Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium 


This year's event will be held at the beautiful Wayne Theatre in Downtown Waynesboro!  We've been listening to your feedback and we want your SVPS experience to be the best it can be. The Wayne offers state-of-the-art audio, visual, and lighting equipment which will bring presentations to life ensuring a pleasing experience for all who attend from the first speaker to the last!


Wayne Theatre: Ross Performing Arts Center

521 W Main Street

Waynesboro, VA 22980

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            Friday, March 24, 2023           8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Doors open at 8:00am     -   Program starts at 8:30am

Wayne Theatre

521 W Main Street, Waynesboro VA  22980

Questions should be directed to Stephanie Seltzer,


No day of registrations. Last day to register is 3/20/23 by 5:00 pm.  




New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient, Ecologically Vibrant Home Garden- Kelly D. Norris

In this era of purposeful and thoughtful gardening, planting is a powerful verb. Planting gardens inspired by nature promotes authentic connections with the land, the environment, and humanity. Why not make a garden that works and looks good doing it? Landscapes at home and in the public realm can be beautiful and ecologically functional if we deepen our understanding of plants and place. Tailored to garden enthusiasts Kelly draws on examples from around the world and challenges audiences to plant the world into a more beautiful, functional place. 

Native bee on flower

The Buzz: Planting and Managing for Native Bees- Heather Holm

When creating and managing thriving habitats for native bees, many factors such as seasonal phenology, nesting strategies, and flower preferences must be considered—and with approximately 3,600 species in North America (north of Mexico), there are many unique aspects to keep in mind when managing successful landscapes for bees. Heather will highlight the pollination of native plants and the mutualism between native plants and native bees. Learn about pollen specialists, the presentation of floral resources, and how the physical characteristics of bees can influence their effectiveness as pollinators. Heather will also discuss ways to manage landscapes to enhance bee diversity, plant selection considerations, and ultimately how to think like a bee! 

sharing plantsSlow Gardening: All Senses, All Seasons- Felder Rushing

Slow gardening is a philosophy of garden-variety gardening simply for the love of it. Time in the garden doesn't just have to be all about results. Felder will touch on good gardening practices, natives, and pass-along plants. This introduction to a slow-gardening approach will help us enjoy our gardens year in and year out and possibly connect us to our neighbors a little bit more. 

Stump Garden

Maverick Gardeners: Keepers of the Flame- Felder Rushing

Get inspired by some of the most passionate of gardeners, DiGrs. These Determined Independent Gardeners, can be found in nearly every neighborhood worldwide. Often color-outside-the-lines types, these folks garden for the love of it and are happy to tell you about it and share a plant or two to boot. Bound by plants and attitude, they are modern-day "keepers of the flame." You'll want to free your inner maverick.

Work with Mother Nature

Let's Work with Mother Nature- Yolima Carr

It's shocking that more people do not work with mother nature. It seems like we work against our own resources when we should be learning from them. We cannot change the patterns of the natural world and should strive to mimic nature in our restoration and conservation efforts.  In Virginia, we are very lucky to have plenty of rain, acres of tree canopy, rivers, mountains, the Chesapeake Bay, and the ocean. Sounds to me like a perfect place, right? Well, it can be if we can work with it- if we respect the rivers that provide us fish and recreation and the land that sustains our habitat. 



Registration includes speaker presentations, morning refreshments, boxed lunch, and parking in public lots. Details about the boxed lunch are below.

Regular Registration = $95 per person

Late Registration (after March 1) $110 $95 per person (Registration closes on March 20 at 5:00 pm or when the registration limit is reached)

Registration will require you to set up an account. Your user ID will be your email and you will set up a personal password which must contain upper case and lower case letters and a number or symbol. The system will store your name, address, contact information, and transaction history which you may access and update at any time. If you are purchasing multiple tickets each person you are buying for will need to be added to your account. Please be sure to select the event and pay in order to complete your registration. If you need assistance, contact Parks and Recreation 540-942-6735.

Boxed Lunch

panera sandwich

*Registration includes boxed lunch catered by Panera Bread. There will be an assortment of their most popular sandwiches  boxed with chips, a cookie, and a pickle. Salads will be boxed with a french Baguette, and cookie. There will be an assortment of cold drinks. Please pay close attention to Gluten Conscious and Vegetarian options. Due to the nature of the boxed-style lunch, we will not be able to accommodate every dietary restriction.

If you have dietary restrictions that can not be met by this option, please feel free to bring food that meets your particular dietary requirements.

Be prepared to select an option at registration. This will be the selection you are provided at lunch. 

Sandwiches: Steak & Arugula, Turkey Bacon Bravo, Napa Almond Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad, Mediterranean Veggie  

Salads: Asian Sesame Chicken (Gluten Conscious), Citrus Asian Crunch (Vegetarian), Greek (Gluten Conscious & Vegetarian

Continuing Education 

VNLA- Self-reporting

Certified Horticulturist- Self-reporting  (5) 

VSLD- Self-reporting

Certified Landscape Designer- Self-reporting (5)

CBLP- Self-reporting (#tbd)

ISA- See below for categories:

ISA Certified Arborist-4; Practice- 1; Management- 3; Municipal Specialist- 4; Climber Specialist- 4; Aerial Lift Specialist- 4.

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Click the link to find out more about our speakers and what makes them tick:

  • Felder Rushing- The Gestalt Gardener (NPR), horticulturist, writer, and author

  • Heather Holm- Biologist, pollinator conservationist, and award-winning author

  • Kelly D. Norris-Plantsman, designer, and award-winning author

  • Yolima Carr- The Elizabeth River Project @ Paradise Creek Nature Park

Overnight Accommodations

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Need to spend the night? Ask about special rates for 2023's Garden Symposium

Best Western Inn & Conference Center

109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro, VA 22980 Driving Directions