Southern growers, landscapers, and retailers should mark their calendars for October 7. That’s when the Dallas Arboretum will host the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Southern Region Symposium.
The event is a chance for growers and horticulturists to learn how to better navigate the challenges of extreme weather conditions, while still creating beautiful landscapes. Intense heat, drought, and flooding can all impact how growers do business, and the plants they sell.
Leslie Halleck, PPA Southern Region Director, has brought together a knowledgeable group of speakers to address sustainability issues regarding perennial plants, with landscape aesthetics in mind. Speakers will cover topics such as native plants, heat- and drought-tolerant plant selections, landscape restoration, organic versus sustainable plant production for growers, an update on rose rosette disease, and using plants with a purpose.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from each presentation.
“Plants with Style” By Kelly Norris, Author and Director of Horticulture, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Gardeners need chic, sustainable, thriving plants for modern lifestyles. Why settle for lackluster gardens filled with dull, ho-hum plants? Plants, after all, are the very essence of fashionable gardening. In this spirited lecture, Norris calls for a garden revolution: Out with boring plants and in with stylish alternatives that captivate and enthrall. A passionate horticulturist and lifelong gardener, Norris is the ideal guide to the botanical riches available to today’s gardeners. In chapters on environment, structure, seasonal standouts, and plant combinations, he shines a spotlight on the A-list plants in every category — plants that will thrive, not merely survive. Along the way, he shows you how to forge a personal style in harmony with your garden’s setting and local environment.
“Organic Versus Sustainable Plant Production” By Lloyd Traven, Owner, Peace Tree Farm
Sustainable. Organic. Certified Organic. Naturally-Grown. MPS. Veriflora. GAP-Certified. GMO-Free. Local. Fair Trade. There are so many names, so many initials, but do they actually mean something? Some really do, and some are just “feel-good,” but how do you know the difference, and how do you convey the reality to the consumer? Sustainable and certified organic both have meaning as well as great real value, but are often in direct opposition to each other. It is important to decide what you need and what your customer really wants. There are real-world techniques for growers and retailers, concentrating on propagation and potted perennial production. Traven will cover insect pests, while focusing on sanitation, disease complexes, and thwarting them without harsh chemicals. There are also practices you can use to show your customers, retail or wholesale, that you care about them, the planet, and the future.
“Moving Beyond Pretty: Plants with Bonus Points” By Susan Martin, Owner Of Gardner Sue’s News
When plant catalogs begin to arrive, our eyes are filled with botanical eye candy of every color, shape, and size. The challenge is to look beyond the pretty flowers and actively seek out perennial plants that deliver more. As you begin to see plants from a new perspective, consider developing new ways of marketing and merchandising them according to the benefits they offer, not just their pretty colors.
“Rose Rosette Disease Update’ By Dr. Kevin Ong, Associate Professor & Extension Plant Pathologist, Texas A&M University
What do we really know about rose rosette disease? There is much information that is circulated, and various treatment suggestions are claimed as effective. But what do we really know about this disease? Ong will explore historical scientific data to see what was said and proven previously, and how this information forms the basis of current work and progress on this disease, the pathogen, and vector that transmit the pathogen. An update of current research in rose rosette will be shared.
“Native Plants for Southern Landscapes” By Andrea DeLong-Amaya, Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Are you interested in saving water, reducing pesticide and fertilizer use, and improving the wildlife habitat on your property but don’t want a “zeroscape”? Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX, will introduce you to high-performing southern native perennial plants suitable for various home landscape situations to help you achieve your landscape goals. Understanding ideal growing conditions, best maintenance techniques for each species, and where to look for more gardening guidance is critical for success and will also be discussed in this presentation.
Finally, don’t miss your chance to tour the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens’ trial gardens with Jenny Wegley, Director of Horticulture.