Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium 

Notice (3/13/2020):

With public safety foremost in our minds, we have decided to cancel this event. If you had registered, we will be issuing full refunds of the registration fee. 

Please mark your calendar for next year’s event -Friday, March 19, 2021. We hope to see everyone there next year. 

Stay well. 

Waynesboro Parks and Recreation presents the

 Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium

            Friday, March 20, 2020                   8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Best Western Inn and Conference Center in Waynesboro, Virginia

Vendors should contact Stephanie Seltzer,

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Registration for this event is currently closed.

Coronavirus Update (3/11/2020)

Regular Registration = $90 per person

Late Registration (after March 9) $100 per person

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.


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Best Western Inn & Conference Center

109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro, VA 22980 Driving Directions

Need to spend the night? A block of rooms have been reserved for Thursday, March 19, 2020. Make your reservations prior to February 28, 2020 and mention Garden Symposium to receive a discounted rate of $96.00 for your room.


Native Plant: Facts and Fallacies- Carol Reese

You’ve heard it hundreds of times- native plants are more drought tolerant, and resistant to pests and disease. It’s just not so! Some natives are troublesome, others are terrific landscape plants, but so are many exotics, as evidenced by the success of many trouble-free heirloom plants. This talk separates fact from fiction and features plants that are trouble-free additions to the landscape, no matter what their origin. It also asks questions and raises issues that cause one to question the definition of native.

Are They Better or Just New?- Paul Westervelt

With so many new perennials released every year, it can be difficult to distinguish legitimately better cultivars from those that are simply marketable. Through production and ground trials, garden visits, vendor visits and collaboration with other growers, the true winners for our region can be selected. 

Badass Trees for Piss Poor Places- Scott Beuerlein

Originally titled "Good Trees for Bad Places," it was determined by a committee of sobriety-challenged but internationally renowned horticulturists that it needed an upgrade. The trees in this talk are survivors. They laugh at incorrect planting techniques, mulch volcanoes, bad pruning cuts, and other poor maintenance practices. They embrace poor soil, and they spit at drought. Some are the usual suspects but some you probably won't know. Enjoy this romp through trees so ornery they'll resist the worst nature can hurl at it and be there to shade your children's children's children. 


Designing for the Wild Life- Marie Butler

A wildlife garden does not have to be a wild-looking garden. Birds and butterflies do not object to attractive design. Just take basic garden design techniques and give them an extra animal-friendly twist.

Special Effects in the Landscape- Carol Reese

Some landscapes have that special something- a unique bit of structure, a wildly different way of using water, a surprising take on color. Garden sculpture can be many things, and part of the charm is innovative siting, or regional vernacular. How about an innovative little vegetable garden that will also be a landscape feature? Steal these ideas and adapt them to create a bit of paradise.  

Continuing Education 


Certified Horticulturist (5)


Certified Landscape Designer(5)


Landscape Architect (5)


Landscape Professional (3.5)


Certified Arborist 3.5; Municipal Specialist 3.5; BCMA/Management 3.5; TW Climber Specialist 3.5; TW Aerial Lift Specialist 3.5; Utility Specialist 1.25

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Afternoon coffee service compliments of Williams Brothers Tree & Lawn Service.

Black Bear will be providing composting of lunch tableware!

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Scott Beuerlein

Scott is the Manager of Botanical Garden Outreach at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. He is heavily involved in running the Zoo’s Botanical Garden educational programs, various plant trialing programs, the Zoo’s Best Plants for Pollinators brand, and the Plant for Pollinators Challenge. Scott is also a garden writer and horticultural speaker. He has published hundreds of articles and columns in publications such as Horticulture Magazine, State by State’s Ohio Gardener (and other related State and regional magazines), and American Nurseryman. He is a Partner in the Garden Rant blogsite and contributes a blog monthly. He also writes the Deeper Roots column for Horticulture Magazine. In 2019, Scott was awarded gold medals by the International Association of Garden and also received the Civic Garden Center of Cincinnati’s Building Community Award. He is the current Chair of the Boone County Arboretum Collections Committee, past Chairman of Taking Root, past President of the Cincinnati Flower Growers Association, and Past Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Urban and Community Forestry Council. He is an ONLA Certified Landscape Technician and an ISA Certified Arborist, and lives and gardens with his wife, Michele, a nervous, old, blind dog, and a cold-hearted cat who openly plots their doom.

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Paul Westervelt

 Paul is a professional plant geek who has run the annual and perennial program for Saunders Brothers Nursery in Piney River, Virginia since 2004, where he grows over 800 varieties across 13 programs. He grew up in Winchester, Virginia, across from a multi-acre Oehme van Sweden garden. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in Horticulture from Virginia Tech (2001 and 2003 respectively). In 2009 he was awarded the "Young Professional of the Year" by the Perennial Plant Association. He was selected for the 2013 Class of 40 Under 40 for Greenhouse Product News. Each year, GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. Paul is a contributing columnist for Grower Talks Magazine and is a popular speaker at national and regional events.

Paul lives and gardens with his wife and two children (propagules) on their farm in central Virginia.

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Marie Mims Butler

Marie finds and shares the joy of the garden. From the floriculture greenhouses and design studios at NC State to the wilds of the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. She has harvested practical gardening techniques, tough and tasty plants, glorious garden combinations, oddities, and curiosities. As a garden speaker, she educates, teases, and entertains audiences at botanical gardens, professional horticultural symposia, garden shows, Master Gardener classes, and garden clubs. Named Horticulturist of the Year by the Hampton Roads Nursery and Landscape Association, Marie is the most recently escaped animal from the VA Zoo. After 19 ½ years in captivity, she now roams free to travel and to report her findings to all who will listen. Serving on the boards of The Virginia Horticultural Foundation and GardenComm- Garden Communicators International, Marie is proud to be a Chesapeake Master Gardener Emeritus (class of 1992!). At home in her Chesapeake, VA garden, she aspires to tame the weeds and provide behavioral enrichment for the desirable plants while meeting every whim of her 2 cats, Beauregard and Sasha.

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Carol Reese

Carol is an Extension Horticulture Specialist housed at the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson. She is a nationally-known speaker, blending equal parts gardening knowledge, natural lore, and quirky humor. Carol is the gardening and nature columnist for several newspapers, as well as a contributor to several gardening magazines. She was the Q&A columnist for Horticulture Magazine for several years. Her B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture are from Mississippi State University, and she could also add her Ph.D. if she “had ever written that damn dissertation!” While there, she taught classes in Plant Materials, and co-taught Landscape Design for non-LA majors alongside a “real” landscape architect. She attributes her love of horticulture to being raised on a farm by generations of plant nuts, including a grandfather who dynamited his garden spot each spring to “break up his hard pan”. Carol’s very personal appreciation of natural lore is at least partially a result of her near daily rambles through the wild areas near her home with her motley collection of mutts, also known as the strong-willed breed of “Amalgamations.”