2019 Southeastern Plant Symposium

First Annual Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction

The Southeastern Plant Symposium, which begins this year, 2019, is a joint venture between the JC Raulston Arboretum and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.  The symposium is a 2-day horticultural immersion event for plant lovers that will bring together the top plantsmen/plantswomen from around the world as speakers and an audience that includes keen gardeners/plant collectors, botanic garden staff, and green industry members.

The Southeastern Plant Symposium will be held each year in early June, and its focus will alternate between woody plants and perennials:  (Woodies: 2019, 2021, 2023, and 2025) and (Perennials: 2020, 2022, 2024, and 2026). In addition to the talks, the symposium will include a world-class rare plant auction where participants will have the opportunity to purchase special plants, many of which may be otherwise difficult to find or in many cases, completely unavailable. 

All proceeds from the symposium go to fund the operations/operational endowments of the sponsoring organizations.

Cercis 'Flame Thrower'

2019 Dates

Friday, June 7, 2019 – 9:00 am–4:30 pm with an optional 6-8:30pm dinner and evening talk

Saturday, June 8, 2019 – 9:00 am–4:45 pm 

*Juniper Level Botanic Garden/Plant Delights Nursery will be open for symposium attendees on Thursday, June 6, 9am-5pm, and Sunday, June 9, 9am-1pm.

*The JC Raulston Arboretum will be open before, during, and after the symposium from 8:00 am through 8:00pm. 

The Friday sessions will feature 5 talks, not including the optional evening session. On Saturday, we pick up the pace with ten 30-minute talks from top plantsmen sharing their favorite new or little-known plants.

2019 Speakers

Friday, June 7 

*Dr. John Grimshaw, Director, The Yorkshire Arboretum, UK and author of The Gardener's Atlas: The Origins, Discovery And Cultivation Of The World's Most Popular Garden Plants (2010); Snowdrops: A Monograph Of Cultivated Galanthus (2006); New Trees: Recent Introductions to Cultivation (2009) 

*Scott McMahan, Former Owner Planthood Nursery; Currently Manager of International Plant Exploration Atlanta Botanical Garden 

*Ted Stephens, Owner, Nurseries Caroliniana 

*Dr. David Creech, Professor Emeritus, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Director, SFA Gardens and Forestry Consultant to the Chinese Government 

*Julie Moore, National coordinator for Safe Harbor and Candidate Conservation Agreements, Office of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; former biologist/ecologist for the NC Natural Heritage Program and Director of conservation at Tall Timbers Research Station 

*Tony Avent, Founder, Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery (dinner event) – The Woody Plants of Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Saturday, June 8 (confirmed so far) 

*Adam Black, Director of Horticulture, Peckerwood Garden, TX 

*Leanne Kenealy, JC Raulston Arboretum – Former nursery manager Moore Farm Botanic Gardens

*Buddy Lee, Plant Development Services/Southern Living Plants, Director of Plant Innovation – Creator of the Encore Azaleas

*Guy Meacham, New Plant Development Manger for J. Frank Schmidt & Son Company, OR

*Dr. Tom Ranney, NC State Woody Plant Breeder – 2019 Scott Medal Award; Distinguished Achievement Award for Nursery Crops from the American Society for Horticultural Science; the Porter Henegar Memorial Award for Research from the Southern Nursery Association, and the H. Marc Cathey Award for outstanding scientific research from the American Horticultural Society. Introducer of many top selling new woody plants. 

*Dr. Kim Shearer,  Tree and Shrub Breeder and Manager of New Plant Development Program at The Morton Arboretum, IL

*Tim Wood, Spring Meadow Nursery, Ohio (Proven Winners shrubs) Product Development and Marketing Manager 

*Dr. Donglin Zhang, Professor of Horticulture, University of Georgia & Plant Explorer 

More speakers to come at JCRA events.

Hotel Information:

The host hotel for the Southeastern Plant Symposium is the Embassy Suites by Hilton near Research Triangle Park in Cary, NC.
  • Located minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • Complimentary shuttle service from the airport to the hotel
  • Indoor pool, modern fitness center, tennis courts, basketball courts, restaurant, bar and room service
  • Minutes from Umstead State Park and walking and running paths
  • Close to dozens of restaurants: from locally owned to fine dining
  • All suite hotel
  • Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast

To make your reservation, please visit Embassy Suite's web site. Our group name is "2019 Southeastern Plant Symposium". When making a reservation using the link above, the group name is already applied.

Cost: Early: $250.00; Late registration: $300.00; and $60.00 for optional Friday dinner and evening presentation.

Registration: Advanced registration is required. Please register online using the JCRA registration e-store. Registration is limited, so register today to reserve your seat. Registration is considered complete when payment is received. 

Location: Embassy Suites, 201 Harrison Oaks Boulevard, Cary, NC, 27513

Directions: Click here.

Parking: Free parking is available at the Embassy Suites.

Questions: Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this Symposium.