Programs & Workshops

Through the efforts of our Education Committee volunteers, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon puts on four different kinds of program formats, some of which are open to the public (at non-member prices).  There are Large Programs, Gen(i)us Series programs, small workshops, and the Study Weekend.  Programs and workshops offered for the current year are listed in the Event Calendar and Event List.

Large Programs

These are generally lectures by well-known authorities or authors in the field of horticulture, and are usually accompanied by slide displays. There is, every year, a Winter Program, a Fall Program, and a Spring Program. There is often a Summer Program depending on whether a featured speaker is available or whether HPSO is hosting the Study Weekend.  Additionally, every October-November, the Society holds its Annual Meeting, a short business meeting accompanied by a presentation - the Marvin Black Memorial Lecture.  The Annual Meeting is for members only, free of charge.  All other programs do have an admission fee and are usually open to the public, but members get discounts and have the opportunity to sign up before the public is notified of the program.  In addition, there may also be one or two special programs, when the opportunity arises to have a great speaker who may be coming to Portland.  Often, the Large Programs will feature more than one speaker.  The focus is on garden design, a famous garden, or a well-known garden "personality".  With each Large Program, a botanical display is provided with items from members' gardens, and books and seeds are offered for sale.  Large Programs generally draw between 300 to 400 attendees.

Gen(i)us Series Programs

To complement the garden design or garden personality emphasis of the Large Programs, the Gen(i)us Series programs focus on a specific genus of plants or group of plants.  For example, past offerings have included presentations on Cornus (dogwoods), Iris, Asteraceae (Daisies), Clematis, Viburnums, Lilies, species Rhododendrons, Acer (maples), summer-blooming bulbs, trumpet-shaped flowers, etc.  Each year, there are five or six lectures in the Series.  The programs are held at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland and can be purchased individually or as a series (for a discount).  Each program is presented in a slide show format.  Plants from the featured genus are usually for sale.  Gen(i)us programs are typically attended by 80 to 100 people.  They are open to both members and non-members.


In order to provide more hands-on experiences, HPSO occasionally offers small workshops.  Workshops cover a wide range of topics such as pruning, garden photography, soil-building, plant propagating, designing containers, as well as small tours to regional nurseries and gardens.  Class size is limited to 10 to 20 people, and participation is limited to members only.  Each workshop is usually sponsored by one of HPSO's Study/Interest Groups with the support of the Education Committee.

study weekend

The Study Weekend is an annual gardening conference that rotates among the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon and its sister organizations in Seattle, and British Columbia.  Every four years, the conference comes to Portland, attracting 500 gardening enthusiasts, mainly from the Northwest, but from other areas of the U.S., Canada, and Europe, too.  The Weekend includes garden lectures, workshops, open gardens, sales of plants, garden art and gardening books, as well as a Saturday evening social event.  HPSO sponsored the Study Weekend in 2015 and will have the opportunity to host it again in 2019.  More information on this past 2015 Study Weekend here.

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