Monday Agenda – Plant Talks

July 30

Immerse yourself in the perennial world by spending the day with experts. Learn how the renowned Mt. Cuba Center evaluates native perennials. Dive deep into ferns and Phlox. Add to your perennial repertoire with Carolina natives and drought-resistant selections. Discover all the wonders this day has to offer. Open to the general public and industry professionals. 

NOTE: Click the plus sign next to each item below to view more information.

 

Welcome

PPA Representative

You Ain't Just Whistling Dixie - Great Carolinas Native Plants for the Garden

Patrick McMillan

Patrick is the Emmy Award-winning host, co-creator and writer of the popular ETV nature program Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. For over 20 years, Patrick has worked as a professional naturalist, biologist and educator. His range of experience has concentrated on botany, though he is also well-respected through his work in ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy. Patrick is a professional naturalist, the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, where his is also a faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, the director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest and an honorary member of the Clemson University Class of 1939.

Patrick received his BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his PhD in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. His research has been featured in both National Wildlife and South Carolina Wildlife magazines, as well as in numerous articles in The State, the Greenville News and other local and regional newspapers. In 2005, he was awarded the distinctions of Conservation Partner of the Year by the Partnership for the Blue Ridge, as well as Outstanding Classified Employee by Clemson University. He is a contributor to the book Life at the Water’s Edge, which won the 2005 Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award and has been selected to receive one of 10 South Carolina Notable State Document Awards for 2005.
The “Other” Irises, Garden Uses and Recent Advances

Kevin Vaughan

Tall bearded (TB) irises are the most common types of irises and the ones available through most commercial sources. Although these are lovely flowers, years of breeding has made them less suitable as easy garden plants than other types of irises.

In this talk, we will explore the variety of other types of irises, how they can be used in garden situations and some of the recent developments including the hybridizing program of the speaker. With proper choice of species, there is a type of iris suitable for almost every garden situation and involve groups that require much less maintenance than the tall bearded irises. Moreover, judicious choice of varieties can give essentially a full season with some type of iris blooming.

Kevin Vaughn has been hybridizing plants since he was 9 years old and is still at it at age 63. Irises were one of his first passions, including establishing the first Siberian iris test garden at age 14 and his first introduction of a Siberian iris hybrid at 18. After obtaining a PhD in botany and genetics from Miami of Ohio University, Kevin was a cell biologist with the USDA in MS and for 30 years hybridized Louisiana and spuria irises that were well-adapted to this region.

DeBaillon Medal winner ‘Red Velvet Elvis’ is one of the outstanding LA iris developed from this program and has proved to be one of the most popular LA iris ever introduced. Upon retirement in 2010, Kevin moved to the Iris Mecca of Oregon and has greatly expanded his iris breeding program in all directions with ~6,000 seedlings rowed out each year. Kevin co-authored the book The Louisiana Iris: Taming of a Native American Wildflower and authored Beardless Irises: A Plant for Every Garden Situation. Nothing with pollen is safe in Kevin’s garden and breeding projects include daffodils, hardy cyclamen, penstemons, hardy geraniums, pulmonaria, hosta, daylilies, and a major program with Sempervivum. Kevin has over200 varieties of plants on the market in many genera.

Native Plant Information at Your Fingertips

John Kartesz

Dr. Kartesz will present the latest programming capabilities of his Floristic Synthesis software and accompanying BONAP website. His presentation will illustrate how gardeners and other plant enthusiasts can use his applications to produce publication quality maps for nearly 30,000 unique plants found in North America. He will also demonstrate how his software can be used to differentiate various plant groups such as native vs. exotic species, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and biennials, plus nearly 1500 additional search queries, including what species grow within each of the various USDA heat and hardiness zones. By using his website, Dr. Kartesz will also show how it is possible to create tailor-made, floristic databases with photographs for plants growing anywhere within North America, for areas as small as a city lot, or as large as national forest or state flora. The data included for each database will be automatically updated annually and can be shared with friends and relatives.

Born in Western Pennsylvania, Dr. Kartesz was introduced early into the field of Natural History through his close association with the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Biology from West Virginia University, in 1987 Dr. Kartesz earned his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Nevada, Reno and thereafter accepted a position at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. In 1980, Dr. Kartesz published the first comprehensive Checklist of the United States, Canada and Greenland, which was updated and republished in 1994. In 1999, he published the Synthesis of the North American Flora, which was the first attempt to provide a state-level atlas and accompanying morphological database for the vascular plants of North America. In 2010, he published his county-level North American Plant Atlas for the vascular flora, and the first internet-based Flora of North America.

Phlox: Exciting New and Old Phloxes - Bred in Russia!

Christian Kress, Founder, Sarastro-Stauden Nursery

Over the past couple of decades Phlox paniculata cultivars have gained enormous popularity in Russia and have become the nation’s most popular flower. Therefore, lots of breeders put their focus on Phlox paniculata and have created hundreds of cultivars that differ quite a bit from cultivars bred in Europe and North America in color and form. One could compare the Russian breeding efforts of Phlox paniculata in Russia with Hemerocallis or Iris breeders in America. Not only are there numerous professional breeders, many backyard hobbyists cross Phlox species. Every year there are dozens of tradeshows in big cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg that focus on Phlox paniculata where all breeders come together to present their newest cultivars. Let yourself be enchanted by those mystical colors that are known as “smoked Phlox” in Russia

Christian H. Kress is a German nurseryman who started his own nursery, “Sarastro-Stauden,” in Upper Austria 20 years ago. His nursery is known all over Europe and focuses on rare perennials, mainly for plant enthusiasts from all over the world. Before this he gained experience in several nurseries across Europe and traveled through many countries to learn and observe the local conditions of many perennials. In addition to many well-regarded plant introductions–such as Sedum ‘Angelina’ and Campanula ‘Sarastro’–he also loves to write books, publish articles for well-known garden magazines, and give lectures throughout Europe and Russia.

Trials and Tribulations - The Perennial Evaluations of the Mt. Cuba Center

George Coombs

Mt. Cuba Center’s trial program has been evaluating native plants and their related cultivars for over a decade now. Join George Coombs as he discusses the new approach Mt. Cuba is taking to evaluate plants for both garden performance and ecological value. You will learn about several top-performing selections of Coreopsis, Baptisia, Monarda, and Phlox, including a few species and cultivars that are likely new to even the nerdiest of plant geeks.

George Coombs manages the horticultural research program at Mt. Cuba Center, including the trial garden where he evaluates native plants and their related cultivars for their horticultural and ecological value. To date, he has authored evaluation reports on Heuchera, Coreopsis, Baptisia, Monarda, and Phlox. In addition to the trials, George also evaluates plants for introduction to the nursery trade. Most recently, his work has helped bring to market four new selections of hardy Coreopsis. George is a graduate of the University of Delaware and prior to joining Mt. Cuba Center, he worked in the nursery industry at both the wholesale and retail level.
Bizarre Botanicals - The Quirky and Secret Life of Plants

Larry Mellichamp, retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture, former director of the Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Hey, perennial gardener: have you become too familiar with your everyday Erythroniums, routine Rudbeckias, and paltry Polygonatums? Do you seek some excitement in your horticultural pursuits that will reinvigorate your inquisitive intellect? Well, look no further. Join Dr. M in exploring the world of unusual, surprising, and downright bizarre plants. These are not freaks, distortions, nor sideshow monstrosities, but natural plants that simply have unusual structures, forms, or behaviors that take them into a realm beyond that of everyday plants.

Just as magicians, acrobats, and astronauts tickle our fancies with their extraordinary feats, bizarre plants show us that they can do amazing things as they navigate the twisted corridors of competition and cooperation in the microcosm of nature. Come along and get hit with a pie while you shop, experience a pitcher plant eating a moth, learn why bees buzz, wade in water up to your @$$ to see a prostrate pitcher plant, and feel the thrill of finding little flies dead in the throat of a jack-in-the-pulpit. Get ready to take a walk on the wild side and grow plants that will spice up your life with freaky displays of sex, death, and botanical wizardry.

Dr. Larry Mellichamp is recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture and was director of the Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Larry is a world traveler and expert on plants of all kinds, especially carnivorous plants. He has written several books, including Bizarre Botanicals (2010 with Paula Gross) and the recent Native Plants of the Southeast…the Best Species for the Garden (Timber Press, 2014). He has received several teaching and horticulture awards, and was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Tom Dodd, Jr. Plantsman Award of Excellence from the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. He lives with his family in Charlotte, NC where he gardens, typically killing more plants than not. His motto, not always appreciated by young students: you learn the most when you make mistakes.

With Fronds Like These, Who Needs Anemones - The Diverse World of Hardy Ferns

Judith Jones, Owner Fancy Fronds Nursery at the Fonderosa, WA

This presentation will provide a brief introduction to the Pteridophyte, aka the Fern, its terminology and life cycle. Judith will also define foliage conditions and environmental requirements of the fern as well as define the designation of "native." She will also focus on those ferns that are commercially available and how they work in the landscape, as well as little known ferns to seek out.

Judith grew up in Yuma, Ariz., in a family of doctors, which may be why scientific names come so effortlessly. Her early passions were music, literature and drama, but she began identifying birds and plants by their Latin names on childhood excursions with her mother, a life-long birder. By the late '70s, Judith was growing ferns for the Arboretum plant sales, unable to find commercial sources for the many different ones she wanted to sell. Her new profession was cemented with a trek to Sikkim in 1979 to collect ferns and a visit to England to meet growers. Judith lectures internationally for botanic gardens and plant societies, including Chicago Botanic Garden, Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver, B.C., the Imperial College in London, and Harvard.

Coping with Droughts by Growing Southwest Plants in the Southeast US

Patrick McMillan

Patrick is the Emmy Award-winning host, co-creator and writer of the popular ETV nature program Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. For over 20 years, Patrick has worked as a professional naturalist, biologist and educator. His range of experience has concentrated on botany, though he is also well-respected through his work in ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy. Patrick is a professional naturalist, the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, where his is also a faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, the director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest and an honorary member of the Clemson University Class of 1939.

Patrick received his BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his PhD in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. His research has been featured in both National Wildlife and South Carolina Wildlife magazines, as well as in numerous articles in The State, the Greenville News and other local and regional newspapers. In 2005, he was awarded the distinctions of Conservation Partner of the Year by the Partnership for the Blue Ridge, as well as Outstanding Classified Employee by Clemson University. He is a contributor to the book Life at the Water’s Edge, which won the 2005 Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award and has been selected to receive one of 10 South Carolina Notable State Document Awards for 2005.
Medicinal Perennials - Garden Cures and Business Opportunities

Lauri Lawson

Medicinal plants are often the gateways for gardening interest. People naturally want to grow the “useful herbs”, whether for cooking or curing ails. This talk will delve into the wealth of flora that fascinated the earliest European botanical explorers, as well as the traditional use by native Americans. Past that history, how can we as perennial growers captivate gardener’s interest in medicinal plants, and responsibly explain their use?  From echinacea to mint to goldenrod and beyond, these plants are gorgeous, and the knowledge of their use just adds to the desire of cultivating that dream garden. The current DIY trends are a means to bring in young beginning gardeners as well as urban community projects. You’ll leave with a terrific plant list, and newfound appreciation of how these easily grown plants fit into the horticultural.

Lauri Lawson is a horticulturist specializing in native plants, medicinal plants, and gardening for wildlife. She was raised by biologists, and immersed in the natural world from a young age. She spent fourteen years at premier native Plant nursery Niche Gardens as horticulturist and retail manager. In the course of that tenure she has answered just about every question gardeners have to ask, and became the go-to for people interested in growing medicinal herbs. She teaches classes at Duke Gardens, NC Botanical Garden and other venues. Currently Lauri is a Garden Supervisor at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh.
Speaker Social

Join us for an evening with the speakers from today's Plant and Business Talks! This relaxed format allows for attendees to meet and mingle with the day's presenters, ask any lingering questions you may have and even enjoy some light appetizers and beverages. Hope to see you there!


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