May 12, 2021
PPA Announces Additional Speakers for 2021 Virtual Symposium

The Perennial Plant Association has announced a line-up of well-known industry leaders including Panayoti Kelaidis, Jason Reeves and Scott McMahan as speakers for the upcoming PPA Virtual National Symposium being held from July 27 to July 29.  This year’s inspiration for the Virtual National Symposium program and session topics is drawn from the theme Celebrating Perennials: People, Place & Purpose as speakers join in from places like Italy, Britain, Brooklyn, Denver and beyond. For a full roster of speakers and session topics, please visit A few speaker highlights include:

Panayoti Kelaidis is a plant explorer, gardener and public garden administrator associated with Denver Botanic Gardens where he is now Senior Curator and Director of Outreach. Panayoti will address attendees at the Symposium with a lively discussion titled Reinventing a Western Landscape Aesthetic. He will share some of the heroes — both people and plants — who have created the transformation of Western landscapes from “English style” into something far more sustainable and appropriate to a Western setting, as well as discussing its relevance and impact on other regions. Follow him on Instagram at @panayotikelaidis.

Horticulturist, landscape designer, lecturer and writer, Jason Reeves, joins the PPA Virtual Symposium with a tour of his private home garden in Western Tennessee.  Jason received his Master’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In 2002, he became a research horticulturist and curator of the University of Tennessee Gardens located at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. You may be familiar with some of his famous displays at the University of Tennessee Gardens in Jackson but now he is showing us his personal garden showcase. You can follow Jason’s design journey on his Facebook page In the Garden.

Scott McMahan, Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Manager of International Plant Exploration, will offer final remarks as the closing speaker at the Virtual National Symposium with the session titled Plant Exploration with a Purpose. Scott’s lecture will focus on photos and stories from 20 years of plant exploration in Southeast Asia and how that has prepared him in his current role at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In particular, Scott will speak on the work he and his colleagues have been doing in the wilds of China, Vietnam and India. Scott oversees plant collection and evaluation at ABG as well as the creation of a visiting scholar program to promote the exchange of knowledge and plants with other botanical institutions around the world. Follow Scott’s adventures at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Instagram at @atlbotanical.

Each day of the three-day educational event will consist of hour-long opening and closing sessions, mini sessions, tour talks and traditions such as the New to the Market Forum and Landscape Design Awards. Throughout the event, attendees will participate in polls, trivia, Q&A with presenters as well as be engaged beyond education for some fun surprises. Sponsors are crafting daily mindfulness breaks and those who register by June 18 will receive a welcome box including items to participate in a happy hour and a custom PPA virtual tea tasting by Drink Good Tea.

The Virtual National Symposium is part of PPA’s 2021 Hybrid National Symposium showcasing online education days as well as in-person, smaller, outdoor PPA Pop-Up events held at various locations around the U.S. To learn more about the Pop-Up events visit

The PPA Virtual National Symposium will take place online July 27-29 from 1–5 p.m. ET with additional happy hour events on July 27th and 28th. For a schedule of events and to register visit

Early-bird registration rates run through June 18.