The month began with me attending the American Public Garden Conference in Miami, Florida. This was a fabulous week of learning, networking and visits in the Miami area. Our first trip was to the Big Cypress National Preserve, which is next to the Everglades on a huge site of 729,000 acres. The rangers' main problem is removing fast-growing and invasive species - not to mention the alligators!
Next I tried my hand at presenting to the APGA Conference on Garden Club of America/Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowship and other traineeships around the world. During the week I got to listen to some fascinating speakers and join in discussions, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to network with influential American horticulturists as well as explore the city of Miami.
Ties to the UK
Travelling north, I visited a jewel of a garden in Pennsylvania, the Chanticleer Garden. There are 35 acres of gardens open to the public which include the wonderfully named Tennis Court Garden, Teacup Garden, Serpentine Garden, Ruin and Gravel Gardens. Created in 1912, the Chanticleer has become one of the most stunning gardens in North America, with ties to Great Dixter in the UK, and many similarities in the planting styles of both gardens.
Royal Botanic Gardens
RBG is the largest botanical garden in Canada and split between different sites in Ontario; these are so far apart you need to drive or catch a bus between. The most recent addition to the garden is the New Rock Garden, which was created from a quarry more than 80 years ago and has recently undergone a massive regeneration. This is one of the best rock gardens I have visited, with some superb planting giving visitors a wonderful display all year long.