Ecological Synergies: Understanding Performance-Based, Resilient Landscapes

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Ecological Synergies: Understanding Performance-Based, Resilient Landscapes

November 20, 2015 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST

Join ELA for a unique and in-depth look at plants. During interactive sessions, you’ll consider the ecological role and specific natural requirements of plants in particular landscapes, the part plants can play in remediating contaminated sites, and the role of morphology in determining plant performance.

Plant Ecology for Creators, Presented by Noel Kingsbury

Join international plantsman, Dr. Noel Kingsbury for an interactive exploration of plant morphology. By learning more about the inner workings of plants, creators of designed plantings can make informed plant choices. Design that emphasizes an ecological focus considers how plants fit into the environment and what that means for their performance in the landscape. This approach considers the requirements that a plant needs to live, reproduce, and compete in order to survive. Understanding that plants are part of a constantly changing environment helps the creator of designed plantings to predict how they are likely to perform in the years to come.

Noel will share his insights to help attendees:

  • Learn the process of succession and its relationship to the management of designed plantings.
  • Understand that plants have different survival strategies and the relevance this has to plant selection and management for different environmental conditions.
  • Recognize the various aspects of plant long-term performance, and that this will vary for both wild-origin native species and commercial cultivars.

The Meadow Garden Expansion: An Ecological Review, Presented by Tom Brightman

Completed in June of 2014, the expanded meadow at Longwood Gardens now spans 86 acres and includes an elaborate trail network, bridges, and an interpretive display that includes an 1800-era farm house. The Meadow Garden features the best practices in ecological garden design. A wide variety of native plants fill the Meadow Garden for increased biodiversity not only in plant species, but in the animal populations with which they are connected.

One year after the meadow completion, Tom Brightman reflects on the ecology of the meadow. What design elements have been successful and what aspects of the meadow need to be revisited?

Phytoremediation: Pollutant Purging Plants! Presented by Kate Kennen

Phytoremediation landscape design specialist, Kate Kennen will present real world experiences and a fresh perspective of phytotechnology applications. Plants can help to remediate a site’s contaminants and Kate will review newly developing, science-based techniques being used in the field. Cost-effective phytoremediation plantings can be effective in mitigating on-site pollutants, but these interactions can be complicated. Kate’s presentation will provide a clearer understanding of horticultural limitations and implications for future integration in design and planting. When do they work and when don’t they? With careful research and planning, integrating newer technologies into a design can result in huge financial and environmental benefits.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase understanding of Phytotechnology applications, including current scientific case studies. Review history of phytoremediation and best current resources for information.
  • Learn about PhytoForensics, a newly developing set of techniques where data gathered from trees is utilized to pinpoint subsurface contaminates.
  • Understand horticultural limitations of Phytotechnologies, and implications for future integration in design and planning.

Plant Morphology: Guide to Predicting Plant Performance, Presented by Noel Kingsbury

How long will certain plants survive? Will they spread? How will the new border design look in five years? As a follow-up to this mornings introduction to plant morphology and ways to predict long-term plant performance, this interactive demonstration considers plant morphology in the light of what is known about growth through the year. Using live plant material, Noel Kingsbury will provide a practical, plant morphology demonstration with valuable take­ away insights.

Through examples, attendees ​are encouraged ​to think about how plants are linked to their natural habitats and ecology and how this connection can inform the way we use them in our gardens.

​This is a rare opportunity to learn a new way of thinking from a world­ renowned expert in perennial plants and landscape design.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to make informed estimates of plant longevity.
  • Understand the rates and patterns of plant spread and level of plant competitiveness.
  • Discover how to select long-term plant combinations based on assessments of growth rate, size, and competitiveness.


November 20, 2015
9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST
Event Category:


Ecological Landscaping Association
(617) 436-5838
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Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Rd
Kennet Square, PA 19348 United States
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(610) 388-1000
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