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Learn about 'new perennial movement' at free program

Submitted by Joy Moore • Nov 19, 2019 at 5:30 PM


Horticulturist Paul Westervelt, the annual and perennial production manager at Saunders Brothers Nursery, will speak on “The New Perennial Movement & Why It Matters” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Kingsport Higher Education Center.

Sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS), the program is free and open to the public.

While much of the nursery industry is focused on the latest and greatest, compact, spring blooming whatever, there’s a counter movement afoot.

Westervelt will discuss this new perennial movement that embraces a more natural look, a different pallet of plants (and scads of them on tight centers) all while creating beneficial habitat and food for pollinators.

A professional plant geek, Westervelt has run the annual and perennial program for Saunders Brothers Nursery in Piney River, Virginia, since 2004. There, he grows over 800 varieties across 13 different programs. His work is plants, his hobbies are plants, his vacations are plants, his dreams are plants — he’s living the plant geek dream.

He grew up in Winchester, Virginia, across from a multi-acre Oehme van Sweden garden. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech (in 2001 and 2003, respectively). In 2009, he was awarded the “Young Professional of the Year” by the Perennial Plant Association. He was recognized in the 2013 Class of 40 Under 40 for Greenhouse Product News, which each year recognizes 40 young industry professionals who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. He has written for various industry magazines and is a popular speaker at national and regional events for gardeners as well as nursery professionals.

Westervelt lives and gardens on his farm in central Virginia. Free time not spent gardening is spent visiting gardens and landscapes around the country and abroad.

The Kingsport Higher Education Center is located at 300 West Market Street in Downtown Kingsport. For more information, call (423) 817-5473 or email sapsinfo@embarqmail.com.