traditional plants and an eagerness to see what the future holds, Kevin will share with us "Recent Interspecific Hybridization Advances in Magnoliaceae: These Ain't your Mama's Magnolias."

Aaron Schettler
"The Fascinating World of Magnolias: Magnolias 101"

Magnolia is a large and ancient genus comprised of flowering shrubs and trees. Some are deciduous and others are evergreen. And, many are prized ornamentals. In this presentation, Aaron will discuss the various types of magnolias that exist and highlight many of the top performing magnolias for landscape use in the Southeast. Aaron will also discuss resources available from the Magnolia Society International for those interested in magnolia cultivation and conservation.


Kevin Parris

Kevin Parris, a board member of the Magnolia Society International, is a Horticulture Instructor and the Arboretum Director at Spartanburg Community College. He first developed an interest in horticulture at the age of 13 after being required to do a leaf collection. After graduating from Clemson University in 1989 Kevin worked in the landscape industry before taking the position of propagator at Gilbert's Nursery for 8 years. It was during this stint that he selected and named the Magnolia grandiflora cultivar 'Kay Parris' in memory of his mother. This cultivar is now produced in the United States, Europe, and Australia. From 1998–2007 Kevin developed a landscape design business that evolved into the LandArt Design Group, Inc. In 2008, he devoted himself to teaching full-time at SCC, where he had been an adjunct faculty member since 1990. This opportunity led Kevin back to graduate school at Clemson and research under the direction of Tom Ranney of NC State University, focusing on polyploidy, genome size, and micropropagation of Magnolia.

Aaron Schettler

Aaron Schettler, board member of the Magnolia Society International, is a landscape and grounds professional and manages 200 acres of grounds and gardens at Meredith College. He received his Associate of Horticulture at Oklahoma State University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from the University of Oklahoma. After his studies, he moved to North Carolina and became a certified arborist, plant professional, and landscape contractor. He, managed the grounds at Meredith for ten years and continues to seek new ways to feature plants of horticultural interest and emphasize magnolias in the campus gardens and landscape.

Early registration (through March 8, 2013): $25.00 for JCRA and MSI members and $35.00 for nonmembers; late registration (begins March 9, 2013): $35.00 for members and $45.00 for nonmembers. The optional nursery tour is $25.00 for members and $35.00 for nonmembers, and is only open to symposium participants.
Please call (919) 513-7005 to register. Early registrations must be received by Friday, March 8, 2013. Late registrations must be received by Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Registration is limited. Online registration is not available.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina, with optional tour destinations in Chapel Hill (transportation included).
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.