What You Missed at 2016’s Interior Plantscape Symposium

I’ve been to a lot of industry events in my years as a horticulture professional, but this recent two day Interior Plantscape Symposium hosted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and AmericanHort, was a special continuing education treat.

Held at the incredibly beautiful Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the immense floral spring back drop was a sight to behold.

I attended the separate Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB) Economics of Biophilia course, taught by the effervescent Jan Goodman. And although it was an intense 4 hours, it was very informative and thorough. For more information on upcoming GPGB CEU programs visit the Train the Trainer page on their website.

It was a full day Thursday with other breakout sessions including a living wall workshop, how to build super teams, awesome managers and customer relations, as well as business and sales coaching, bio-release demonstrations, water wise techniques, website tips and a plethora of industry conversations, by this well attended and enthusiastic group. I met young aspiring horticulturists, maintenance technicians, interiorscape owners, landscape architects, university plant and science educators and sales consultants. And, I felt very fortunate to be among so many long time interiorscapers (30 years plus). What an inspiration you all continue to be.

The special attention each vendor and sponsor gave to this event was a welcome bonus too. Each giving their time and knowledge, unselfishly to all.

Longwood Gardens Interior Plantscape Symposium The highlight of my day was keynote speaker Dr. Param Srikantia, Professor at Baldwin Wallace University and author of “The Architecture of Human Greatness: Alternative Visions for Leadership in a Global Era.” Dr. Srikantia gave two very poignant talks. He touched me deeply with his talk on how most of us are “sleep walking” thru life and how mechanistic, not naturalistic a society we’ve become. He touched on how knowledge has become more important than mystery and how it can distance us from each other. True presence, like nature, is a gift and we could all benefit from being aware and reveling in its mystery. He quoted from the many teachings of renowned spiritual teacher, Osho, and also mentioned, “The Irony of the Rat Raced Explained.” I urge you to Google it if you’ve never read or heard this story. He brought that message home on a level we all could appreciate.

Interior Plantscape SymposiumAnd last, but not least by any stretch of the imagination was Longwood Gardens itself. Oh my, I get a little verklempt just writing this and looking over all my photographs. I’ve been to many arboretums and public / private gardens, but this one was just remarkable. Never have I experienced such a lovely botanical garden. It’s a must see and not just in the spring. I’m certain it is breathtaking during any season.  Director, Paul Redman, and staff have done one heck of a job, including the folks in the kitchen who prepared an array of delectable meals, snacks and beverages for us to enjoy.

Regardless where the 2017 Interior Plantscape Symposium will be (fingers crossed – Longwood), I highly recommend adding this to your calendar. There is so much to learn and the benefits from the camaraderie of our diverse plant industry will repay itself greatly.

Robbin Voight is a 30 year veteran of the plantscape and horticulture industry. Her horticultural consulting service is based in Georgetown, Texas. She is an active trail guide at several preserves in Austin, and a hobby naturalist. Robbin is a Registered Green Plants for Green Buildings Trainer looking forward to presenting the accredited 'Advanced Living Walls' continuing education course and 'The Economics of Biophilic Design' to architects and interior designers across North America. You can reach her at [email protected]

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