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2024 Spring Gardening Symposium

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January 27 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

$99 – $109

2024 Spring Gardening Symposium


January 27
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
$99 – $109
Event Categories:
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Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
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Ready to get into a springtime frame of mind? Join the Garden for a full day of new ideas from seasoned experts at the Spring Gardening Symposium!

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2024
Time: 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Fees: Registration $109 ($99 Member)
Registration deadline: Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Boxed Lunch $15, optional
Prepaid Parking $10, optional

Pre-registration has closed. Limited walk-up registration will be available beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, January 27.

Symposium Agenda

8:00 a.m.
Check-in opens

9:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m.  
Creating a New Perennial Movement Garden for the South presented by Sarah Carter

10:15 a.m.

10:30 a.m.
Rots, Spots, and Blights: the Usual Suspects Causing Disease in Landscapes presented by Jean Williams-Woodward

11:30 a.m.
A Year in Our Bog: Promoting the Conservation of Biological Controls and Finding a Balance presented by Maxwell Kotelnicki                     

12:30 p.m.
Lunch in Mershon Hall

1:30 p.m.
American Roots presented by Nick & Allison McCullough

2:30 p.m.
Beauty of the Wild presented by Darrel Morrison                 

3:30 p.m.
Symposium Concludes


Sarah Carter
Olga C. de Goizueta Vice President, Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections
Atlanta History Center

Creating a New Perennial Movement Garden for the South

The New Perennial Movement is a naturalistic style of gardening inspired by nature. It has grown in popularity with the tremendous success of the High Line in New York City and the Lurie Garden in Chicago. Most of the well-known gardens of this style are much further north or in Europe, where light, soil and climate – and the attending plant palette – are much different. Learn about how Carter and the Goizueta Gardens team took the principals of this design style, fusing aesthetics with ecological awareness, and created a new look for the Atlanta History Center.

Sarah Carter is the Olga C. de Goizueta Vice President of Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections at the Atlanta History Center. She provides the vision for Goizueta Gardens, serves as curator and garden designer, and leads the horticulture and agriculture staff. Together, this team creates immersive, meaningful, and ecologically beneficial gardens that represent Atlanta’s unique landscape history. Sarah’s 21-year career in public gardens began with an internship in curation at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, where the importance of rich botanical diversity shared with the public in a beautiful way took root. She went on to become Curator of Herbaceous Plants and Outdoor Gardens at the New York Botanical Garden for 5 years.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science honors degree in Horticulture from Berry College, and a Postgraduate diploma from Garden Design School in England. Sarah has written for numerous publications, been featured on Martha Stewart Radio, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, GardenSmart TV series, and the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class.

Learn more about the Atlanta History Center

Jean Williams-Woodward, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist
University of Georgia

Rots, Spots, and Blights: The Usual Suspects Causing Disease in Landscapes

Plant diseases affect every plant. Some can make the plant unsightly while others can kill it. Recognizing the cause of the problem is the first step in a successful disease management program. This talk will cover diseases to watch for, factors contributing to disease development, and how to lessen diseases in landscapes. 

Dr. Jean Williams-Woodward is an Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist at the University of Georgia in Athens. She has been with UGA for 27 years. She provides statewide plant disease diagnosis and management recommendations and extension programming for ornamental plants in commercial greenhouses, nurseries and landscapes, as well as urban forestry, hydroponics, Christmas trees, alfalfa, and hemp. She also coordinates the interdisciplinary Master of Plant Protection and Pest Management graduate program and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on diagnosis of plant diseases, clinical plant pathology, and ornamental pest management.

Learn more about UGA Extension

Maxwell Kotelnicki
Conservation Display Garden Horticulturist
Atlanta Botanical Garden

A Year in Our Bog: Promoting the Conservation of Biological Controls and Finding a Balance

Pitcher plants (Sarracenia species) are major components of the southeastern wetland flora. They invite a sense of awe and wonder, not only in their charismatic appearance, but also in the opportunity they present as a carnivorous centerpiece for a dynamic garden space. As a core collection of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, these species’ ability to elevate a wetland garden into a unique biodiversity hotspot maximizes their display and educational value. Allowing the web of life to unfold around these species helps strengthen their vitality and sustainability simply by working with nature’s proclivity for effective pest management. This presentation will go beyond the bog to offer inspiration for gardening with a wider ecological approach and will sprinkle in adaptable plant suggestions for your consideration.

A proud Cheesehead raised along Lake Michigan, Maxwell’s earliest garden memories often include building toad houses while learning the ropes as a young member of the Kids In Dirt Society (KIDS) at his community library. After earning a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, field seasons in northern Michigan and Milwaukee, WI further cultivated his love for native plants, birds, beetles, and a good ephemeral pond. Now in his sixth year at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, as the Conservation Display Garden Horticulturist, his work is inspired by his belief that drawing connections between disciplines motivates an increased understanding of our environment’s dynamic ecology and by providing these crossroads, all communities are encouraged to become further involved. He celebrates our regional flora and fauna on hikes, wetland walks, and while tinkering in his garden.

Learn more about the Conservation Display Garden

Nick & Allison McCullough
McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery
Author of American Roots

American Roots

Follow the journey across the US and take a closer look at gardens that designer Nick McCullough captured on his quest to celebrate the American garden in his new book American Roots. You will explore a selection of gardens created by 20 creative gardeners across our vast land from Big Sur, California to the shores of Rhode Island. Gain inspiration, planting tips, and an expanded notion of what an American garden is.

Award-winning garden designer Nick McCullough has developed a distinctive style he calls Midwest Modern, one that relies on a balance of natural paving and innovative perennial plantings.  Based in Ohio, he and his team at McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery create and maintain plant centric gardens in and around the Midwest that are both ecologically sensitive and family-forward.  His first book American Roots which he co-authored with his wife Allison and Teresa Woodard has recently been published by Timber Press.   

Allison McCullough is a creative whose passions lie in design, art, antiquity and never-ending hunt of a good find.  Allison’s early career in the marketing and advertising world gave her invaluable experience to be the creative director / executive at the couple’s award-winning firm based in New Albany, Ohio. While Allison calls herself a gardening novice, she finds that perspective invaluable in bridging the gap between high design and fine gardening. Allison lives with her husband Nick McCullough and their two kids in Columbus, Ohio.

Learn more about Nick and Allison

Darrel Morrison
Author of Beauty of the Wild

Beauty of the Wild

Based on his book Beauty of the Wild, published by the Library of American Landscape History in 2021, the talk is part memoir, in which he tells stories of people and places that have inspired him and were important in the development of a philosophy:  that our designed landscapes should be (1) ecologically sound, (2) experientially rich, (3) “of the place”, and (4) dynamic, changing over time.

Darrel Morrison is a long-time advocate of designing landscapes that are inspired by native plant communities of the region. He has taught Landscape Architecture for over a half-century: at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1969-1983), University of Georgia ((1983-2004), and Columbia University (2007-2014). He has designed public gardens and landscapes at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; the University of Wisconsin Arboretum; New York Botanical Garden;  Brooklyn Botanic Garden;  Storm King sculpture garden in the Hudson River Valley in New York. He is currently Senior Honorary Faculty Associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Learn more about Darrel

Symposium FAQs

Will the symposium be recorded?

Yes! Once the recording is ready, access will be emailed to the roster and will be available to view online for 14 days.

What are the lunch options?

Upon registration, you can add a boxed lunch for $15. The boxed lunch sandwich options are: chicken salad, turkey, or vegetarian. You may bring your own sack lunch if you wish. 

What is the parking fee?

If you are a Garden member with a multi-visit parking pass, you may use it. If you do not have a multi-visit parking pass, you may add a $10 parking voucher to your registration. Standard parking rates apply if you are not using a multi-visit parking pass or prepaying for parking, and more information can be found here.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact

Nick & Allison McCullough

Author of American Roots

Darrel Morrison

Author of Beauty of the Wild

Sarah Carter

Olga C. de Goizueta Vice President, Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections, Atlanta History Center

Jean Williams-Woodward

Ph.D. Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Georgia

Maxwell Kotelnicki

Conservation Display Garden Horticulturist, Atlanta Botanical Garden