Our first formal networking event was hosted by Kendal Crosslands Arboretum just down the road from Longwood Gardens in the fall of 2016. Kendal Crosslands Arboretum has a unique model, being an arboretum amongst two retirement communities. In addition, the plant collection housed there is pretty diverse, with sizeable specimens that are all labelled and mapped by the Arboretum volunteers. Volunteers that happen to live amongst the collection!
The collection could easily be used to teach a course on ornamental trees for the landscape. The design of both public and private gardens on the site showcase a love of plants, and a thorough knowledge of design principles, plus quite a bit of whimsy!
Our event featured a generous spread of food, donated by the Arboretum (many thanks Kendal Crosslands!). Over coffee and cookies attendees learned about the mission of Women in Horticulture, and mingled with one another before touring the grounds and gardens. We had attendees from many local non-profit public gardens; Chanticleer, Mt. Cuba Center, Meadowbrook Farms, & The Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation to name a few. One attendee focused on the healing properties of gardens, and another was a scientist from the USDA! Staff and Students from Ambler Arboretum, Longwood Gardens, Morris Arboretum, and the University of Delaware were present as well!
This event allowed horticulturists to interact with colleagues that they otherwise might engage. For the first official Women in Horticulture event it created the first strings of a network to support women in our industry, and showcased a unique arboretum with a valuable mission!
I am grateful to all of the attendees of the event for making it a success, and especially to our generous hosts
Eve and Ellen!