Ecological Synergies: Understanding Performance-Based, Resilient Landscapes

Join Ecological Landscape Alliance at Longwood Gardens for an Intensive Workshop!

Early Registration Discounts Through November 1st
$119 ELA Members; $139 Non-members; Click here for hotel information.

When CCLC members register for the Ecological Synergies event, use coupon code: escclc at checkout to save $20 off the non-member registration price!

Join ELA for a unique and in-depth look at plants. During interactive sessions, you’ll consider the ecological role and specific natural requirements of plants in particular landscapes, the part plants can play in remediating contaminated sites, and the role of morphology in determining plant performance.

CEUs Awarded to date: Landscape Architects (LA CES) 5.5 Credits; APLD 5.5 Credits; Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist Program 1 CPH CEU.


Plant Ecology for Creators
Noel Kingsbury

K.Staso_prairieJoin international plantsman, Dr. Noel Kingsbury for an interactive exploration of plant morphology. By learning more about the inner workings of plants, creators of designed plantings can make informed plant choices. Design that emphasizes an ecological focus considers how plants fit into the environment and what that means for their performance in the landscape.

This approach considers the requirements that a plant needs to live, reproduce, and compete in order to survive. Understanding that plants are part of a constantly changing environment helps the creator of designed plantings to predict how they are likely to perform in the years to come.

Noel will share his insights to help attendees:

  • Learn the process of succession and its relationship to the management of designed plantings.
  • Understand that plants have different survival strategies and the relevance this has to plant selection and management for different environmental conditions.
  • Recognize the various aspects of plant long-term performance, and that this will vary for both wild-origin native species and commercial cultivars.

The Meadow Garden Expansion: An Ecological Review
Presented by Tom Brightman

Asclepias tuberosa

Completed in June of 2014, the expanded meadow at Longwood Gardens now spans 86 acres and includes an elaborate trail network, bridges, and an interpretive display that includes an 1800-era farm house. The Meadow Garden features the best practices in ecological garden design. A wide variety of native plants fill the Meadow Garden for increased biodiversity not only in plant species, but in the animal populations with which they are connected.

One year after the meadow completion, Tom Brightman reflects on the ecology of the meadow. What design elements have been successful and what aspects of the meadow need to be revisited?

Phytoremediation: Pollutant Purging Plants!
Presented by Kate Kennen

Rain Garden

Phytoremediation landscape design specialist, Kate Kennen will present real world experiences and a fresh perspective of phytotechnology applications. Plants can help to remediate a site’s contaminants and Kate will review newly developing, science-based techniques being used in the field. Cost-effective phytoremediation plantings can be effective in mitigating on-site pollutants, but these interactions can be complicated. Kate’s presentation will provide a clearer understanding of horticultural limitations and implications for future integration in design and planting. When do they work and when don’t they?

With careful research and planning, integrating newer technologies into a design can result in huge financial and environmental benefits.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase understanding of Phytotechnology applications, including current scientific case studies. Review history of phytoremediation and best current resources for information.
  • Learn about PhytoForensics, a newly developing set of techniques where data gathered from trees is utilized to pinpoint subsurface contaminates.
  • Understand horticultural limitations of Phytotechnologies, and implications for future integration in design and planning.

Plant Morphology: Guide to Predicting Plant Performance
Presented by Noel Kingsbury

grass_diagram1How long will certain plants survive? Will they spread? How will the new border design look in five years? As a follow-up to this mornings introduction to plant morphology and ways to predict long-term plant performance, this interactive demonstration considers plant morphology in the light of what is known about growth through the year. Using live plant material, Noel Kingsbury will provide a practical, plant morphology demonstration with valuable take­ away insights.

Through examples, attendees ​are encouraged ​to think about how plants are linked to their natural habitats and ecology and how this connection can inform the way we use them in our gardens.

​This is a rare opportunity to learn a new way of thinking from a world­ renowned expert in perennial plants and landscape design.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to make informed estimates of plant longevity.
  • Understand the rates and patterns of plant spread and level of plant competitiveness.
  • Discover how to select long-term plant combinations based on assessments of growth rate, size, and competitiveness.

Presenter Bios

Tom Brightman holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization and a Masters of Environmental Studies, both from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Brightman has been the Land Steward at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA since 2007, where he stewards over 700 acres of forest, meadow, wetlands. and agricultural lands. He helped manage the design and construction of the Route 52 and Meadow Garden ecological design and restoration projects at Longwood Gardens. He is also involved in Longwood’s educational programs, strategic planning and sustainability initiatives, and community collaborations.

Kate Kennen- Kate Kennan - Harvard - Offshoots- Boston- Landscape ArchitectKate Kennen is the founder and president of Offshoots, Inc., a Boston landscape architecture practice focused on productive planting techniques and phytotechnology consulting. Ms. Kennen’s book PHYTO: Principles of Site Remediation and Landscape Design was published in 2015. Ms. Kennen completed her undergraduate studies in Landscape Architecture at Cornell University, and received her master’s degree with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Having spent her childhood at her family’s garden center in Massachusetts, Ms. Kennen is well versed in the plants of the Northeast. She currently teaches a research seminar in phytoremediation and plant-based technologies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Noel logs portraitDr. Noel Kingsbury is internationally known as an innovator and author.. Dr. Kingsbury has worked on both private gardens and public spaces developing nature-inspired planting, and has written about garden design, green roofs, and the politics of gardening. A great believer in using science to inform our gardening, he completed a PhD with the University of Sheffield in 2008 with a focus on the selection and management of ornamental perennials. In addition to taking on his own design projects, Dr. Kingsbury writes for the UK and US garden press and has written 20 books.Dr. Kingsbury’s latest publication is: Plant Selection: Learning From Nature (a reference for landscape architects and designers to help select plants that are ecologically suited to the site). In between traveling widely, and continuing his plant research, he gives plants and gardens trial runs at his home on the England/Wales border.