Announcing: The 2017 Longwood Graduate Symposium & Travel Award!

 

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Greetings from the Longwood Graduate Program!

Save the date and spread the word! The Longwood Graduate Symposium will be held on Friday, March 3, 2017.

The Longwood Graduate Program Symposium is a daylong event featuring speakers, panel discussions, and conversations on a topic geared towards public garden professionals. This year’s Symposium, Growing Together: Gardens Cultivating Change in the Economic Landscape, will explore research on the economic impact of gardens, advocacy for nonprofit organizations, effects of urban revitalization, and public gardens as economic drivers. For the third year in a row, a Travel Award will be given to eligible emerging professionals, including students, to engage a new generation in this important subject.   

Click here for additional information about the Travel Award, including the application. The deadline for applications is Sunday, January 8, 2017.

Further updates (including open registration and speaker announcements) will be posted through this blog (http://agdev.anr.udel.edu/longwoodgradblog/) as well as our Facebook page.

For questions about the Travel Award, please contact Erin Kinley at ekinley@udel.edu. Questions about the Symposium event can be sent to Elizabeth Barton at ebarton@longwoodgardens.org.

NAX Day 5: Magnolia Plantation

For their final day of NAX, the Fellows visited Magnolia Plantation just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Magnolia Plantation has been owned by the Drayton family for over 300 years and was a rice plantation until shortly before the Civil War when Reverend John Drayton began converting the property’s focus to gardens. Originally planted as traditional formal gardens, the Reverend decided to transform the space into the new romantic style. Over 150 years later, the gardens are a beautiful blend of the two styles and feature magnificent live oaks and a collection of over 27,000 camellias.

Magnolia Plantation is home to magnificent live oaks and cypress trees, as well as expansive collections of camellias and azaleas that bloom in the spring and early summer.

Magnolia Plantation is home to magnificent live oaks and cypress trees, as well as expansive collections of camellias and azaleas that bloom in the spring and early summer.

Today, Magnolia strives to be a place where visitors can get away from the world while also staying relevant to the surrounding community. For example, the garden is considered to be one of America’s most dog-friendly destinations, and the organization even offers free annual memberships to families who adopt dogs from local shelters. In addition, all profits generated from the garden go towards the Magnolia Plantation Foundation, which gives scholarships and grants to local students and organizations.

Assistant Horticulturist Kate White shares the garden's history and details about its current upkeep.

Assistant Horticulturist Kate White shares the garden’s history and details about its current maintenance.

Magnolia’s commitment to relevance was evident throughout the Fellow’s day in the garden. Starting with a tour of the gardens, Assistant Horticulturist Kate White and Special Events/Festival Coordinator Karen Lucht shared both the history of the gardens and their current operations strategies. Afterwards, the Fellows were treated to a special “Lunch and Listen” with Isaac Leach, a life-long garden employee whose family has worked at Magnolia for several generations. Isaac grew up on the property, where his family lived in a former slave cabin until the early 1990’s. The Fellows were fascinated to hear about his experiences growing up and working at the garden, which he lovingly described as the place he was meant to be.

An icon of the garden, this black and white bridge is one of Magnolia's most popular wedding spots.

An icon of the garden, this black and white bridge is one of Magnolia’s most popular wedding spots.

The Fellows finished the day with Magnolia Plantation’s unique Slavery to Freedom tour led by Joseph McGill, founder of The Slave Dwelling Project. The tour leads visitors through several of the plantation’s former slave cabins, restored to different time periods between the pre-Civil War era and the Civil Rights Movement. The tour brings the story of Magnolia Plantation full-circle and helps represent the reality of the garden’s history as a rice plantation.

Joseph McGill describes daily life for the slaves that once inhabited this cabin.

Joseph McGill describes daily life for the slaves that once inhabited this cabin.

The Fellows would like to thank all of the Magnolia staff who went above and beyond to make this such a special experience!

NAX Day 1: Biltmore House and Gardens

Hello, friends and followers of the Longwood Graduate Program! This week, the Fellows are exploring the Carolinas on their North American Experience (NAX). NAX is part of the core LGP curriculum and allows the Fellows to explore public gardens in another region of North America while forging connections with professionals from across the country.

The Fellows’ adventure began today at Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore is one of the few for-profit public gardens in the U.S. and was created from the original Vanderbilt estate. As one of the original founders of Biltmore said, “We don’t preserve Biltmore to make a profit, we make a profit to preserve Biltmore.”

An incredible vista of Biltmore house that the Fellows captured on their tour of the 8,000-acre property.

An incredible vista of Biltmore house that the Fellows captured on their tour of the 8,000-acre property.

To generate that profit, Biltmore leverages every part of its 8,000 acre-estate to create an incredible and unique visitor experience. Biltmore encompasses multiple businesses beyond the house and gardens, including a vineyard, winery, equestrian facilities, agricultural production, and outdoor recreation. The organization even offers multiple on-site accommodation options for guests to immerse themselves in the Biltmore atmosphere.

The Fellows stop to take in the vineyard views while on their tour with Biltmore Director of Horticulture Parker Andes.

The Fellows stop to take in the vineyard views while on their tour with Biltmore Director of Horticulture Parker Andes.

The Fellows would like to thank all of the fantastic directors and staff at Biltmore for their time, wisdom, and hospitality. It truly made for an unforgettable experience!

Professional Outreach Project 2016

It’s August, and the Fellows are three months into this year’s Professional Outreach Project with the Delaware Center for Horticulture. The project will result in a Garden Site Vision Plan for TheDCH’s Demonstration Garden. Created in 1987 and dedicated in 1992, the original grounds of TheDCH “aimed to showcase urban gardening ideas”. Now almost thirty years later, the garden site is under renovation as TheDCH undergoes a new strategic planning phase. The Fellows will gather feedback from TheDCH’s stakeholders and community members to create a vision for what the garden site could be in the future.  

The 2017 LGP Fellows with Vikram Krishnamurthy, TheDCH Executive Director, and Ann Mattingly (TheDCH Director of Programs) on their first site visit!

The 2017 LGP Fellows on their first site visit with TheDCH Executive Director Vikram Krishnamurthy and Director of Programs Ann Mattingly.

To date, the Fellows have conducted site visits, staff interviews, external benchmarking, and community workshop planning. The Fellows will be holding a community workshop at TheDCH on September 7th from 6 – 8pm to invite feedback and discussion from local neighbors and supporters of the organization. Their final report will be presented on October 26th at TheDCH’s Annual Meeting.

We’re (almost) Halfway There: LGP First-Year Fellows in the Midst of Thesis Work

While the second-year Fellows are preparing to defend and defending their theses, the first-year Fellows are hard at work tackling their research projects. The Class of 2017’s theses cover a wide range of topics, from human resources-related issues to food systems education and Millennial engagement in public gardens. Keep reading to learn more about their individual research!

LGP Class of 2017. Back row: (left to right) Grace Parker, Erin Kinley, Alice Edgerton. Front row: Elizabeth Barton and Tracy Qiu

LGP Class of 2017. Back row: (left to right) Grace Parker, Erin Kinley, and Alice Edgerton. Front row: Elizabeth Barton and Tracy Qiu

Tracy Qiu is researching racial diversity in public horticulture leadership. She will be performing interviews with leaders in the public horticulture field who represent racial diversity in the workforce. Through her research, she hopes to identify pipelines to leadership for minorities and people of color, perceptions of diversity in the field, barriers and challenges, and areas for future success.

Grace Parker is investigating succession planning in public horticulture. Her goal is to build a body of research that identifies the status of succession planning in public horticulture and to determine best practices for our unique field. Grace is currently concluding preliminary interviews with 30 gardens within the American Public Garden Association membership, and plans to follow up with focus groups and case studies.

Booderee Botanic Gardens, Australia. Both at home and abroad, the first-year Fellows engage with leaders from around the world to discuss hot topics in public horticulture.

Erin Kinley is evaluating food systems education and interpretation in U.S. public gardens. By partnering with the American Public Garden Association and Benveniste Consulting, Erin just received survey data back from over 100 gardens in the U.S. and Canada to determine the scope and content of food systems programming at public gardens. Next, she will be conducting phone interviews and on-site observations of select programs to identify best practices for food systems education at public gardens.

Alice Edgerton is exploring racial diversity in public garden internship programs. She believes this topic is an intersection of two of public horticulture’s most pressing challenges: the lack of young people entering the profession of horticulture and the need to diversify public garden staff. Alice will soon be interviewing current and former interns of color as well as internship administrators—feel free to contact her if you are interested in being interviewed (alice.edgerton@gmail.com)!

Elizabeth Barton’s thesis work investigates Millennial engagement with cultural institutions, specifically public gardens. She is interested in helping gardens cultivate and communicate with a Millennial audience. Elizabeth plans to explore this timely topic through a series of surveys, phone interviews, and case studies.

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Blue Mountains Botanic Garden-Mount Tomah, Australia. From succession planning to Millennial engagement, the LGP Class of 2017 is engaged in a variety of research topics critical to the future of public horticulture.

For more information about the LGP Class of 2017, check out their bios on the Longwood Graduate Program website, or visit their personal websites (hyperlinked with their names in the descriptions above).

Botanic Gardens of South Australia, Part 1

To finish out their International Experience, the Fellows are spending two days with the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, a division of South Australia’s Department of Environment, Water, and Natural Resources. The Botanic Gardens include three garden sites–Adelaide, Mount Lofty, and Wittunga–and is the only institution outside of North America to be an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

The oldest of the South Australia Botanic Garden sites, Adelaide Botanic Garden was first opened to the public in 1857.

The oldest of the South Australia Botanic Garden sites, Adelaide Botanic Garden was first opened to the public in 1857.

The Fellows spent the morning at Adelaide Botanic Garden, where they met with Deputy Director Tony Kanellos and Collections and Horticulture Manager Andrew Carrick to discuss the Gardens’ latest strategic plan. The plan is centered on their new collections policy. The policy helps the garden determine how to preserve and build upon the plants, objects, buildings, and even vistas that are important to the organization.

The Fellows explore Adelaide Botanic Gardens' new wetland area with their guide, Andrew Carrick. The wetland cleans and stores rainwater runoff so that it can eventually be used to irrigate the garden.

The Fellows explore Adelaide Botanic Gardens’ new First Creek Wetland with their guide, Andrew Carrick. The wetland cleans and stores rainwater runoff, which will eventually be used to irrigate the garden.

As the Fellows learned on their morning tours, Adelaide Botanic Garden is perfectly poised to educate visitors about the timeless importance of plants. The garden is home to both the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, which showcases the historic food and fiber plants of Australia, and the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre, which protects future plant diversity by preserving millions of native plant seeds.

Originally built in 1881, the Santos Museum of Economic Botany displays models of hundreds of food and fiber plants that were critical to colonizing both Australia and the British Empire.

Originally built in 1881, the Santos Museum of Economic Botany displays models of hundreds of food and fiber plants that were critical to colonizing both Australia and the British Empire.

The day ended with an afternoon tour of Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Mount Lofty features numerous hiking trails, collections of plants from around the world, and incredible views of the Piccadilly Valley.

Hiking trails at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden offer sweeping views of the South Australian landscape.

Hiking trails at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden offer sweeping views of the South Australian landscape.

Not up for a mountainside trek? Visitors can also enjoy peaceful walks around the garden's small lake.

Not up for a mountainside trek? Visitors can also enjoy peaceful walks around the garden’s small lake.

Check back in with us tomorrow to read about the final day of our Australian adventure!

The Fellows took full advantage of the interactive art pieces at the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

The Fellows, taking full advantage of the interactive art at the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden

 

The Holiday Season Has Arrived!

Just before Thanksgiving, the Fellows ushered in the holiday season by helping with Longwood’s Christmas Changeover in the conservatory. The Changeover replaces the Chrysanthemum Festival with all the elements of A Longwood Christmas in just a few days’ time – a massive undertaking!

The Thousand Bloom Mum in all its glory at the beginning of the Chrysanthemum Festival.

The Thousand Bloom Mum in all its glory at the beginning of the Chrysanthemum Festival

To do their part, the Fellows take apart the show-stopping pinnacle of the festival: the Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum. A spectacular work of living art, this year’s mum sported over 1,400 flowers and took seventeen months to grow and train. This feat is managed by Longwood’s talented mum specialist Yoko Arakawa and her team of skilled horticulturists.

Because a new Thousand Bloom Mum is grown for each year’s festival, the old one is cut down at the end of the season to save valuable resources and greenhouse space. Although this may seem wasteful, the giant mum is composted along with the other plants removed with the conservatory so that it can later be used to nourish future generations of flowers.

Longwood mum specialist Yoko Arakawa gives a demonstration on how to separate the flowers from the plant. Each flower had to be removed before the frame could be disassembled.

Longwood mum specialist Yoko Arakawa demonstrates how to separate the flowers from the plant. Each flower must be removed before the frame can be disassembled

It took nearly three hours for the ten Fellows and several other Longwood staff members to dismantle the magnificent beast. Starting by removing the flowers within arm’s reach, the group quickly progressed into using ladders, pruners, and wire cutters to untangle the plant from its frame.

Fellows and staff clip away at hundreds of flowers on the mum

Fellows and staff clip away at hundreds of flowers on the mum

First Year Fellow Tracy Qiu and Second Year Fellow Fran Jackson begin taking apart the mum from the inside out.

First Year Fellow Tracy Qiu and Second Year Fellow Fran Jackson take apart the plant from the inside out

Once the lower branches have been cleared away, the rods that give the frame its shape can be removed.

Once the lower branches have been cleared away, the rods that give the frame its shape can be removed

With the last of the mum being carted off to compost, Yoko and Second Year Fellow Keith Nevison finish taking apart the rest of the frame. The frame will be stored in pieces until the mum for next year's festival is big enough to start training.

With the last of the mum carted off to compost, Yoko and Second Year Fellow Keith Nevison finish taking apart the rest of the frame. The frame will be stored in pieces until the mum for next year’s festival is big enough to train

Water features now stand in the place of the Thousand Bloom Mum for the fountain-themed Longwood Christmas, on taking place now until January 10.

Water features now stand in the place of the Thousand Bloom Mum for the fountain-themed Longwood Christmas

Despite the initial pain of deflowering such a beautiful plant, the group took heart in the excited buzz of holiday preparations going on throughout the rest of the building.  A Longwood Christmas 2016, on display until January 10th, is a truly spectacular sight.

Happy Holidays from the Longwood Graduate Fellows!

Happy Holidays from the Longwood Graduate Fellows!

A Wonderful Conference at Scott Arboretum

On Friday, July 17, several of the Longwood Graduate Program Fellows and Longwood Gardens  Interns attended the Woody Plant Conference at The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. While Swarthmore College was founded in 1864, the arboretum was officially dedicated in 1929. The Fellows spent the day listening to several inspiring speakers and engaging with other professionals from the region, as well as enjoying the lovely sights of the arboretum.

Fellows and Interns alike loved the landscapes at Scott Arboretum

Fellows and Interns alike loved the landscapes at Scott Arboretum

After a welcome from Scott Arboretum Director Claire Sawyers, Rebecca McMackin of Brooklyn Bridge Park took the podium to share her experiences with helping create a biodiversity-focused public garden on reclaimed shipping piers in New York City. She was followed by Dr. David Creech of Stephen F. Austin Gardens in Texas, who spoke about the best woody plant selections available for our shifting climate. Longwood Gardens’ own Pandora Young then gave a wonderful presentation on trees and shrubs that not only look great in landscapes but can also provide us with delicious new foods.

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The Scott Arboretum planned an incredible conference, even down to the floral finishes

After lunch in the arboretum’s stunning outdoor amphitheater, conference attendees returned inside to hear Jeff Jabco of Scott Arboretum, Joe Henderson of Chanticleer, and Jessica Whitehead of Longwood discuss the regional clematis trial being done as a joint effort between the three organizations. Next, Jim Chatfield from the Ohio State University Extension program gave valuable insight on analyzing signs, symptoms, and plant health for diagnosing plant problems. Patrick Cullina ended the conference with a riveting presentation on plant use and selection in public spaces, including projects such as the High Line in New York City.

First year Fellows enjoying the beautiful weather after the conference

First year Fellows enjoying the beautiful weather after the conference

The Fellows would like to thank all of the conference staff and volunteers who put together such a wonderful program. We hope to see you again next year!