The Inspired Gardener

Symposium & Silent Auction


Shake off the winter blues and get in gear for springtime with this full day of garden inspiration. Enjoy the camaraderie of other enthusiastic gardeners as you pick up new ideas from seasoned experts. Join us!

Fee: $89 ($79 Garden Member and GPPA Member)
Boxed Lunch (optional): $12, Turkey, Chicken Salad, Vegetarian
Parking: Register by January 2 – 404-591-1543
Deadline: January 22

Member Registration
Non Member Registration

Presented in Partnership with the Georgia Perennial Plant Association
For any questions or concerns call 404-876-5859 ext. 2558 or email

GPPA members, if you are not a Garden member, select Register Non-Member and enter the code at checkout which was emailed to you.

Saturday, January 27
8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The Program

8 a.m. | Check-in
Silent Auction Bidding Begins

9 a.m. | Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m.| New Trees for the Southeast
Presented by Michael Dirr

10:30 a.m.| Sizzling Succulents
Presented by Amanda Bennett

11:30 a.m. | The Biodiverse Garden
Presented by Thomas Rainer

12:30 p.m. | Lunch & Book Signing

1:15 p.m. | Silent Auction bidding closes

1:30 p.m. | Contained Joy
Presented by Irvin Etienne

2:30 p.m. | Plant Exploration with a Purpose
Presented by Scott McMahan

3:30 p.m. | Symposium Concludes
Retrieve Silent Auction Merchandise

The Speakers

Michael Dirr
Professor Emeritus, Horticulture, University of Georgia
Great advances in tree breeding and selection portend a wealth of opportunities for gardeners and landscape professionals. New introductions seem to arrive at a faster pace all the time. From Acer to Zelkova and all tree stops between, the arboricultural bounty is overwhelming. It is truly an exciting time for those who love trees. Be inspired and, better yet, become better educated. The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

Amanda Bennett
Atlanta Botanical Garden Manager of Display Gardens
Amanda Bennett leads the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s horticulture crew in outdoor gardens and participates in the garden planning and design processes. Amanda shares her experience growing succulents in beds and pots at the Garden over the past 16 years, including favorite plants, tips for soil and other growing conditions, and a behind-the-scenes look at planning for the cacti and succulents in the Skyline Garden.

Thomas Rainer
Landscape Architect and Author
Thomas Rainer, a leading voice in ecological landscape design, has designed for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the New York Botanical Garden, and more than 100 gardens from Maine to Florida. In an era of climate change and mass species extinction, biodiversity matters more than ever. But designing and managing biodiverse plantings can be challenging in small gardens. Learn how to ‘hack’ nature to get more diverse and colorful plantings in your garden. The right plant combinations create stable, long-lasting communities that result in more life, less weeding.

Irvin Etienne
Newfields Horticultural Display Coordinator
Containers allow incredible diversity in the garden. You can grow edibles, trees, perennials and more traditional ornamental plant selections, sometimes together in one container. Learn the true meaning of “right plant, right place,” get to know your soil, discover the limits of your containers and more at this practical session.

Scott McMahan
Atlanta Botanical Garden , International Plant Exploration Manager
When Scott McMahan isn’t exploring in the mountains of southeast Asia for new and threatened plant species, he oversees the Garden’s visiting scholar program. He’s also working to create an evaluation nursery at Atlanta Botanical Garden, Gainesville specifically designed for in-ground testing of his wild collections. Scott’s lecture focuses on what it takes to get seeds from the jungles of southeast Asia to evaluation plots in north Georgia and, one day, into the landscape.