Thursday Agenda

August 2

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

Thursday – Darwin Perennial Tour

J&B Herb & Plant Farm Inc was founded in 1994 by John Wrenn and Burton Edwards. From generations past our farmland has been passed down through the Wrenn family.

Starting with one greenhouse in 1994, "J & B" now has 25 greenhouses and primarily does contract growing. They are a southeastern grower for Whole Foods producing herb and vegetable plants and grow plants for 200+ independently owned gardens centers, including Southern States, and Ace Hardware stores, using rice hull pots which are biodegradable. J&B Farms also participate in herb festivals in 3 states. They grow approximately 8500 10" Belgian mums which will go to Meadows Farm garden centers in Virginia, Whole Foods and other independent garden centers.

In 2007, J&B Farms began organic farming and became certified organic in 2008 growing heirloom spring and fall vegetable plants, herbs and lettuces, as well as perennials.

Sarah & Michael’s Farm in Durham specializes in lily bouquets, growing year-round and harvesting six days a week. They plant about 5400 bulbs a day during the spring. The lilies grow in crates in greenhouses with controlled heat, air flow, and humidity. No spray is needed for pests or disease. In the summer, Michael selects lily varieties that do better in heat. He grows both Asiatic lilies (more brightly colored) and Oriental lilies (more perfumed smell). Managing the farm is a huge task: staff plant extra bulbs for holidays like Mother’s Day two months in advance and place bulb orders over a year in advance.

Sarah & Michaels’ lily-growing process is environmentally conscious. Used crates are steamed to protect against disease and weeds. The steamed soil is then sifted to remove old bulbs and leaves, which go to the compost pile. Processed soil is reused. The soil is actually “coir”—ground coconut husk. The coir comes from Sri Lanka, which is farther than peat moss would travel, but it is a renewable resource, it works better, and it can handle repeated growing and steaming. The lilies grow in the same crates that the bulbs ship in. Bulbs are only used once because it’s more economical to buy new bulbs. Also, after flowering, bulbs work at reproducing, so the second flowers might be smaller.

Once planted with bulbs, crates sit in a cold room for three-and-a-half weeks to stimulate the lily roots to grow. In the greenhouses, rows of crates demonstrate all stages of growth: un-sprouted bulbs, short green plants, tall plants with buds soon to open, the stubble of harvested stalks. With careful planning and attention, Michael keeps a steady supply of lilies coming from Sarah & Michael’s Farm.

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Thursday – AG3 Tour

The North Carolina Museum of Art is unique, as a major art museum located within 164 acres of green space. NCMA has become a national leader in the current revolution in museum audience engagement, extroverting beyond the walls and traditional modes of community participation.

The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park functions as a literal and figurative bridge to our community: an accessible means to encounter art, through recreational and social pastimes. By extending the Museum and its programs to a more diverse community, the Park helps reverse perceptions that museums are not for everyone. The Museum Park expands the Museum’s mission to include management of an attractive landscape that complements the Collection and offers programs that help sustain and expand future memberships and public participation.

To unify the campus and create a more visible connection to the street front, a former prison site (Polk Youth Detention Center) was transformed into an attractive cultural campus. This park expansion includes new tree-lined parking, contemporary Wave and Parterre gardens, a Promenade walk connecting Park and galleries, innovative stormwater management devices, and the Ellipse—a spectacular lawn overlooking the Park’s rolling meadow. The Museum also has installed significant sculptures by Mark di Suvero and Hank Willis Thomas in the new gardens, with others to follow.

The Museum Park currently draws more than 150,000 annual visits, and we anticipate welcoming many more art, nature, and recreation enthusiasts.

Sassafras All Children’s Playground at Laurel Hills Park is seven years in the making and designed to be a place where children of all abilities can play side by side. The playground stretches out across 3.5 acres, making it the biggest in the city of Raleigh. It is planted with thousands of perennials intended to give children a variety of textures, smells, and hiding places.

The Raleigh Convention center opened its doors in September 2008 and is a modern 500,000-square foot LEED silver certified facility that is used to hold Trade shows, Conventions and conferences. In 2015, the director of the property approached the Raleigh Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources department to create a new landscape for one of the rooftop beds located in the front of the building. They were looking for a bed filled with annuals and that had a real colorful display. This was an exciting time for the Parks Department and a challenge that they were ready to take on. They presented a plan that was totally different than anyone has seen in Downtown Raleigh before.

The city came up with a design that included a dry river bed coupled with Perennials and an assortment of grasses. They wanted to show that they could have a sustainable landscape with year-round interest filled with color and do it with Perennials, on top of that we were going to eliminate the irrigation. The design and it was a complete success and it turned out so good that they were asked to do two other beds in the front of the building. Within the next two years another dry river bed was created, this one with a small water feature and a large meadow looking bed filled with hundreds of Perennials. These beds are truly unique to Downtown Raleigh and really give Raleigh’s citizens and visitors a feeling of being in a meadow or sitting by a dried-up river bed right in the mists of an urban environment. It is truly a relaxing way to spend your lunch or just take a break from your busy schedule.

Sponsored by:    


Thursday – Walters Gardens Tour

Atlantic Gardening Company was established in the 80s and was recently purchased by Gary Prevost. It includes not only a unique retail space where customers find a wide range of perennials, annuals, edibles and woodies, but also a great selection of orchids and succulents. In addition to their retail space, they offer a variety of seminars and workshops to share their knowledge and experience, as well as different landscape and container services. During this tour stop you will learn about their mission statement and their methods for setting them apart from other garden centers; for example, they serve beer inside their garden center for browsing customers.

Homewood is a classic grower/retailer independent garden center that has been in business for over 50 years. The facility lies on 33 acres in north Raleigh and has 85,000 square feet of production greenhouses, a 1 acre growing field, and over 110,000 square feet of retail space. In addition to growing many of its own annuals and bedding plants, Homewood also grows a selection of perennials, and over 25,000 poinsettias for the holiday season.

The retail area includes an outdoor area for selling hardy plants, a retail greenhouse, an atrium where garden supplies are sold, and a gift shop. One of the unique features of Homewood is its layout and the relaxing, park-like setting under the pines for the hardy outdoor plants department (aka the Nursery Dept.) which also includes space for selling fast-moving seasonal color plants and hanging baskets.

Sponsored by:   


Thursday – Saunders Brothers Tour

Niche Gardens is a mail-order and retail nursery. They specialize in nursery-propagated wildflowers and natives, perennials, ornamental grasses and some unusual trees and shrubs. Their display gardens include sun and shade areas, wet and dry beds, a bog, a traditional medicine wheel bed, and a native meadow area among others, which are designed for your pleasure, learning and fun! The gardens are aesthetically pleasing, while also providing a habitat for birds, butterfly and other wildlife. Niche Gardens takes pride in the fact that the plants in our gardens and nursery are pesticide free.
*Please note: Plan to arrive by 7:30 a.m. to drive to the location. 

The Unique Plant was founded in 1997 by Joann Currier on a beautiful four acre horse farm outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Over 20 years they built a thriving specialty nursery and created a magical garden that combines great design with plant diversity. Their mission has always been to inspire and educate so we can all enjoy successful gardens.

Please visit the Unique Plant's website!


Sponsored by:   


Afternoon Sessions

Networking Lunch & Trade Show

Lunch will be served on the trade show floor, giving everyone more time to mingle and visit with exhibitors.
Dorothea Dix Park

Kate Pearce, Senior Planner, Dorothea Dix Park

Nearly two decades in the making, Dorothea Dix Park, is charting a path to become America’s next great urban park. This presentation will focus on the park’s evolution (its history and legacy) and the master plan process currently underway.

Kate Pearce is the Senior Planner for Dorothea Dix Park for the City of Raleigh. As the project manager she is responsible for the stewardship, use and future planning of the park. Prior to joining the City she worked as both an urban planning and business management consultant. Her consultant work took her across the country and around the globe. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a MBA from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kate is Texsippian-- Part Texan, part Mississippian but now calls Raleigh home!

PPA 2019 Prospective

Site Chair of PPA

Green Trends in Landscape Architecture: The Increasing Diversity of Plants In Public and Private Projects

Richard Hartlage, Founding Principal and CEO, Land Morphology

Richard’s presentation will be an overview of trends in planting design by the most accomplished landscape architects, garden designers and public garden professionals in the United States. Based on the book, The Authentic Garden, his lecture will explore the meadow and matrix planting styles prevalent in Germany, The Netherlands, England and Belgium since World War I. These styles are emerging as a significant component of contemporary American landscape architecture. Project examples will be private estate and gardens as well as public projects, such as Citygarden in St. Louis, Chihuly Gardens and Glass in Seattle, The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Tongva Park in Santa Monica and others prominent examples of this trend. This lecture will be presented with stunning and inspirational images, and will include practical information for the professional.

Richard is the founding principal and CEO of Land Morphology. His award-winning, innovative designs are renowned as emotive, immersive spaces that incorporate sophisticated horticulture, artful detailing, and historical knowledge that heighten the human experience of the natural world. His passion for horticulture, cultivated over 15 years working in public gardens and estates, is applied to each design from the conceptual phase through development of maintenance protocol and beyond. Richard has given over 350 lectures worldwide, has written over 80 articles on gardening and landscape design for national and international publications, and serves on many advisory committees and design juries. He has contributed to six books on horticulture and landscape architecture, including The Authentic Garden, A Field Guide to Chihuly Gardens and Glass, Bold Visions for the Garden, Coleus, Pots, and Plant Life. He is currently working on his next book, which is about sustainable strategies in estates and residential gardens.


Janet Draper, President, PPA

Thursday Dinner

Join us Thursday night for dinner at Sarah P. Duke Gardens! Carefully crafted garden tableaus and outstanding plant collections await visitors to this world-class public garden. Curated by talented horticulturists and designers, this North Carolina gem will have you wishing for more.

More than 300,000 visitors from all over the world visit Sarah P. Duke Gardens annually, enjoying its 55 acres of specialized gardens in the heart of Duke University. The gardens are divided into four areas, the Historic Core and Terraces, the H.L Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, the William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum and the Doris Duke Center Gardens. Duke Gardens living collections promote knowledge of the vital connections between people and plants, fostering an appreciation of the natural world, environmental awareness and sustainable practices. It is an indispensable and lasting feature of life at Duke University, accessible to all, providing outreach and respite to a diverse and vibrant local community and visitors from around the world.

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Daily Agenda

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