Perennial Plant Symposium Focuses on Green Infrastructure
“I am 100% planning on staying updated on the PPA, joining, and attending as many events as possible. What a supportive, innovative, and enriching environment. I’m hooked!”
This is how Kayla Goldstein, a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, describes attending her first Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium, an event that drew perennial growers, breeders, and marketers to Raleigh, NC, in early August. Goldstein was one of this year’s PPA Scholarship winners, and says her experience attending the symposium was “one of the more formative opportunities I’ve had in my young adulthood.”
Shannon Currey, Marketing Manager at Hoffman Nursery in Rougemont, NC, was one of the organizers of this year’s PPA Symposium, and she says the intent in planning the program this year was to focus on applications for perennials.
“We wanted to encourage discussions on green infrastructure and how perennials can be a part of that,” Currey says. “We had talks on plants for storm-water, and how people use perennials in the landscape.
In addition, there was also an emphasis on drought issues and climate changes, as well as meeting future demand and trying to understand which plants work best for each region of the country.
Here’s what some of the other attendees had to say about this year’s symposium.
• “I am the Central Garden Horticulturist at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. As a display horticulturist, I am always on the hunt for new plants coming on the market. It was great to be able to go to gardens and growing operations that are trialing new introductions and testing new planting methods to extend a hardiness zone. Along with getting to visit, you get to converse with the staff and learn from their trials and experiences. I came back to Virginia with a few new plant selections I am excited to try in Zone 7b.” — Dean Dietrich
• “It was interesting to hear from the perennial breeders about what traits and characteristics they are specifically breeding for in response to trends in the industry and the gardening public. Also, it was helpful to observe how various perennials responded and grew in a different geographical region. Since North Carolina is a warmer climate than where our nursery is located, I got to see first-hand which perennials thrived and which did not do as well with the more intense heat.” — Lisa Strovinsky, Pleasant Run Nursery, Allentown, NJ
• “I learned there are way more Carex varieties and uses than I knew about.” — Sarah Gibbs, Krueger Maddux Greenhouses, Sunman, IN
• “After visiting Hoffman Nurseries (a tour stop on this year’s PPA tour), I was inspired by not only how clean and professionally managed the facilities were, but how great its company culture was. The employees were happy and hardworking, and there were several comments about how Hoffman Nurseries must be a great place to work. The Mangaves at Plant Delights Nursery and the JC Arboretum looked super cool. Succulents are still trending, and the Mad About Mangave collection is truly different and unique compared to other succulents on the market.” — Christa Steenwyk, Walters Gardens, Zeeland, MI
The 2019 National Perennial Plant Symposium takes place in Chicago.