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The 2021 Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference


September 28, 2021

Finding Hidden Treasures: Discovering America’s Horticulture Gems

GCA club members spent two days together (virtually) delighting in the knowledge and joy of gardening. The GCA’s 2021 Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference Finding Hidden Treasures: Discovering America’s Horticulture Gems featured horticultural experts and enthusiastic chatting among the participants, as they experienced each unique element of the eight-hour conference agenda.

The Meneice is an annual event typically held at a different botanical garden each year. This year, attendees, participating virtually, heard from speakers Leah Penniman, co-director and farm manager, Soul Fire Farm, best-selling author, Amy Stewart, Dr. Patrick McMillan, director, Heronswood Garden, and Cynthia Druckenbrod, horticulturist, Lily Creek Garden. Topics ranged from food sovereignty programs to “Garden to Glass: Adventures in Cocktail Gardening.” 

Conference attendees toured, virtually, four very distinct botanic gardens as well as several special private gardens, learned from horticultural demonstrations, and shared garden tips and secrets. Live Q&A sessions offered opportunities for enthusiastic discussion.

The GCA made a rapid pivot beginning in late spring 2020 from destination-based, in-person events to virtual gatherings. Teams of volunteers have been engaged in learning strategies for creating and presenting educational content for member clubs in this new way. First up was last year’s 2020 Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference. Opening events up virtually — now to ten-fold the attendance of past years — has been a silver-lining during challenging times. Next up is the Conservation Study Conference followed by conferences dedicated to floral design, photography, national affairs and legislation, and the organization’s annual meeting.


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