Submitted by Judy Hopkins . . .
The GCA planning committee for the Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference should be commended for organizing a flawless event despite the government shut down that threatened to derail the entire conference.
Events, speakers, and tours at the US Capitol, the National Arboretum, and at the US Botanical Garden went on as scheduled for the 12th annual GCA horticulture conference. Shirley Meneice, one of the founding conference members, at 90 years old, was in attendance. Shirley is a long time horticulturist, an avid camilla grower, and a member of Zone XII’s Carmel by the Sea Garden Club.
This year’s conference was based at the National Arboretum. The Arboretum was a logical conference location since the GCA was a partner in the Arboretum’s creation. The Arboretum owes its existence in its current location to the GCA. The GCA funded the gazebo, the fern garden and the ravine plantings, internships, and helped bring the Capitol columns to the Arboretum.
The National Arboretum was established in 1927 as a scientific institution and part of the USDA. The Arboretum’s work is still focused on scientific research holding the largest library of plant germplasm and taxonomy of ornamental plants. Lectures focused on the development of improved floral and nursery plants, developing trees that better tolerate urban environments, colony collapse disorder in bee populations, and ecologically designed landscapes.
I highly recommend a trip to the National Arboretum while in the Washington area. The Arboretum also holds an extensive Bonsai exhibit of Japanese, Chinese and North American trees. The “crown jewel” is a Japanese pine which was started in 1625 – was cared for by one family for 6 generations and survived the bomb in Hiroshima!
Next year’s Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference will be held in Louisville, Ky. Details to follow.