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2020 Midwest Perennial Plant Association Symposium: Garden Companions

Schedule and location

This program is sold out. Please call the registrar to be added to a waitlist. 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Saturday, February 1, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Thornhill Education Center

Fees and registration

Fee includes admission to the Arboretum all day, light morning refreshments, a buffet lunch, and all program materials. Members of the Perennial Plant Association should call the Arboretum Registrar’s Office at 630-719-2468 to receive the member rate.
$106.00 members of the Arboretum or the Perennial Plant Association
$125.00 nonmember
This program is sold out. Please call the registrar to be added to a waitlist. 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course description

The Perennial Plant Association and The Morton Arboretum are teaming up to offer a day-long symposium entitled, ‘Garden Companions.’ Some of the best writers and most knowledgeable experts in the business will be here, and you’re invited to listen, learn, and ask questions. Horticulture professionals and garden enthusiasts can meet well-known authors, discover great plants, and get ideas and inspiration for the 2020 growing season.


8:00 a.m. Coffee and Registration

8:30 a.m. Welcome

8:45 a.m. Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden 
Jessica Walliser, author and radio co-host, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Understanding the cycle of predator and prey is an integral part of growing organically. Using information assembled for her award-winning book, Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control, Jessica shines some light on the methods needed to attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, to the garden—and keep them there. Jessica describes over a dozen species of beneficial insects found across North America and accompanies the lecture with beautiful images of the predators themselves and their favorite host plants. You’ll never look at bugs the same way again!

9:45 a.m. Break

10:05 a.m. Native Plant Selections and Hybrids from the Midwest
Brent Horvath, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Hebron, Illinois

Do you like natives? Brent Horvath, owner of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, grower, breeder, gardener, and author, has been breeding and selecting native cultivars for over 20 years. Get to know some of his favorites and what makes them different.

11:05 a.m. Break

11:20 a.m. Gardening for the Sake of Gardens
Chris Fehlhaber, Chanticleer Garden, Wayne, Pennsylvania

Chanticleer Garden outside of Philadelphia is a pleasure garden. Its main purpose is for guests to leave in a better mood than when they arrived. Providing pleasure should be the focus for all gardens. To help achieve this we must change our approach from that of yard work to the practice of gardening. Come together for a conversation about altering our mindset and Gardening for the Sake of Gardens.

12:20 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Lighting the Way: Bright Selections for the Shade Garden
Paul Zammit, Director of Horticulture, Toronto Botanical Garden

While a shaded garden may not receive a lot of sunlight, Paul believes there are plenty of shining stars to make such spaces memorable. Join Paul as he draws on his 25 plus years of experience and his passion for plant shape, texture, foliage, colour, and garden ornament to explore the opportunities of creating a shaded oasis full of eye candy and seasons of interest.

2:30 p.m. Break

2:45 p.m. Perennials Under a Woody Framework
Mark Dwyer, Landscape Prescriptions by MD, Janesville, Wisconsin

We know our landscapes contain a range of plants including bulbs, annuals, perennials, vines, trees and shrubs. Pursuing comprehensive design takes into account not only the ornamental nature of our plant combinations but how well they grow and adapt together in variable garden settings and situations. Mark will discuss a wide range of woody and herbaceous plants, including some fun new selections, and he’ll also examine how to best combine them in the landscape.

3:45 p.m. Concluding remarks and raffles

Presented in partnership between The Morton Arboretum and the Perennial Plant Association

Perennial Plant Association logo


Course number


Headshot of Craig Bergmann

Craig Bergmann is a Registered Landscape Architect, garden designer, plantsman, and lecturer. He founded Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, Inc. in 1982. All design is done under his supervision. Craig is uniquely self-taught, gardening since he was five years old with a gift of his own garden plot from his father. His company provides garden design through installation, and continued maintenance in the metropolitan Chicago area. Nationally, current design projects range from the desert and hills of southern California, the beach communities of Central Florida and along the Hudson River in New York. With the help of 70+ staff members, including a nursery facility, he is able to collaborate with a great atelier of talent & dedication.

Headshot of Fred Miller

Dr. Fredric Miller is a professor of horticulture at Joliet Junior College, and a Senior Scientist Entomology at The Morton Arboretum. He received a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Missouri, a M.Sc. in entomology from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in entomology from Iowa State University. His research efforts focus on host plant resistance of ornamental woody plants, biological control of EAB, and ash regeneration. He is an active member of the ISA and IAA, and is a Board Certified Master Arborist.

Headshot of Chad Rigsby

Chad Rigsby received his Ph.D. from Wright State University in 2016 and spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Rhode Island. Chad joined The Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories in 2018 as a Research Scientist and Technical Support Specialist, where he conducts arboriculture research and interacts with arborists, urban foresters, and others in the green industry to promote proper tree management in the urban landscape. Chad has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications, given numerous talks at society meetings, workshops, and community meetings and was awarded the Postdoctoral Fellow Research & Scholarship Excellence Award at The University of Rhode Island.

Headshot of Lydia Scott

Lydia Scott is the Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI). Founded by The Morton Arboretum, the CRTI is a coalition of ~200 organizations working together to improve the health of the urban forest resulting in improved quality of life. The CRTI provides training, education, and outreach to communities, landowners, and managers; works to improve policies, local and regional plans; and promotes the preservation and protection of trees and their ecosystems. The CRTI has the most in depth and extensive urban forestry dataset in the U.S. This dataset informs the action and direction of CRTI. Lydia holds a Master's of Science degree from the University of Illinois in Environmental Science and has 25 years experience in conservation and urban forestry.

Headshot of Allyson Salisbury

As the postdoctoral researcher on the Illinois Tollway Project, Allyson Salisbury is responsible for implementing a multi-year research project aimed at improving management practices for growing trees in highway settings. She is an environmental scientist who is broadly interested in how we use plants and ecological knowledge to help plants grow better in highly disturbed environments and manage pollution. To do this she uses techniques from plant physiology and soil science to examine relationships between plants and urban soils. She is also very interested in heavy metal pollution as well as urban biodiversity.

Headshot of Todd West

Dr. Todd P. West is a Professor of Horticulture at North Dakota State University (NDSU) and director of the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program. This program focuses on the development of new woody cultivars suited for USDA hardiness zone 3 and 4. The purpose of this project is to increase the breeding efforts and germplasm collections for ornamental woody plants suited for cold continental climates. This program has released 59 ornamental woody plants to the nursery industry, many of which have been shown to be the hardiest selections of their type in the commercial nursery industry.


Course details

Notes: Held indoors. Limit 180
Continuing education: Each talk is approved for 1 CEU credit through the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) 

A logo for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

Arboretum class weather, cancellation and refund policies


Lunch generously sponsored by Hinsdale Nurseries, Millennium Park Foundation, Chicago Botanic Garden, Elite Growers and Chalet