In what little spare time I have this week, I’ve been pouring over an advance copy of the itinerary and conference brochure for next week’s Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) International Landscape Design Conference in Dallas.
This will be my fifth consecutive year attending this particular conference. What is the attraction? It’s the dialog. There’s lots of conversation, but most important to me is the visual dialog between me and the incredibly high quality of the landscapes and gardens we visit. Some are popular locally, but many others are never open to anyone. In fact, we have been asked when visiting some gardens in the past to not publish photographs or write about our visits publicly to protect the homeowner’s privacy. I learn from the discourse, the divergent experiences and opinions of my peers. I learn by going somewhere where I don’t know the plants and can focus simply on the design elements. I become a better designer through my participation.
The conferences are timed so that the landscapes and gardens we visit are at their peak. Each location has been different–selected with the idea that there is something unique about the locale and its unique regional design sensibility. I’ve learned not to question why we are going to a particular place and instead trust that the designers who organize the conference locally will show me the best and most challenging outdoor spaces they have to offer.
I will be blogging, tweeting and otherwise sharing my experiences both as will several of my APLD peers. You can follow along in your own reader, on the APLD FB page or by using the #apld hashtag for Twitter.