Online webinars: the new normal for plant society meetings and workshops

Since the spring, just about every aspect of life has transitioned to a “new normal.” That includes monthly meetings of plant societies as well as workshops and other events at public and botanical gardens: Instead of being held in person, many of them have moved online. 

In addition to the convenience factor, there's another benefit: As online events, they're accessible to a much wider audience. People who would not have been able to attend in person can easily watch from the comfort of their home. In addition, it's possible to participate in presentations offered by organizations far away; typically you don't even have to be a member! This has opened up a whole new world of plant- and garden-oriented infotainment that I, for my part, have been enjoying tremendously.

It would be impossible to compile anything resembling a complete list of everything being offered online so I suggest you do a Google search for events that interest you. Here are some webinars on my radar for the July and August:

Ruth Bancroft Garden's agave presentation by Brian Kemble last Saturday; part 2 will be held on August 15 (see below).

Ruth Bancroft Garden (RBG)

Basic Design Principles: Color Theory

Saturday, July 25, 10:00 am - 11:00 am PDT

Bringing color to your garden isn’t just about blooms.  Combining plants that compliment and play off each other brings energy and interest to your garden year-round.  Learn about general color theory basics, look at examples of color theory in practice and about some great water-wise plant combinations.

Cost: $10 members, $15 non-members

Curator’s Highlight: Agave (subgenus Littaea)

Saturday, August 15, 10:00 am - 11:00 am PDT

Join Brian Kemble, long-time RBG Curator, for a webinar that will highlight Agave (subgenus Littaea) species that lack floral branches, including favorites such as Agave victoriae-reginae and Agave utahensis.

Cost: $10 members, $15 non-members

Ethnobotany of Succulents

Saturday, August 29, 10:00 am - 11:00 am PDT

Join Deepa Natarajan to learn about the fascinating relationships between people and succulent plants from around the world.

Cost: $10 members, $15 non-members

Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA)

Brian Kemble presents “Iconic Plants of the Ruth Bancroft Garden”

Saturday, July 25, 10:00 PDT

Cost: free

Southern California Horticultural Society

Plant Hormones: Knowing and Managing Them for Better Results

Thursday, August 13, 2020, 7:30 PDT

Have you ever wondered why your plant has a sudden burst of growth after transplanting? Or how the plant "knows" to grow new parts when pruned or how a cutting knows to make roots? Maybe you’ve even wondered about how a banana knows to ripen or why leaves all of a sudden turn yellow when you bring a plant home?

Find answers to these questions and others about why your plants grow the way they do during this informative yet not so technical presentation by Ernesto Sandoval, Director of the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory.

Cost: free

Do you have any events to add to the list? Please leave a comment below.

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  1. Thanks for compiling this list, Gerhard. I know Oregon State University is offering a master gardener series consisting of 12 on-demand courses with an associated fee for all but the introductory segment. Garden Design's online site also lists a series of classes on a variety of topics at nominal cost. Roger's Gardens is offering some very short free podcasts via Instagram and Facebook plus a couple of virtual workshops with fees.

  2. I've been watching the Youtube videos from the National Garden Scheme in the UK. Because of the pandemic, all open days have been cancelled, at least for now. So NGS is uploading videos made by the garden owners, which are quite charming. And of course the gardens are amazing.

  3. I'm really enjoying these as well. I do need to get over my mental block about being the one to put on the presentation though. You'd think it would be a natural for me, since "online" is my thing. But nope. I'm part of a group recording a presentation for the HPSO membership this week though, so it's time to get my head wrapped around this.

  4. Thanks for these. I will check a few out. Have watched a couple from London "Land for Giants". Talks are interesting with ecological/environmental themes. Have been giving plenty of webinars too. Takes a while to get used to just talking to a computer screen rather than an actual audience but they are kind of fun.

  5. Hi Gerhard,
    I retired from the UCD Arboretum a couple years ago but discovered that at least on your blog I can comment as them! I was relaxing and scrolling around on my iPad when I came across a post where you were in the Arboretum and photographed a pine with puffy pale blue juvenile foliage. Well I moved to the big computer to check my memory and now i cannot find the post i was looking at so am commenting here. If that is the one by the HQ complex it is Pinus maximartinezii, we tried to root those beautiful sprouts for a while but it wouldn't cooperate. Ellen Zagory.


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