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Pollinator Symposium – Session 1

January 12, 2022 @ 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.

The free webinar series will feature five sessions intended to guide you from start to finish in creating gardens that benefit pollinators and other wildlife. Join us and explore the importance of restoring our increasingly fragmented and disappearing native habitats beginning in our own backyards—whether small or large.

Each webinar will feature national and regional experts who will guide you on a path towards building and maintaining a healthy, native garden.

Sessions will be offered every other Wednesday, starting on January 12 through March 9, 2022 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm ET. Each will be recorded and available to those who register for 30 days following the live event. Links will be sent to registrants.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Ohio Master Gardeners – Self-report
Pennsylvania Master Gardeners – Self-report
Association of Professional Landscape Designers – Applying for credits
Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist:

  • Self-report
  • Cleveland Pollinator and Native Plant Symposium as lead organization/sponsor
  • City offered, date, title and one brief line of description and total hours
  • In the future, attendees can count lunch and breaks if In-Person

Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens is brought to you through a collaboration between the Cleveland Pollinator and Native Plant Symposium, Nature Spark and Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Session 1: Selecting & Sourcing Plants to Create Ecologically Vibrant and Resilient Gardens

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm ET

The first of five, this session will cover the integrity of plants species in our gardens. Our presenters will address the native vs. cultivar dilemma and how to choose and locate the most ideal species for your garden. Participants will start to create a foundation for gardens that are both pleasing to our eyes, as well as beneficial to local wildlife.

1:00 pm| Native Species, Cultivars and Selections: What’s the Difference and Why Should We Care?
Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture, Native Plant Trust

More and more gardeners are realizing that their patch of earth is connected to a local, regional, and global ecosystem, so the decisions you make in your garden can have real impacts on the natural world. Examining planting choices through this lens presents another set of questions: What can I plant that is best for local ecosystems? Which members of the animal kingdom can I support with my choices? And once I decide on those plants, where can I buy them? Biodiversity is measured not only in species richness, but also in genetic richness. How can we invite that biodiversity into our gardens?

2:00 pm | Selecting and Sourcing Native Plants for Diverse Landscape Needs
Claudio Vazquez, Co-owner of Izel Plants

This presentation will help you navigate the difficult task of selecting and sourcing native plants, including the drawbacks and benefits to using cultivars, the challenges with propagating certain plants on a commercial scale, and the importance of local genotype varieties. Claudio will tackle the hotly contested debate of whether a native-only landscape is necessary. In addition, he will help us understand the environmental impact of genetic diversity and the important role it plays in establishing sustainable ecosystems. Learn how to balance your individual needs as homeowners, horticulturists, and professional designers within the context of conservation, while meeting specific aesthetics, resilience, and management requirements.

3:00 pm | Knockout Natives
Sam Hoadley, Horticultural Research Manager, Mt. Cuba Center
Mt. Cuba’s research team evaluates native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value, and to highlight the ecosystem services native plants provide. Using data collected and analyzed over a three-year period they have published a research report outlining top performing plants for the Mid-Atlantic region. This information is designed to inform consumers and home gardeners, as well as professionals in the horticultural and nursery industries, about the ecological benefits and attributes of the native plants in our trials. Current genera on trial include Carex, Solidago, Hydrangea arborescens, and Vernonia. Prior evaluations include Echinacea, Phlox, Monarda, Helenium, Baptisia, Coreopsis, Heuchera and Aster.

Speaker Biographies:

Uli Lorimer
Director of Horticulture, Native Plant Trust

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 propagation of and research about New England native plants. A native of Delaware, Uli 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 Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) between 2005 and 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 studied the region’s biodiversity. Uli is a tireless advocate for the use of native plants in the designed 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 Brooklyn Botanic Garden publications, including Great Natives for Tough Places and A Native Plant Reader. Uli has a new book coming out in May 2022 titled, The Northeast Native Plant Primer: 235 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden. He holds degrees in Landscape Horticulture and Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Delaware.


Claudio Vazquez
Co-owner of Izel Plants

Claudio co-founded Izel Plants in 2009 to fill the gap in online information about native plants that was pervasive at the time. Izel Plants is a marketplace for purchasing plants that are native to the contiguous United States. Izel is not a nursery but sources and combines inventories of several nurseries that are dedicated to the responsible collection and propagation of native species. Most native plant nurseries only specialize in certain plant types. However, by sourcing at Izel Plants you can fulfill your native plant needs on a single website. Whether you are looking for trees or ground covers or drought tolerant species, Izel Plants can help you source them. Izel also offers tools to fine tune your species list and help determine which species are best suited to your specific garden environment and ecoregion.


Sam Hoadley
Horticultural Research Manager, Mt. Cuba Center

Sam is the Horticultural Research Manager at Mt. Cuba Center, located near Wilmington Delaware in the gently rolling hills of the Delaware Piedmont. His work includes evaluating native plant species, old and new cultivars, as well as hybrids in Mt Cuba’s Trial Garden. Data from the Trial Garden is collected and analyzed to determine the performance of plants for the Mid-Atlantic region. This information is designed to inform consumers and home gardeners, as well as professionals in the horticultural and nursery industries, about the ecological services native plants provide. Sam holds a degree in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture from the University of Vermont.

Advanced registration is required, a link for the virtual program will be sent upon registration.


January 12, 2022
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Renee Boronka