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Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens – Session 5

March 8, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens will educate and inspire homeowners, horticulturists, botanists, naturalists, landscape architects and designers, educators, conservationists and anyone eager to learn about creating pollinator and wildlife habitats using native plants and trees to promote biodiversity, species richness and ecological resilience.

In Session 5 we will focus on the other plants, the not colorful ones, that add a healthy mix of biodiversity to our gardens. Shade tolerant plants, such as ferns and sedges, can add lush greens and texture to our landspaces. While edibles, such as berries and nuts, can give us and our wildlife friends an extra boost of energy.

This symposium is organized by Ann Cicarella of the Cleveland Pollinator and Native Plant Symposium, Judy Semroc of NatureSpark and Renee Boronka at Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Session 5: Shining a Light on Shade: Creating Ecologically Vibrant Gardens
Wednesday, March 8, 2023

1:00 PM ET
Ancient Plants: Designing with Ferns + Propagation Techniques
Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture, Native Plant Trust

Ferns are ancient plants whose ancestors first appeared on earth over 300 million years ago and dominated the land before the rise of flowering plants. Uli will share many interesting stories about ferns in history and talk about which ferns make excellent landscape and garden plants with their calming presence and striking textures. Did you know that in Victorian England ferns became a sign of wealth and intellect? In nature, fern spores germinate in moss, rotting logs or damp exposed soil. Moist porous rock such as limestone ledges are also ideal fern habitat. Uli will delve into the sexual reproduction of ferns and demonstrate methods of propagating fern spores indoors.

2:00 PM ET
Carex: Plants Up to Something Shady
Roy Diblik, Designer, Author, Owner at Northwind Perennial Farm

Most of us have planted shade gardens, often wishing we had additional sunlight in order to add more colorful blooming plants. That’s coming from living in a world where “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Roy’s design approach begins with learning a core group of plants, and all of the characteristics of the plants that thrive together. He will show you plant groups that will offer you the possibilities of healthy shade planting. Carex is a reliable, durable, very diverse group of highly textural plants that create healthy soils, suppress weed competition and reduce reliance on wood mulch. Roy will discuss designs on various sites, how to place the plants and most importantly how to care for them.

3:00 PM ET
Native Edible Trees and Shrubs in the Home Landscape: Tips on Growing and Harvesting
Jason Neumann, Public Programs Manager, Cincinnati Nature Center

Blending aesthetics, value for wildlife, and human food in the home landscape is entirely possible. Jason will offer invaluable information on a range of edible trees and shrubs that are “good for you, good for wildlife,” as well as, some from the forest management and approaches that help us work with nature. He will introduce you to the concept of the 6 Ps: planning, placement, perception, pollination, pruning and production. Taking cues from nature and the value of diversity, Jason will touch on pawpaw, persimmon, elderberry, black chokecherry, spicebush, highbush cranberry, wild gooseberry, raspberries, blackberries, native passion fruit and many of the nut trees.


Uli Lorimer
As the Native Plant Trust Director of Horticulture, Uli oversees daily operations at both Garden in the Woods, Native Plant Trust’s botanic garden in Framingham, MA, and Nasami Farm in western Massachusetts, a nursery focused on the propagation of and research about New England native plants. Uli, a native of Delaware, grew up with an interest in all things green and held positions at the US National Arboretum and Wave Hill before becoming curator of the Native Flora Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) from 2005 until spring 2019. During his tenure at BBG, Uli worked closely with botanists throughout the region to collect seed from the wild, propagate new plants for the collection, and document and study the region’s biodiversity. He is a tireless advocate for the use of native plants in the design landscape, advancing this narrative through public speaking, teaching, radio, podcast, social media, and print media. He has contributed as an author and photographer to several publications and recently published his own book, The Northeast Native Plant Primer: 235 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden. He holds degrees from the University of Delaware in Landscape Horticulture and Foreign Languages and Literature.

Roy Diblik
Roy Diblik is one of the most influential perennial plant experts in the Midwest, as well as, a grower, designer, speaker and author. Combining his 35 years of knowledge growing Midwest native perennials, he specializes in the thoughtful design of highly aesthetic, sustainable plant communities for all seasons, while reducing maintenance. Roy is the owner of Northwind Perennials Farm in Burlington, WI near Lake Geneva and author of the book, The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden. Roy worked closely with the renowned Dutch designer Piet Oudolf on the design for the Lurie Garden in Chicago, growing many of the plants for the garden. He has designed many public spaces in Chicago, such as, The Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute of Chicago.




Jason Neumann
Jason is a 25+ year veteran of the Cincinnati Nature Center (CNC) currently serving as the Public Programs Manager, crafting experiences that immerse visitors in nature and leading interpretive trainings. He works towards translating CNC’s Plant Native initiative into visitor engagement opportunities and has a special interest in connecting people to nature through food. Growing up on a small farm sparked his deep interest in agriculture which was fanned to flame through a BS degree in Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University, and later a graduate certificate in Agroforestry at University of Missouri-Columbia. Drawing from the perspective of a farmer/naturalist, Jason seeks to work with nature whether in his suburban backyard operation called “Someday Farm”, CNC Edible Plants and Foraging Group (founded in 2013) or managing the native perennial polyculture plots and the 2-acre pawpaw grove at Long Branch Farm and Trails. Jason is a board member of the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association.

Register here:


March 8, 2023
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm