(photo in the public domain from the Library of Congress)
This past week found me at the Mid-Atlantic Horticulture Short Course (MAHSC). Long-term readers of this blog might recall I regularly attend this annual event, plus I volunteer for the sponsoring organization. Each winter for nearly 20 years I have been sitting in darkened rooms, learning so much from many varied horticultural stars. It has become one the few bright spots during my least favorite time of the year and is something I really look forward to.
New for me this year was a big case of role reversal in which the student became the teacher. I was asked to teach a class on The Best Trees for Mid-Atlantic Landscapes for the basic arboriculture group. I have given this talk to local homeowners, but this was my first time ever speaking to professionals, and wannabe professionals. I had to tweak the topic a little and remove a few zone-8-only trees and broaden it for the larger region. I think it went well as I did not get booed, heckled or unduly interrogated about my choices.
When I wasn't teaching, I was attending other classes. The way this event is designed there are many different sessions being taught simultaneously, and it is often hard to decide where to go. These were my choices this year:
John Bartram - The King's Gardener
Kirk Brown, Lecturer, Horticulturist and Dramatist
This was the keynote event and was half theater - half lecture. I left determined to know more about this historic cornerstone of American horticulture, and to visit Bartram's garden the next time I am in Philly.
Elevated Design: New York City's High Line
Elizabeth Fain LaBombard, Associate, James Corner Field Operations
Ms. LaBombard was involved in the design of the High Line and gave us insight into how one of the most fascinating public spaces I have ever experienced, came to be.
High Level Hort: Gardening New York City's High Line
Johnny Linville, Horticulture Foreman, Friends of the High Line
There was some overlap with the previous lecture, but Mr. Linville described more of the plant considerations.
Facebook for Business
Building Your Social Media Plan
Jean Ann Van Krevelen, President, White Willow Media
Like many of us, I have my own Facebook page, but I also administer two other non-personal pages, so I need all the help and advice I can get. These classes together were together worth the price of admission. Ms. Van Krevelen is also a blogger and can be found here and here.
New Shrubs: From the World to You
Stacey Hirvela, Marketing Specialist, Spring Meadow Nurseries
Who among us doesn't like learning about new plants? This company is responsible for the development and/or promotion of many new introductions.
Visionary Design: Color & Texture & Form
Tracy DiSabato Aust, Author
This class ended too soon, long before we could see all of her photos of some really excellent landscapes. (To my knowledge, this was the first time I ever had a class at the MAHSC taught by a champion triathlete.)
Seeing the History in the Trees
Brian Knox, President, Sustainable Resource Management, Inc.
After this class, I will now walk through the forest with a different set of eyes.
Shoot Your Own: Garden Photography, Tips to Improve Your Marketing
Macro Photography, Let's Get Close
Rich Pomerantz, Rich Pomerantz Photography
You have likely seen many of this photographer's work in both catalogs and gardening magazines. I learned so much from both of these classes, especially the second one which was a 4 hour workshop. The most important thing I learned was how much I don't know.
Formula for Success
Susan Martin, Director of Marketing Communications, Walters Gardens, Inc.
This class was a two-parter, marketing to woman and new perennials. Things I need to know in equal amounts.
Myths that Kill Trees
Douglas L. Airhart, Professor, Tennesseee Technological University
Myths are meant to be broken.
Edibles in Landscapes: Design for Success
Nan Chase, Garden Writers Association
Ms. Chase is the other of Eat Your Yard and is a resident of Asheville, NC where her garden will be open for the Garden Bloggers Fling in May.
Every Gardener Should Tell a Story: Garden Writing for Your Market
Amy Stewart, Author, Garden Writers Association
As a garden blogger, this 3 hour workshop on improving writing skills was for me probably the best part of this year's event. I was in the presence of garden writing greatness, and it was a wonderful way to end this year's course.
These were just a small few of the many classes offered at the MAHSC. The program is designed for professionals, but is open to everyone and is held each year at the end of January or in early February. If you would like to consider attending next year, like MAHSC on Facebook for updates.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I have not received any compensation from any person, organization or company for mentioning them in this post, but as always, I am open to consideration. It all depends on what is being offered.)