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Chicago Area Meeting Draws a Crowd

Nancy Tures, Matt Tures & Sons Nursery
It was yet another 90 degree day in Northern Illinois but that didn’t stop 50 people from Northern Illinois & Southern Wisconsin from attending the Midwestern Area IPPS meeting held on July 13, 2010 at Intrinsic Perennials in Hebron, IL. The morning session opened with Todd Jacobson from The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL speaking on the perennial plant committee he’s heading up called ‘Perennials in Focus’. He gave us a look into how & why plants are evaluated & what each committee member offers to the group. Their web site is a great resource for evaluation information that extends over several years and includes photos. The web address is www.perennialsinfocus.com. Check it out!
Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm gave a talk on “Know Maintenance”. He gave everybody a new way to look at landscape design. He spoke of rock gardens that should not require watering once established. Roy also offered up an idea of NOT MULCHING with woodchips/shredded mulch. Who could ever think such a thing let alone say it, BUT he did. Good for you Roy! His ideas sent us all home rethinking our approach to landscape design. Roy says, and I agree, that the best way to dress up a bed is to edge it!
Our host Brent Horvath, his wife, Teresa & staff made everybody feel welcome. Brent went through photos with explanations on over 70 Intrinsic Perennial introductions. He gave us an over view on what qualities he looks for in an introduction. We then got the opportunity to actually see the plants first hand in all their glory. Brent toured us through his different growing areas; sun, shade, moist & dry. We saw his potting machine in operation, the propagation greenhouse plus the evaluation gardens.
It was a great day of fun & education with donuts, drinks & lunch sponsored by the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois. Join us next time if you can!

Long Island Area Meeting Sizzles

Fifty-six attendees from seven states came to the east end of Long Island to attend the July 7th Area Meeting - a great turnout! It might have been hot that day but it didn’t keep the growers away. Attendees were divided into small groups to rotate among 6 different stations where industry professionals shared their expertise. Eastern Region IPPS President Mike Emmons welcomed the group in the morning and later commented that "the format worked great, allowing time for both gathering new information and asking questions in an open, informal atmosphere."

Cornell Cooperative Extension entomologist Dan Gilrein illustrated cottony maple scale which has been very prevalent on the western end of Long Island this year. He said that with the local wind patterns, it could end up to the east soon. He also had a great demonstration of different leaf feeding beetles that are destroying ornamental plants in local nurseries and landscapes. Dan displayed variegated pachysandra with euonymus scale and noted that propagating from new growth in the spring would prevent the problem from persisting in the new production cycle.
Cornell Plant Pathologist Margery Daughtrey came with many examples of diseases growers have been battling this year. She gave suggestions to control rust and black spot on roses - yes, even on Knockouts and many herbaceous perennials. Margery noted that black spot produces ethylene which actually creates yellowing of the leaves and forces them to drop. In light of this, she cautioned growers to check their soil fertilizer levels before re-fertilizing.
Joel Kroin, of Hortus USA, talked to the groups about rooting hormones and the history of their development. He stated that the application of water based rooting hormones to the foliage after sticking can also promote stronger, healthier roots. J oel was given a big round of applause over a barbecue lunch for the IPPS T-shirts each attendee received thanks to the generous sponsorship of Hortus USA.
Craig Wall, Harrell’s Fertilizers, gave a detailed presentation about the different fertilizers available to growers and how and when to use them. He reminded attendees to always monitor their growing media and check the pH as low pH or micronutrients might prevent them from fully utilizing their fertilizer.
Armando Suarez of Netafim provided a hands-on approach to different irrigation nozzles and drip emitters. He noted that irrigation needs depend on your greenhouse set-up and the types of plants being grown. Armando had the hottest location that day but could at least cool down by re-directing the nozzles!
Dan Jacques, of SunGro Horticulture, gave a demonstration of soilless media. He talked about soil aggregates and how the types of media to be utilized depend on the kinds of plants being grown and their stage of growth.

At the end of the day, people were free to tour the various trial gardens at Cornell’s Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center: the Annual Trial Garden, the Alternatives to Invasives Garden and the Perennial Trial Garden. Nora Catlin (Floriculture Specialist, CCE-Suffolk), Alexis Alvey (Nursery & Landscape Specialist, CCE-Suffolk), and Mark Bridgen (Cornell University LIHREC) were on hand to lead informal tours and answer questions. Thanks to Mark Bridgen, Gerarda Boger and Michelle Shepard for organizing this meeting.


Longwood Gardens Area Meeting Highlights

Sixty people enjoyed a day of talks, touring and socializing amidst the spectacular beauty of Longwood Gardens on February 18, 2010. Attendees from seven states, including ten students, managed to gather on a good travel day between a series of snowstorms that pounded the northeast this February. The meeting was held in the elegant Conservatory Ballroom surrounded by four acres of fabulous displays including the Orchid Extravaganza.

IPPS International President, Jim Johnson (left), of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, was on hand to welcome the group and introduce IPPS to those who were not members. Longwood Research Assistant Alan Petravich started the educational program by discussing Longwood Gardens 24-year Clivia breeding program, including past achievements (yellow and brick red Clivia) and future goals (accentuating 'keeling' petals which could lead to a double Clivia).

Matt Taylor, Longwood Research Horticulturist explained compost production and use at Longwood where the goal is to capture, compost, and re-use all of their discarded organic matter including all horticultural debris and food residuals (including the napkins, paper plates and cutlery used at the Terrace Cafe!) Longwood's composting program collects 8,000 cubic yards of discarded organic material from on-site and local contractors annually, re-incorporating the compost into the gardens.

Tony Aiello (right), Curator and Director of Horticulture at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, talked about Plant Collecting with a Purpose- Exploration in the 21st Century. The Morris Arboretum has built a reputation in plant exploration, with members of its staff traveling to China and other parts of the world where the climate most closely mirrors conditions found here.

Jim Harbage, Research and Production Leader at Longwood, spoke on how propagation can help when dealing with virused Canna plants. He explained how it is possible to use shoot-tip culture (micropropagation) to propagate virus-free plants. The use of meristem culture to recover virus-free material from virus infected stock is also being explored. He stated that these methods, in addition to better stock plant management and developing new cultivars from seed should help reduce the prevalence of virus-infected Cannas and restore consumer confidence in this great ornamental crop.

Rick Lewandowski, Director of the Mt. Cuba Center, spoke about tapping native plant diversity for the garden. Mt.Cuba Center is a 650-acre non-profit horticultural institution in northern Delaware that is dedicated to the study, conservation and appreciation of plants native to the Appalachian Piedmont Region. Rick discussed how the Mt.Cuba plant introduction program explores the potential value of under-appreciated and under-utilized native plants that can contribute to expanded diversity in the garden. Rick brought seedlings of Persea palustris (Swamp Bay) that were distributed to each attendee.

Bill Barnes, owner of Barnes Horticultural Services in Warrington, PA ended the morning program by presenting his views of what the nursery industry will look like in 25-50 years. He titled the presentation Fast Forward 25-50 Years: Great Expectations. A sampling of Bill's predictions: the nursery industry will see a shift from national markets to more regional markets; there will be an overall reduction in the number of available plant varieties and growers will move from b&b to container trees.

Dave Sanford and Tony Aiello (left) at lunch in the Conservatory, and then the group was led on a behind the scenes tour of the facilities at Longwood Gardens. The group toured the modern production greenhouses, the research trial plants greenhouse, and the compost facilities. There was time at the end of the day for people to explore Longwood on their own before heading home.

Thanks to Jim Harbage, Longwood Nursery Manager Naomi McCafferty and La Tanya Chance for their assistance in organizing this meeting!

Left to right: Jim Harbage, Matt Taylor, Rick Lewandowski, Bill Barnes, Tony Aiello, Alan Petravich and Naomi McCafferty in the Longwood Conservatory.


For more information, contact:

Margot Bridgen, Executive Secretary/Treasurer
IPPS Eastern Region, North America
1700 North Parish Drive
Southold, NY 11971
Phone: 631-765-9638
Fax: 631-765-9648
E-mail:
Margot Bridgen

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