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Salvia Summit II: An International Gathering of Sage Thought, March 7 to 10

Salvia Summit II: An International Gathering of Sage Thought, March 7 to 10

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Synopsis: Salvias thrive in many different climates and parts of the world. Consequently, those who love the genus are an international tribe stretching from Alaska to Argentina and from South Africa to Southern California. Members of the tribe, from Salvia experts to home gardeners, will gather March 7 to 9 at Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, for Salvia Summit II. Speakers will include academics, horticulturists, researchers and a forensic scientist specializing in Salvia chemistry. This event follows up on Salvia Summit I, which was held in 2008 on California's Central Coast at Cabrillo College.

Salvias thrive in many different climates and parts of the world. Consequently, those who love the genus are an international tribe stretching from Alaska to Argentina and from South Africa to Southern California. Members of the tribe, from Salvia experts to home gardeners, will gather March 7 to 9 at Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, for Salvia Summit II.

Speakers will include academics, horticulturists, researchers and a forensic scientist who focuses on the chemistry of Salvia species, especially S. divinorum.

Program & Tours
Registration and a social gathering will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Huntington Gardens on Thursday, March 7. Presentations on March 8 will start at 9:15 a.m. with the last talk of the day beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Program topics on March 8 will range from Salvias of various geographic areas -- Argentina, Australia and North America with a specific focus on California -- to forensic research, pollinators, medicinal use and wooly species. Tours of the Huntington Gardens, which contain 50 Salvia species, will be held late afternoon. The Salvias are part of Huntington’s subtropical collection, which includes the popular Purple Majesty Sage (Salvia guaranitica x gesneraeflora 'Purple Majesty') that is a member of the Anise-Leaf Sage group (Salvia guaranitica spp.).

Saturday’s events will begin with a tour of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, which has the largest garden dedicated to California native plants. A plant sale plus seed exchange and auction is scheduled during lunch at Huntington Gardens. Presentations in the afternoon will focus on Salvias in Western Mexico, South Africa and Europe.

Sunday Field Trips
Day-long Salvia habitat tours of Riverside County, located south and east of Los Angeles, will be held on Sunday, March 10 -- the first day of daylight savings time -- if weather permits.

Depending on which tour you choose, plants viewed in the wild may include: S. apiana, S. dorrii, S. clevelandii, S. columbariae, S. eremostachya, S. leucophylla, S. mellifera, S. pachyphylla and S. vaseyi.

Weather isn’t always warm and sunny in Southern California. For those who intend to participate in a field trip, Summit organizers recommend dressing in layers, bringing rain gear and wearing hiking boots or other comfortable walking shoes appropriate for wet conditions.

International Speakers
Frank Zona, a Miami botanist for Florida International University as well as a professional garden photographer well known for his vibrant pictures of Salvia, is scheduled to open the presentations with a broad discussion of the genus’s botany.

Although plans are still somewhat tentative, other speakers -- in order of appearance -- on March 8 include:

  • Rolando Uria, agronomy professor at the University of Buenos Aires
  • Jack E. Hurd, a forensic scientist with the Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory
  • J. Mark Porter, a research scientist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and an associate professor of botany at Claremont Graduate University
  • Bart O’Brien, director of special projects at Santa Ana Botanic Garden and well-known author of garden books
  • Sue Templeton, an Australian perennial nursery owner whose Salvia collection has been awarded a registration by the Garden Plant Association of Australia
  • Ethnobotanist Aaron Jenks, who earned his PhD at the University of California, Riverside, and is a specialist in medicinal sages
  • John Whittlesey, owner of the internationally renowned Canyon Creek Nursery in Oroville, California and
  • Panayoti Kelaidis, Denver Botanic Gardens Salvia expert, who in 2009 received the American Horticultural Society's Liberty Hyde Bailey award for lifetime achievement in horticulture.

Summit presentations will conclude on Saturday afternoon, March 9, with:

  • Jesus Gonzalez, a University of Guadalajara graduate student who is an expert on Salvias in Western Mexico
  • Frank Fischer, a well-known German nurseryman with a focus on growing Salvias in cold climates and
  • Ernst van Jaarsveld, conservatory curator at South Africa’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, who is a native plant preservationist well versed in South African Salvias.

Registration, Transportation and Lodging
Salvia Summit II is a not-for-profit event for which speakers are providing their time free of charge. Any leftover funds from registration fees, which are $230 per attendee, will be split among the speakers.

Summit organizers note that Pasadena is the closest city with numerous lodging choices. They have made arrangements for a group rate at the Howard Johnson Pasadena, which is about two miles away from the Huntington Gardens. 

Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport (BUR) and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are the airports closest to the conference site. LAX is about 30 miles away.

Learning and Sharing
Salvia Summit I was held in 2008 on California’s Central Coast at Cabrillo College, which has the largest institutional collection of Salvias in the United States. It was a great time for learning and sharing, and we expect that Summit II will be equally exciting for Salvia enthusiasts and professionals.

At FBTS, we know that the conference will give us lots of ideas for useful blog topics so we can share the wealth of information with you in future months.


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