Archive for the ‘Educational events’ Category


Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The Landscape Show’s motif for 2012 was “Where You Are the Star”, and we took the theme very literally. If the customers are the stars, we reasoned, then why not give them the Hollywood star treatment? We set up our display with giant Oscars, lights, a red carpet with velvet ropes, gold drapes and, of course, a horde of Paparazzi to photograph our arriving guests. We were the paparazzi with cameras slung around our necks, but we were nice paparazzi from the golden age of Hollywood, not the pushy obnoxious version of today. In the back of our booth was a huge sign reading “Grandiflorawood”, similar to the famous one you see up in the Hollywood Hills near the observatory. Of course, we stocked the booth with the most exotic and colorful plants that we had in the nursery, big leafy plants like elephant ears, bananas, gingers and ornamental grasses. Apparently the judges liked our booth, and we were pleasantly surprised when FNGLA President Wes Parrish came by later in the day to present us with the award for Best of Show Themed-Booth.


Monday, August 27th, 2012

“Like” Grandiflora and become our Facebook friend to see beautiful plant pictures and get landscaping ideas from our travels around the globe. Our latest uploads are pictures from a recent trip to Oregon and Northern California – Crater Lake, Redwood Forest and Oregon Dunes – including many different plant habitats, from mountain leas to forests to oceanside cliffs. Log in and help me identify all the beautiful mystery flowers that I photographed. Most helpful collaborator gets a prize!

Perennial Plant Association Meeting in Portland Oregon this Month

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Ellen and I are eagerly looking forward to traveling to Portland OR next week for the Perennial Plant Association’s annual symposium. This is one of the best educational events we attend each year. Besides listening to interesting and timely programs presented by top authorities in perennial plant production, landscaping, and care, we get to see amazing botanical and private gardens as well as retail and wholesale nurseries that specialize in perennials. And of course, we have delicious meals, enjoy wonderful comradery, and have other fun adventures (like partying on a boat on July 4th anchored in the East River of NYC as fireworks exploded overhead, and then passing by the Statue of Liberty on the way back to port).

In the last few years, El and I have been to fantastic PPA meetings in St. Louis MO, Philadelphia PA, and New York City. St. Louis was memorable for tours of the Arch, Busch Brewery, and Missouri Botanical Garden, walks in the public gardens downtown, a river boat dining/dancing cruise on the Mississippi, and eating Ted Drewes frozen custard.  The Philadelphia trip had us at Swarthmore’s Arboretum in the morning, Chanticleer’s quirky garden at mid-day, and eating dinner at the conservatory of Longwood Garden that night. They really keep you hopping on PPA tours! In New York, we were surprised by the many perennial gardens at Battery Park, Central Park and scattered in pockets around the city, and the New York Botanical Garden blew our socks off.

On this year’s schedule are trips to Monrovia’s Oregon location and Terra Nova. We can’t wait to see what Heuchera-breeder Extraordinaire Dan Heims and our hosts at Monrovia have in store for us! Wouldn’t be surprised by an elegant dinner followed by a concert with a rock band and Dan playing the harmonica.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time.

(Longwood Gardens Water Lily Pond)


Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The International Plant Producers Society Annual Meeting is the single most important educational event that a grower can attend.

Note the new name. We are no longer the International Plant Propagators. This decision was made by the International Board of Directors after discovering that only 25% of papers presented each year related to propagation. The other 75% included talks on every other conceivable grower concern – soil mixes, pest and disease eradication, new chemicals, trademarks and patenting, labor issues, plant introductions, mechanization, and so on.

This year’s IPPS Southern Region Symposium took place October 23-28 in Biloxi MS at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, so between tours, seminars, and networking, participants could sneak away to gamble, visit the spa or watch football games in the lounge. I managed to see the Gators squeak by Mississippi State and also lost a few bucks at the Blackjack table.

Margie Jenkins on tour

Margie Jenkins on tour

We visited some amazing nurseries in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana in three seperate days of bus tours. Especially nice large operations were Kinney’s, Green Forest, Flowerwood, Bracy’s, Windmill and Buddy Martin’s. The other growers like Dodd and Dodd, Coach’s Cedar Creek Farm,Van Der Giesen’s, and Jenkin’s Farm and Nursery generally had less inventory and land, but were more specialized. Each day we enjoyed terrific food reflecting the cuisine of the area – gumbo, crawfish etouffe, fried catfish, oysters, shrimp and hush puppies were plentiful.

The seminars were very timely with a great line-up of speakers including legendary educators Dr. David Creech, Dr. Mike Dirr, Dr. Carl Whitcomb, Dr. Richard Beeson, and Dr. Gary Bachman. Other papers were presented by well-known nurserymen like Ted Stephens, Eelco Tinga, Buddy Lee, and Dennis Neimeyer. The infamous Question Box was thought-provoking and entertaining with Charlie Parkerson providing controversy as always. After the banquet, Dirr and Creech were guest auctioneers at the annual fund-raising auction, encouraging members to spend hundreds of dollars for plants worth a fraction of their selling price, but all for a worthy cause.

Patricia Knight and Hiram Baldwin

Patricia Knight and Hiram Baldwin

Next year’s meeting will be October 10-13 in Raleigh NC with Tony Avent as site chairman. There are some great tours planned, including visits to the Sarah Duke Gardens, JC Raulston Arboretum, Hoffman Nursery, Pender’s, Swift Creek, Plant Works, and Avent’s Plant Delights. To get more information about IPPS membership, visit .