The Davidson Horticultural Symposium was established in 1984 as a joint volunteer effort by the Davidson Garden Club and several faculty and staff members of Davidson College with the objective of providing affordable continuing education in the field of horticulture.  We have the tradition of inviting both well-known speakers and up-and-coming new talent.  J.C. Raulston was one of our biggest supporters and we take pride in his annual comment in the NC State Arboretum Newsletter that our Symposium was "always the best in the region."

Davidson College has been the site of the Symposium since its inception; the campus is an exceptional arboretum that provides a sense of escape from everyday pressures and offers the opportunity for quiet reflection. 

For more than 30 years we have had notable speakers reflecting the diversity and the future of the horticulture field.  For a respective look, examine the following list of past speakers and go to 30+ Years of Gardening for some snapshots:

1985: A.E. Bye; Fred Galle; William Lanier Hunt; Ken Moore & Harry Phillips; Jim Wilson

1986: William Flemer, III; William Lanier Hunt; Robert McCartney; Harry Phillips; William Valvanis; Michael Van Valkenburgh

1987: John Creech; John Elsley; Dan Kiley; Anthony Paul; J.C. Raulston

1988:  Secrets of Site Design
Joseph Hudak; Allen Lacy; Bryce Lane; Ted Osmandson; Hans Simon; Gurdon Tarbok, Jr.

1989:  From Jungles to Freeways
H. Marc Cathey; Angela Danadjieva; Brent Heath; Stephen Lacey; Christopher Lloyd; J.C. Raulston

1990:  A Sense of Place
Henry Arnold; Neil Diboll; Al Gentry; Tom Hatley; Sheafe Satterthwaite; Richard Weaver; Denis Wood

1991:  Hand in Hand with Nature
Bonnie Lee Appleton; Allen Armitage; Derek Fell; J.C. Raulston; Sandra Ladendorf; Peter Loewer; Shepherd Ogden

1992:  The Common Bond: Back to Roots
Tony Avent; Dick Bir; Allen Bush; Rick Darke; Michael Dirr; Lislott Harberts; Claire Sawyers; Peter Schaudt

1993:  The Shape of Things to Come
John Elsley; John Graham; John Holmes; Carol Johnson; Gregg Lowery; Larry Mellichamp; Tommy Norwood & Tim Turton; Pat Stone; Tracy Traer

1994:  Public Gardens, Private Gains
Walter Chandoha; Kris Jarantoski; Bill Moye; J.C. Raulston; Geoffry Rausch; Judith Zuk

1995:  The Lure of the Garden
Pamel Harper; Lucinda Mays; Robin Moore; Felder Rushing; Holly Shimizu; Eric Ritchie

1996:  Secrets of Good Gardens
Cyane Gresham; Dan Hinkley; Norman Kent Johnson; Ted Kipping; Mark Peters; Sarah Stone; Marco Polo Stefano

1997:  Gardens by Design
Dick Bir; August De Hertogh; Judith Jones; Fred Spicer; Wayne Winterrowd; Edd Evans, Gwen Machen Cook, & Veronica Westendorff

1998:  Pushing the Boundaries
Colston Burrell; Elliot Coleman; Barbara Damrosch; Steven Frowine; Klause Jelitto

1999:  Personal Edens: Creating Unique Spaces in Sourthern Gardens
Kurt Bluemel; Peggy Cornett; Julie Moir Messervy; Renee Shepherd; Kim E. Tripp; Craig Tufts

2000:  Reflections and Visions: Past Symposium Favorites and New Voices for the Next Century
Henry Arnold; A.E. Bye; Denise Greene; Pamela Harper; Stephen Lederach

2001:  Artists in the Garden:  The Interaction of Nature and Art
Jenks Farmer; Peter Loewer; Bob Lyons; Elizabeth Murray; Elsie Dinsmore Popkin

2002:  Order and Chaos in the Garden
Edith Eddleman; Stephen Lacey; Pat Linton; Ben Page; Mike Shoup

2003:  Plants in the Company of People
D.G. Martin; Anne Raver; Vincent Simeone; Arthur Tucker; Larry Weaner; Rick Darke

2004:  Inside Out: Inspired Spaces For Outside Living
Ken Druse; Julie Moir Messervy; Mary Walton Upchurch; Doug Ruhren

2005:  Fresh Perspective on Gardens
Michael Balogh; Jenks Farmer; Penelope Hobhouse; David McMullin; Scott Ogden & Lauren Springer Ogden

2006:  The Evolving Garden: Reflections on the Garden and It's Afterlife
Steve Bender; John Dixon Hunt; Pat Linton; Tom Petherick; Anna Pavord

2007:  Green Challenges:  Gardening in Unexpected Places
Jon Calabria; Randy Clark; Felder Rushing; Anna Haven Kiers; Roger Turner

2008:  Herbaceous Havens:  Creating Garden Sanctuaries
Tracy DiSabato-Aust; Stephanie Cohen; Tom Goforth; John Hoffman; Mary Stauble

2009:  Gardens for Our Time
Charles Birnbaum; Nigel Dunnett; Don Boekelheide; Don Booth; Bruce Clodfelter; Ellen Kirby; Mark Weathington

2010:  Through the Seasons:  A Southern Garden's Journey
Allen Armitage; Pam Baggett; Robin Ripley; W. Gary Smith; William Welch

2011:  Exploring Possibilities:  Rediscovering Home 
Chip Calloway; David Creech; Erica Glasener; Darrel Morrison; Barbara Pleasant

2012: The Roots of Passion: The Inspired Gardener 
Andrea Wulf; David Howard; Bill Thomas; Sean Hogan; Andrea Sprott; Larry Mellinchamp; Tiz Johnston

2013: Beyond the Garden Gate:  Exploring Creative Spaces:
Noel Kingsbury; Julie Moir Meservy; Tovah Martin; Holly Scoggins; Nan Chase

2014: It's All About the Plants

Kirk Brown; David Culp; Holly Shimizu; Paula Gross; Tony Avent

2015: Planting Outside the Lines
Margie Ruddick; Sandra Clinton; Carol Reese; Evelyn Hadden; Colston Burrell

2016: Big Ideas for Small Gardens
Fergus Garrett; Jon Carloftis; Susan Morrison; Mary Palmer Dargan; Rita Randolph

2017: What's in YOUR Garden?
Thomas Rainer; Doug Tallamy; Helen Yoest; Nigel Dunnett; Jan Johnsen