Perennially Inspired

On the last Saturday in February, the Perennially Inspired symposium brought together home gardeners, master gardeners, perennial enthusiasts, and industry professionals. Held in Towson, Maryland, the event was hosted jointly by the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) and the Horticultural Society of Maryland. Hoffman Nursery’s Marketing Director, Shannon Currey, was invited to present, and she was joined by a fantastic line-up of speakers.

  • John Magee of Magee Design in Middleburg, Virginia, talked about designing with native plants.
  • Shannon Currey, Marketing Director at Hoffman Nursery, discussed the critical role of grasses in today’s landscapes.
  • Jeff Epping, Director of Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin talked about design and installation of gravel gardens.
  • Chris Fehlhaber, an assistant horticulturist at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania, described his experience and the wonderful gardens Chanticleer.
  • Carrie Preston of Studio TOOP, a landscape design firm in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, shared her strategies for designing in compact spaces.
John Magee, Carrie Preston, Chris Fehlhaber, Shannon Currey, and Jeff Epping all spoke at the Perennially Inspired symposium.
John Magee, Carrie Preston, Chris Fehlhaber, Shannon Currey, and Jeff Epping all spoke at the Perennially Inspired symposium.

Grasses popped up in all the presentations. John Magee uses Switchgrasses and other native species in his designs. Jeff Epping showed lush, grass-perennial combinations in the gravel gardens at Olbrich and on a corporate campus. Sporobolus heterolepis, Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’, Schizachyrium scoparium, and other prairie grasses perform well in the well-drained environment of these gardens.

Chris Fehlhaber toured the crowd through the beautiful gardens at Chanticleer. They use a wide variety of grasses and sedges throughout the gardens, including using them as alternatives to traditional turfgrass in open areas. And with the small spaces Carrie Preston designs in, she must choose her plants carefully. Grasses often play a big role in these compact gardens.

John Hoffman and Shannon had a fantastic time visiting with new and old friends. A big thanks to Janet Draper of the Smithsonian Gardens, who put together the program, and to Mary Jo Sherrod of the Horticultural Society of Maryland, who made the arrangements.

The symposium speakers and friends gathered afterward to swap stories and talk plants.
Symposium speakers and friends gathered afterward to swap stories and talk plants.

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