Last week my husband I attended the 2014 annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science in Orlando, Florida. We’ve been members since about 1998, when we were graduate students at the University of Arkansas. I’ve received questions from friends or family inquiring as to what we do “at those meetings.”
In our search for the “Holy Grail of Horticulture” we attend these conferences to speak, present, meet, ask, and apply. In Horticulture there are many “holy grails” being quested for such as the perfect nursery container “pot”. Speaking of pot, I attended a workshop on indigenous herbal medicine and recent developments in cannabis regulation and cultivation. This was a very informative two hours! (or was it six hours or perhaps thirty minutes…I can’t remember…JUST KIDDING!) As the Grail Knight tells us us in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “You must choose. But choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”
Attending the professional conferences, such as ASHS, affords us opportunities to present current research we have been a part of by making oral or poster presentations for our peers.
Even during years when I had nothing to present (I often joke that for several years I was the longest running member not employed in horticulture), I would spend a couple of hours walking through the poster hall reading about the latest and greatest research in horticulture science.
Since my background is very diversified (from ornamentals, to fruit crops, to veg crops and beyond)…I attend a variety of oral presentations. I gather ideas for garden articles, research topics and usually enjoy a renewed sense of enthusiasm for horticulture and my place in it.
There are many optional “field trips” available during the conference too, usually incorporating horticulture or public garden sites.
This year there was a silent auction to support speakers for the Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants Working Group. My bids won a Rodale book on medicinal plants and a collection of Proven Winners Gardener’s Collection of soap, hand balm and lip balm created with goats milk and organic essential oils by Indigo Wild in Kansas City, MO.
I would be remiss if not to include the invaluable social time with my peers as part of the enjoyment of the conference. I love meeting new people, but also catching up with friends and colleagues, many of whom I only see once or twice a year at an ASHS conference.
Networking is a big part of the conference. You may meet future employers, committee members, find out about upcoming jobs and opportunities and gain face time for future endeavors. Collaboration is a big part of research and networking at ASHS can put you in touch with new collaboration opportunities.
For many years now I have been able to use my time attending professional presentations at ASHS as CEU’s to maintain my Certified Professional Horticulturist status. This is a great way to “rack up” a lot of hours in a few days.
Recent trends have included much more research on sustainable and organic methods of growing and producing plants. For that I am very excited and thankful.
A few more shots from ASHS 2014 presentations in this mini-slideshow
We also attend and have been members of the ASHS-Southern Region group since about 1998.
See you next year at ASHS New Orleans!
The Garden Maiden 🙂
All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden