Two days of fascinating talks about leadership, marketing, education, and even a little horticulture have already made the 2013 American Public Garden Association conference a great trip.  As I looked around, I realized how well the JC Raulston Arboretum and NC State University are represented at this fantastic program. JCRA director Ted Bilderback got the program off to a great start talking about water use in the nursery during an opening day workshop at the Rainbird headquarters in Tucson, AZ.  By all accounts from attendees his practical, hands-on demo and advice were one of the highlights of that all day workshop - no surprise since he has decades worth of experience in Extension!

Our NCSU students are also here in a big way.  Graduate students Sarah Leach Smith and Dana Reynolds who both have been bit by the public horticulture bug received student travel awards to attend the conference.  JCRA members may know Sarah from her work with Elizabeth Overcash on children's programming.  Dana has been working with the Elizabethan Gardens for some practical experience to complement her coursework.  Also in attendance is NCSU student Keith Lukowski presenting a poster describing his 50 gardens in 50 states initiative to video a short internship description from a range of gardens over the course of the summer.  I get tired just thinking about that trek.

While I didn't have any formal presentations to give, I did represent the JCRA at the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) Magnolia curatorial meeting and updated the group on the database and website work being performed by Val Tyson and Christopher Glenn at JCRA for the Magnolia consortium.  I was also on hand during the NAPCC collection holders meeting to formally accept the role of vice chair of this branch of the APGA.  I must be a glutton for punishment.

Former JCRA staff and NCSU students were all in attendance as well.  Recent graduate Rebecca Turk (formally R. Pledger but now newly married) representing her new garden, Moore Farms, is in attendance in her role as chair of the Emerging Professionals section.  Former JCRA director and assistant director Bob Lyons and Todd Lasseigne respectively are only 2 of the many other former NCSU folks including Richard Olsen (also a JCRA board member), Andrew Bell, and plenty more.

JCRA board member, NCSU graduate and USDA research geneticist and tree breeder, Richard Olsen, explaining the intricacies of molecular systematics to conference attendees.

Beyond the people, the JCRA's name was evoked on more than one occasion especially in reference to our outstanding collections and distribution programs.  One poster noted by many of the plant folks was presented by Mathew Lobdell from the U. of Delaware.  His survey of Styrax confirmed the depth of the JCRA's collections.  We're in pretty rarified air with his list.

Detail from Mathew Lobdell's poster on Styrax.