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2020 7th Annual Tree Diversity Conference

To protect our urban forests, which are threatened by pests and pathogens, a greater variety of tree species is necessary.


For our seventh annual conference we will continue to explore the relationships between landscape design, horticultural practices and the use of a greater variety of tree species.


Between them, our speakers this year boast an extravagant depth of experience ranging from worldwide plant exploration to landscape and garden design, promotion of new plant materials, administration of some of our country's most noted horticultural conferences and institutions and hands-on experience with plant testing and data collection.


Public $80, includes all programming and lunch

$70 Promo, includes all programming and lunch

*Promotional price available to all Members of Colorado Tree Coalition and American Society of Landscape Architects



Symposium will be held at Denver Botanic Gardens in Mitchell Hall.


Speaker Lineup

Steve Foltz presents A Virtual Tour of My Favorite Outstanding Trees of the Cincinnati Region

I'm sure many of you have not yet had the pleasure of touring the best trees in the Cincinnati region. If you were to visit Cincinnati, what would such a tree tour look like? Where would you go? Which arboreta, botanical gardens and nurseries would be on your list to see the best specimen trees in our region? Find out through this lecture. For more than 30 years, Steve Foltz has had the pleasure of searching out the best trees in the landscapes of Cincinnati and will now share them with you.

Foltz is the director of horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. He has a B.S. in horticulture from the University of Kentucky. Steve also has been teaching woody landscape plant courses at both the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati State Horticultural program for the past 25 years.


Keith Warren presents New Deciduous Tree Cultivars and Suggestions for Denver

What's new? What's best? And where are we in the development of deciduous tree cultivars? Keith Warren, co-author of “The Tree Book, Superior Selections for Landscapes, Streetscapes and Gardens,” shares the current status of the best choices among the deciduous tree species and cultivars. He discusses the most recent introductions, breeding trends and future directions and offers suggestions for Denver's difficult climate.

Warren spent a 40-year career with Frank Schmidt & Son, Co. as a nursery manager, researcher and director of product development. Recently retired, he is still active with the company and continues to introduce new tree cultivars.


Peter Zale presents The Role of Plant Exploration in 200 years of Tree Stewardship at Longwood Gardens

When Longwood become a public garden in the late 1950s, a plant exploration program was developed to fulfill diverse garden needs, one of which was to collect and evaluate an ever-expanding palette of hardy trees and shrubs suitable for the climate of the Brandywine Valley and beyond. Since the inception of the program, a staggering number of woody plants has been trialed and planted in the garden, and these efforts continue today. This presentation tells the story of plant exploration from the 1800s to the present with a focus on recent advancements of the program, anecdotes from the field and a discussion of the wide variety of new, useful and exciting trees and woody plants currently under evaluation and development.

Zale, Ph.D. is a plant collections curator, research horticulturist, field botanist and gardener who specializes in plant collections development, domestic and international plant exploration, ornamental plant breeding and conservation horticulture.


Sonia John and Neal Bamesberger present Reprising Some of Colorado's Notable Trees

Since the discontinuation a few years ago of the Colorado Tree Coalition's annual wall calendar, Sonia John and Neal Bamesberger have grown nostalgic for the photos and descriptions of 12 different champion and notable trees it used to feature each year. To compensate, they present photos and stories about their own personal notable tree selections, Sonia's from within Denver and Neal's from the further reaches of the state, some garnered during a recent champion re-measuring foray.

John has been chairwoman of the organizing committee for the annual tree diversity conferences since their inception in 2014. She was the senior author of "Denver's Canopy: The Nature of Deciduous Trees," published by Denver Botanic Gardens.

Bamesberger has a B.S. in horticulture from the University of Nebraska and is a certified arborist.


Panayoti Kelaidis and Alan Rollinger present Rollinger Tree Project

Panayoti and Alan discuss the findings of the Rollinger Tree Collection 50-Year Survey. The survey is a project conducted from 2017 to 2019 by Denver Metro city foresters, Master Gardeners, Denver Botanic Gardens staff and other volunteers, who tracked down the trees first located and measured by Alan Rollinger in the late 1960s. After these trees were identified and measured, a document with the results was published in late 2019.

Kelaidis is senior curator and director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens where he has worked for 40 years.

Rollinger has been a leading landscape designer in the Denver Metropolitan Area for more than 50 years, designing hundreds of residential and commercial properties.


A New Gardener Boot Camp

Are you a blank slate when it comes to starting your very own garden? Worried about ending the growing season with a pile of dead plants and sad vegetables? Join us at Denver Botanic Gardens for a full day event, packed with answers to all those looming and mysterious gardening questions. Get started on the right foot this year with all of our best beginner’s classes, carefully designed to equip you with all the tools you’ll need to master that garden once and for all!


Classes include:


Garden Planning 101… where do I start?

This beginner’s class will take you step by step through the process of laying out a plan of attack for your garden! Whether you are starting with a blank slate garden or working with an old outdated garden this class will give you the basics on where to start. It will discuss needs and planning tools for raised beds, container gardens and in-ground vegetable gardens. We will discuss the basics of garden locations, sun requirements, water needs, starting from seed, transplanting and the basics of planning the organization of perennials and annuals, trees and shrubs. This class is the perfect fit for anyone needing to understand how the garden works together as a whole.


Soils 101

Soils will always be the first place to start when building a beautiful garden. This class will cover the best management practices for building your soil for in-ground beds, containers and raised beds. It will discuss the basics of composting as well as demonstrate the value of soil testing.


Beginning Vegetable Gardening

If you have never planted edible plants or had little success at growing your own vegetables, our instructor will walk you through the ABCs from planning, soil preparation, crop selection, watering, fertilizing, pest protection, and harvesting your first vegetable garden. We will cover tips on the most popular vegetables to grow, including leafy salad greens, tomatoes, squash, peppers, and more. You'll leave with a comprehensive understanding of how to successfully do each gardening task, and take home a planting guide that will help you through the entire growing season.


Annuals and Perennials for Color in the Garden

Plants provide the backbone of the garden with vibrant colors, textures, and forms that weave together to create your own personal oasis. Learn the basics of perennials, annuals and biennials, how to make the best selections for your garden and how to best maintain your plants throughout the season. From the traditional to the unusual we will explore the limitless varieties of plants and send you into the growing season prepared.


These classes combined usually cost more than $200, but with New Gardener Boot Camp, the event will be $60 members, $80 non-members. Register early as space is limited.


Lunch included with registration

Battling the Japanese Beetle

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

The Japanese beetle – found in many Front Range areas - is moving to new communities. This unwelcome beetle is concerning home owners with serious damage to plants. Instructor Betty Cahill takes the class through the management options for the Japanese beetle during its adult and larval stages. She provides tips on how to protect your favorite plants, including a plant list that Japanese beetles prefer and mostly avoid.

Instructor: Betty Cahill

Price: $31, $26 member

Cafe Botanique

Café Botanique is a part of the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program and is open to Botanical Art and Illustration students, Gardens' members, the general public, academia and artists. The 30-40 minute talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. This lecture offers one elective credit hour in the BI-program. Fee: $5.



Seven Principles of Water-Smart Gardening

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group I

Gardening remains high and dry in the Rocky Mountain region! Water-Smart Gardening is an environmentally friendly way to create a beautiful home landscape that will thrive under low water conditions. Join this class to learn the principles of Water-Smart Gardening and some of the many plants that you can incorporate into your yard.


Instructor: David Winger

Price: $62, $55 members

Starting Your Garden from Seed

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

Few things excite a gardener more than buying new plants for their gardens, especially if the plants are exotics, unusual or heirlooms. Second-only to the creation of new plants is the financial benefit of growing your own plants, whether flowers, herbs or vegetables.

This class will demystify the seed-starting process primarily focused to the novice gardener, but a good review of the best success tips if a more advanced gardener needs a refresher. Learn simple seed botany and the process of best practices for successful seed germination, successful transplanting, and seed collection and storage and cover some of the reasons seeds and seedlings fail.

After discussion, participants will get a hands-on demonstration and students will leave with seed trays and seeds to return home and practice what you have learned in class. This class will help you up your game to produce all the transplants you could possibly need and set you up for upcoming classes on spring and summer vegetable gardening and succession planting.


Instructor: Patti O'Neal

Price: $37, $32 members, includes $5 for materials.

Special Instructions: Each participant will get a seed tray for seed starting, with all necessary materials to get your garden going this year!

Image Courtesy of: photofarmer (flickr)

The Water-Smart Flower Garden

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group II

In our dry region, sustainable gardening means using little or no irrigation water. By choosing the best waterwise plants we make our gardens in tune with the climate and conditions, conserve an ever-scarcer resource, and last but not least, nurture our aesthetic spirit and the web of life around us. Lauren will explore a rich palette of lovely flowering plants that need little if any water, soil amendment or fertilizers, that attract pollinators and beneficial wildlife, and require little effort to keep happy and beautiful.

Price: $34, $29 member

Instructor Bio: Long-time DBG instructor Lauren Springer Ois a designer, author, and plantswoman. She designed several gardens at DBG including the popular WaterSmart Garden and the native Visitors’ Center gardens at Chatfield Farm. She is on staff at the Gardens on Spring Creek in her hometown of Fort Collins, creating and tending the new ½ acre waterwise Undaunted Garden. Her work has appeared in books, magazines, and on television, and her plant introductions are available at regional nurseries.


Understanding Front Range Soils

Rocky Mountain Gardening Required Course Group I

Soil is the bottom line in starting your garden successfully, and the properties of Front Range soils present unique challenges. By learning some simple physical and chemical properties of soil, including parent material and its formation, you can gain a better understanding of how plants grow in it and what to consider in plant selection and landscape design.


Instructor: Jean Reeder

Price: $92, $85 members

Vines and Groundcovers





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