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Annual native plant conference returns to campus

Western Carolina University will host the annual Cullowhee Native Plant Conference, bringing an international contingent of botanists and gardening enthusiasts to campus, beginning Wednesday, July 20, through Saturday, July 23.

The public is welcome to attend at no charge all Saturday programs and events, to be held at WCU’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center, with a plant sale and vendor booths from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Presentations include Katie Davis from 9-9:30 a.m. on “Plants of Promise,” followed by Denisha Carly and Anne Spafford with “Let’s Talk Pollinator Gardening: Plan, Plant and Maintain Successful and Beautiful Pollinator Gardens” from 9:45-10:45 a.m. and Shelby Jackson’s “Great Native Plants for the Home Garden” at 11-11:45 a.m. 

Paid conference events are already at capacity, with registration closed. The conference is designed to increase interest in and knowledge of propagating and preserving native Southeastern plant species in the landscape, and includes regional field trips by vehicle, hikes and canoe, workshops and presentations. Speakers and topics scheduled include Kim Eierman on reducing pollinator decline with ecological gardening; Emily Driskill on propagation methods for native plant species; and Tommy Cabe and David Anderson on Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians native plant restoration.

Participants typically include landscape architects, commercial nursery operators, garden club members, botanists, horticulturists from state highway departments, universities, native plant societies, botanical gardens and arboretums. The agenda allows for informal sessions to exchange ideas, network and share materials.

For more information, go to or call 828-227-7397.

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