Conifer College to be Offered at 2017 National Meeting

By Sue Mahoney in Conifer Experiences, Event info, and Events

What is Conifer College? You don’t need to ace the SATs, or fill out an application or create a clever essay to attend the 2017 Conifer College in Syracuse, following the National Meeting.

Perhaps you have just discovered the impact of conifers in your landscapes and gardens, and you need specific knowledge, or want accurate plant names or to replicate a certain effect in your own garden. You may simply have an ongoing interest in plants, or a curiosity about conifers and you wish to learn in a hands-on way.

Conifer College offers our members a series of classes that concentrate on answering these questions. This year, the college has been designed to answer questions from “newbies” as well as veteran gardeners. We have surveyed members of past colleges to arrive at our curriculum, which we hope will appeal to all levels of interest. Here’s a sample of some of the presentations:

TERMINOLOGY, or, ‘I’m Not Called Pygmaea Aurescens for Nothing!’

by Dave Olszyk, Western Region President

A good way to start is to learn the terminology, so that you know what you are talking about when you order on-line or at a nursery. Dave will explain what those Latin words mean, so that you get the plant you want, the size you want, and that the plant that will thrive in your conditions. Selecting the right species and cultivar of the plant is important, and that ‘exact plant’ is best described in Latin! Because common names vary from region to region and country to country, knowing the Latin name (and binomial nomenclature) puts everyone on the same page.


by Christie Dustman

Get beyond the “plunk-it-here” tendency and push yourself
to develop a co(n)ehesive landscape plan that uses your beloved plants to their best potential and beauty. Christie is a nationally certified and award winning landscape designer 
in the Boston area and will present a talk about design principles and strategies that underpin dynamic planting design in her morning class. In the afternoon session, she will critique planting design in the field.


by Brent Markus

Brent is a landscaper and Oregon nursery grower, and will show you the best and newest plants to liven your landscape. You may have met Brent at the 2016 Western Region meeting or during his volunteer auctioneer stints. He’s been a big supporter of the ACS in many ways.

His detailed knowledge of plants, from growth habits, foliage, texture and color variations will provide you
with so many plant options, you will be tempted to never stop installing gardens and beds.


by Janet Macunovic and Steven Nikkila (two separate presentations)

Maintenance methods are an issue for conifer collectors; this includes pruning and grooming, keeping plants healthy by utilizing best horticultural practices and dealing with common disease control. Janet Macunovich and Steven
Nikkila, landscape designers and national lecturers, have over 30 years of practical experience to share. Janet and Steve will present programs at the national meeting and give Conifer College attendees the ‘scoop’. Janet will also demonstrate ‘hands on’ in the garden.

As authors of several gardening books, hosts of
 a radio gardening program for over 10 years and contributors to a popular Detroit newspaper Q&A gardening column, they have a lifetime of experience in the field.
A note from their website:
“We want your garden to grow better, your landscape to be more pleasing, your outdoor work simpler.,”......says it all!

These are only five of the eight classes we will be offering. Stay tuned for more information and registration materials, coming in mid-February!