The Ecological Landscape Alliance, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Brooklyn

Bridge Park Present a Symposium for Landscape Professionals
by BBG
December 6, 2016

Creating Ecological Plant Communities:

Digging Deep into Plant Knowledge with the Masters

Hosted at Brooklyn Botanic Garden,

Friday, December 9, 2016

On Friday, December 9, 2016, the Ecological Landscape Alliance, in collaboration with Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Bridge Park, will present Creating Ecological Plant Communities: Digging Deep into Plant Knowledge with the Masters, a symposium hosted at Brooklyn Botanic Garden for professional gardeners, horticulturists, and landscape architects.

American horticulture is undergoing a revolution. Gardeners and designers are using native and exotic plants in new and exciting ways, from native plants in plant communities to matrix-planted xeriscapes to new perennial grasslands with wildlife habitat. The symposium will address ecological design issues and the cultivation of the plants that professionals in the Northeast work with every day.

“Our bookshelves are full of information-packed landscape and gardening information, but there’s a special synergy that evolves when we bring together like-minded landscape professionals for an in-person gathering. This conference provides a valuable opportunity for education, yes, but more than that, attendees relax, reconnect, and recharge for their next ecological projects,” said Penny Lewis, ELA executive director.

“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is proud to host this event, share our sustainable horticulture techniques with landscape professionals from across the region, and learn from our colleagues in the field,” said Melanie Sifton, BBG vice president of Horticulture. “BBG is committed to expanding knowledge and practice in ecological landscaping with programs like this.”

Creating Ecological Plant Communities will provide a forum for five distinguished plant masters with decades of experience to share in-depth knowledge about a few of their favorite plants. Speakers will discuss plant behavior, propagation, cultivation, design strategies, ecological function, and the appropriate communities of 10 to 15 of the plants that they’ve worked closely with and find to be successful.

Presenters will explore the interactions between individual species, the more complex interactions among plant communities, and interactions with the environment. Noted horticulturists Claudia West, Roy Diblik, Ian Caton, Heidi Hesselein, and Andrew Bunting lead this rare opportunity to dig deep in the world of plants. From plant selection to pruning techniques to long-term care, speakers will share the necessary information to grow and create healthy, dynamic, and beautiful plant communities.

An afternoon panel discussion will feature Ronnit Bendavid-Val and Chris Roddick from Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Rebecca McMackin from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Panelists will highlight the new practices that are generating excitement and ecological benefits in these high-visibility public gardens. The panel will be moderated by ELA president Theresa Sprague. Learn more about the panelists here.

Morning coffee and catered lunch are included with registration. CEUs are being sought for this program. Cost: $139 ($119 ELA members, $99 students). Preregistration is required and tickets can be purchased here.

About the Ecological Landscape Alliance

The Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) is a nonprofit, member-based organization made up of professionals, businesses and proactive community members who believe in using landscape practices that are environmentally safe and beneficial. Founded in 1991, ELA has spent more than two decades advocating for environmentally responsible stewardship of land and natural resources. Through education, collaboration, and networking, ELA promotes the design, installation, and maintenance of landscapes that are guided by a knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems.

About Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park spanning 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. As steward of the park, BBP has transformed this previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront into a world-class park where the public can gather, play, relax and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor. The park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities, and the popular Jane’s Carousel. BBP serves thousands of people on any given seasonal day, who come to picnic, walk their dog, play soccer, jog, bike, or roller skate. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a signature public investment for the 21st century and will be an enduring legacy for the communities, elected officials, and public servants who made it happen. For more information, please visit

About Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 18,000 kinds of plants and hosts more than 950,000 visitors annually.

Learn what’s happening at Brooklyn Botanic Garden at, read the Garden’s blog at, and find out what’s in bloom at Visitor entrances are at 990 Washington Avenue, 150 Eastern Parkway, and 455 Flatbush Avenue. For hours, directions, and admission information, please visit Follow BBG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and join the conversation using the hashtag #brooklynbotanic.

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