LSU Hilltop Arboretum symposium to highlight ‘La. Garden Heritage’ _lowres

Advocate file photo -- Chene Vert is the inspiration for the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum's Jan. 24 symposium.

An early 19th century style garden is the inspiration for the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum’s upcoming symposium “Louisiana Garden Heritage: A Lavish Hodgepodge of Design and Plants.”

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 24, and will feature speakers who were inspired by Chene Vert, a Highland Road garden restored by Wayne and Cheryl Stromeyer. Components of the garden design are based on a circa 1845 French Quarter garden design discovered by the Stromeyers in the “New Orleans Plan Book Records of the Notarial Archives.” The garden includes ancient camellias, antique roses, perennial flower borders and native meadows.

Speakers for the symposium are:

Lake Douglas, associate professor of landscape architecture at LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and associate dean of research and development at the LSU College of Art and Design, will talk about 19th-century garden design in New Orleans, including the plants, garden furnishings, garden workers and horticultural commerce that defined the city’s gardens and open spaces.

Tom Johnson will talk about the historical significance of the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, in introducing over 150 cultivars of Japonica to America from the 1840s to 1940, and its efforts to organize and implement a worldwide search for camellias cultivated before 1900, which are in threat of extinction.

He will provide information on how to grow and care for camellias, including older camellias, which will be for sale the day of the symposium through the Baton Rouge Camellia Society.

Johnson designed and oversaw President Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Library garden for 15 years, served as a horticulturist with the American Camellia Society for 8 years and is now director of gardens and horticulture at Magnolia Plantation and Garden.

Florence Crowder, of the Baton Rouge Camellia Society, will talk about a new pre-1900 camellia garden at the LSU Botanical Garden, which is an International Camellia Society Garden of Excellence consisting of plants grown from cuttings from established gardens throughout North America and Europe.

Crowder chairs the American Camellia Society Trail Committee, is an international alliance representative for the American Camellia Society and is a member of the International Camellia Society Preservation Working Group with the International Camellia Society.

Speaker G. Mike Shoup is the owner of The Antique Rose Emporium, an eight-acre garden center in Brenham, Texas. He will talk about the versatility of antique roses, and how varieties have “personalities” that can influence their garden usage. Shoup is author of “Empress of the Garden,” which addresses the practical nature of roses.

Robbi Will, also of The Antique Rose Emporium, will talk about pass-along and heirloom perennials that have shaped and contributed to Southern gardening heritage and remain relevant for today’s gardener.

Marc Pastorek will discuss design approaches to naturalistic grass-dominated meadow landscapes and how they can be used to improve the beauty, character and functionality of urban green spaces.

Pastorek is a prairie restorationist, consultant and land manager and founder of Pastorek Habitats.