2019 International MG Conference ‘Dig into Our Roots’

 by Leo Lubke,  IMGC Committee

What better way for MGs to ‘dig into their roots’, both horticulturally and historically, that to attend the 2019 International Master Gardener Conference at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The planning of this biennial event has been years in the making and is sure to meet Master Gardeners’ diverse interests and needs. The focus of this conference from June 17 to 21 (there will also be pre-conference and post conference tours) is: teaching the latest research-based sustainable horticultural and environmental stewardship best practices; sharing knowledge of the introduction and development of horticulture in the Philadelphia region and its far-reaching influence; providing networking opportunities with other Master Gardeners; facilitating tours of public and private gardens and arboreta, and visits to Pennsylvania historical tourist sites; and continuing the mission. In meeting these goals, conference attendees will have an enormous challenge selecting from a vast variety of break-out sessions, field study trips, evening programs and guest speakers, such as Dr. Doug Tallamy (Delaware), author of Bringing Nature Home and advocate of including native plants in our landscapes.

If you are interested in refining teaching skills, or recruiting volunteers to assist in educational activities, you might want to attend the “Master Gardeners as Teachers” session with Eric Barrett (Ohio), or perhaps his presentation on busting gardening myths, “Gardening Myths and Legends,” found on the Internet.

If you’d like to know more about hypertufa containers and gardening, Dr. Mark Bridgen (Cornell) is presenting “Building and Designing Trough Gardens.” Dr. Bridgen is also leading a presentation “Easy, Hands-on Plant Propagation Exercises.”

For those interested on historical gardening, Kirk Brown (Pennsylvania) will play the part of “John Bartram, America’s First Master Gardener.” Bartram was close friends of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington as well as other founding fathers. Linda and I have personally seen Kirk acting this part and guarantee you will enjoy this presentation. For more sessions and descriptions, please go to IMGC Website given below.

Field Study Days aims to take gardeners into the field to learn and the choices are many. Longwood Gardens, Rodale Institute, Winterthur, Morris Arboretum and Barnes Arboretum are just a few of the choices. Tours will also be available and include the Essential Philadelphia Historical Sites. Check out a full listing of Field Study Days and Tours by visiting the IMGC Website.

It goes without saying — various networking activities are built in to the conference schedule beginning with the “Welcome Reception” on June 17. With an international conference of this nature, convenient accommodations and popular sessions will fill fast. Registration for accommodations is open now and conference registration will be open mid- to late-October. Registration and specific conference information is available at www.internationalmastergardener.com.

Plan now and let’s “Dig into Our Roots.”

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