Field Day 2019

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Join everyone at the Morning Mixer—it kicks off at 9AM


This Wednesday is Field Day, so we hope you will pay us a visit. If you haven’t sent in an RSVP with the number of attendees you plan to bring, you need to do it today. Of special note is our Morning Mixer, which has turned into a small gabfest—a ritual in its own right. It’s a great way for peers to catch up, swap tales, and gather the news of the industry. We didn’t expect it to turn into a thing, but it has. Don’t forget to wear your company colors or logo when you arrive. It makes it easier for everyone else to know who you are, what you do, and where you come from—plus it’s a great ice breaker. Our Morning Mixer starts at 9:00AM when registration opens.

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Elmer explains the story behind the Hillside garden to attendees last year


Of course, the major benefit of Field Day is the opportunity to review our 25 display gardens with the people who designed and planted them. Some beds are planted in hot blazing sun, some in deep shade, and some in-between, but each has a goal to achieve. You’ll get to see the plants in action, at work in their mature form.

We test out a lot of different ideas: Does this plant work in the shade? Is this variety a good companion? How big does that planting get? Did the new one fulfill its promise?  We have our successes but we have our failures, too, and you’ll get to see them all. That’s the point of learning gardens—we make the mistakes now so clients don’t see them, and we look for new ideas to keep our designs fresh.

As usual, Elmer and Ron will be guiding the groups around the various beds, discussing the goals of each planting and the results. This is more of a roaming workshop, so participants are encouraged to pipe up with their experiences and questions as well.

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Cameras are great for visual notes—notice the name tag in the lower right corner


We tour the gardens slowly so there will be plenty of time for photographs. Visual note taking is a big deal—we do it ourselves. Whether you use a phone or professional DSR camera, we encourage you to take as many pictures as you can. To help with identification, all the plantings are labeled so you can snap the garden tag as well. A close-up shot is a good way to remember each individual plant, but you can also pull back and capture companions that you think work well together.

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Every garden is documented with a plan and the list of plants used in the bed


This brings us to the Field Day Book, our play-by-play for the day—every attendee receives a copy. It documents all the display gardens along the tour, with each bed accompanied by a list of plants used to build the display. There’s room for your notes, because we’ve noticed attendees scribbling on the pages as we circled the property in years past. We refer to this book often, especially as an overview when sorting out the photos we’ve taken.

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Your votes matter—we want to know what you want us to grow


At the end of the tour be sure to cap off the day by voting for your favorite plant. Our extra long bed is stuffed full of new, catchy, and dramatic flowers, all vying for your attention. We are genuinely interested in which ones catch your eye, because we take your votes for Best Plant into consideration when we plan next year’s production schedules. In other words, your vote influences what you’ll be buying next year. Look for the winner to be announced right here in Field Notes, along with an article discussing the background and details of the plant.

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Choose from seven lip-smacking sauces for your sandwich at Wicked Hickory


Registration starts at 9:00AM, and the garden tours kick off at 9:30. We tour the gardens for a couple of hours, ending up at the food truck around noon. Wicked Hickory is back this year with BBQ sandwiches to enjoy as we relax and wind down after all that walking and talking. Once again the fee for Field Day is $5.00 per attendee.

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