Frank Hale and Andrew Loyd in costume (not mandatory btw) during the Wednesday night social. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Frank Hale and Andrew Loyd in costume (not mandatory btw) during the Wednesday night social. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Now over 40 years old, the Ornamental Workshop convened for three beautiful days in late October. One hundred and twenty-three university researchers, extension personnel and representatives from agrochemical companies, biological control companies, tree care companies, public gardens, and others all converged in Hendersonville, NC to geek-out on the pests and diseases of ornamental plants.

Engaged participants soaking up knowledge.

Engaged participants soaking up knowledge. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Our keynote speakers, Adam Dale (University of Florida) and Steve Oak (USDA FS), started big with presentations about how climate change and urbanization affect insect and disease biology and management. For the next 3 days we had talks and workshops on everything from the latest research on exotic pests like emerald ash borer, crape myrtle bark scale, sudden oak death, and rose rosette, to new innovations in extension delivery. We covered nurseries, greenhouses, chemical control, biological control, new pests, old pests, you name it. We even had a workshop on macrophotography by Matt Bertone (NCSU). You can view the whole program to see what you missed.

Participants Cliff Sadof, Brian Kunkel, Gerald Adams, and Carlos Quesada 'networking' on a hike.

Participants Cliff Sadof, Brian Kunkel, Gerald Adams, and Carlos Quesada ‘networking’ on a hike. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Of course we never work too hard at the Ornamental Workshop even though ‘work’ is in the name. Each night we gather for drinks and snacks for networking (there is that ‘work’ again) and catching up with friends. The highlight for some folks is Wednesday when we take the afternoon off for a mushroom foray and hiking. This naturally inspires some to attend the social Wednesday evening dressed as their favorite insect or disease. This without a costume can decorate a moonpie to honor their favorite pests.

Moonpie insects and diseases ready to be judged. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

Moonpie insects and diseases ready to be judged. Photo: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

I personally thank all the participants and sponsors for another great workshop. If you want to attend in 2018 watch the website, Facebook page, or join the listserv. If you know someone who should attend this meeting please pass along this post.

Morning at the Ornamental Workshop. Photo: SD Frank.

Morning at the Ornamental Workshop. Photo: SD Frank.

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