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Living Landscapes

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 7:30 AM - 4:15 PM

Understanding the Ecological Benefits of Ornamental Horticulture

This full-day, in-person workshop explores the beauty of managed landscapes during the fall season while emphasizing their ecological role.

7:30 AM – 8:15 AM • Sign-in with light refreshments

8:15–8:30 AM • Welcome and Announcements
Mina Vescera, CCE Suffolk and Vinnie Simeone, Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

8:30 – 9:30 AM • The Ecological Benefits of Meadows to Wildlife
Stéphane Perreault, Naturalist, Greentree Foundation

Meadows provide a serene and open view in the landscape. They also provide habitat for wildlife. This presentation will highlight findings of wildlife surveys conducted in meadows and other open grass habitat at Greentree, a private property in Manhasset, Nassau County. Photographs will illustrate the biodiversity of field insects. The presentation will also feature bird abundance results that show the importance of such fields during the fall migration.

9:30 – 10:30 AM • Ornamental Shrubs for Spectacular Fall Beauty & Wildlife Benefit
Vinnie Simeone, Horticulture Director, Planting Fields Arboretum

While autumn usually represents a time of harvest and putting the garden to rest, many landscapes are beaming with color. This lecture will offer practical information on how to enhance the garden using flowering shrubs that possess interesting fall foliage, fruit and bark interest. The selected plants that will be presented are both native and exotic and in addition to offering superior ornamental qualities, also provide a valuable food source for birds and pollinators. Shrubs that require less care and offer durability, pest and disease resistance, drought and heat tolerance and even deer resistance will be covered.

10:30 – 11:00 AM • Short Break

11:00 – 12:30 PM • Bacciferous Shrubs and More Walking Tour
Vinnie Simeone, Horticulture Director, Planting Fields Arboretum

Berries play an important role during the fall and winter months for wildlife. This lecture and walking tour will highlight the many flowering shrubs that produce flowers, which will attract a wide variety of pollinators and transform into berries for both ornamental and ecological benefits to birds and other wildlife. A wide variety of species will be presented, both native and non-invasive exotics.

12:30– 1:30 PM • Lunch

Appreciating and Managing Grasses in the Living Landscape
Andy Senesac, PhD., Weed Scientist and Tamson Yeh, Pest Management & Turf Specialist, CCE-Suffolk

Grasses, even native grasses, can be unassumingly aggressive. This hands-on presentation and tour will focus on identification and management options of several grass species. Participants are encouraged to take pictures of problem grassy weeds for identification and to bring samples in zip lock bags.

1:30 – 2:30 PM • Common and Emerging Weedy Grasses

Participants will view live samples of common as well as emerging weedy grass problems. The weeds will include wild invasive species as well as escaped ornamental grasses that have become weedy. There will be a discussion of best management practices for each of the 20 to 25 species. This discussion will include reasons why commonly used herbicide programs may not be effective on escaping weed problems. Cultural controls and environmental-friendly products for management will be discussed.

2:30 – 2:45 PM • Short Break

2:45 – 3:15 PM • Appreciating Grasses Walking Tour

Walk the Sensory Garden with Andy and Tamson in appreciation of ornamental grasses. Fall is the perfect time of year to appreciate the beauty of grasses. Native and exotic grasses will be featured. Identification traits, ecological role, weediness, and more will be discussed.

3:15 – 4:15 PM • Panel Discussion: Changing Role of Ornamental Horticulture
Mina Vescera, Moderator, CCE-Suffolk

Panel discussion on existing and emerging challenges affecting the ecological role of ornamental landscapes.

4:15 PM • Wrap-up and Distribution of credits


$50/person. Pre-registration is required. No refunds after October 11th.



Mina Vescera
Nursery and Landscape Specialist


Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
1395 Planting Fields Road
Oyster Bay, New York 11771

Last updated September 20, 2022