Tuesday Agenda

July 31

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

Morning Sessions


Janet Draper, President, PPA
Designing with Plants the Great Dixter Way

Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener, Great Dixter

Fergus will talk about how plants can be used to create atmosphere and where one can be a companion to another. He will focus on the Great Dixter way of combining plants using color, shape, texture, repetition and balance. The aim is to bring the audience closer to designing their borders and associating plants with ease.

Appointed in 1993 as Head Gardener of Great Dixter by Christopher Lloyd, Fergus continues to keep the garden constantly changing throughout the season by trying out new plants and plant-combinations. Fergus believes in passing his knowledge through national and international student- and volunteer programs at Dixter and through worldwide lectures he gives every year. Fergus is keen on plant communities in the wild and especially plants native to Turkey. Among other honors, Fergus was given the Royal Horticultural Society Associate of Honour in 2008 and in 2015, the Veitch Memorial Medal for outstanding contribution to the practice of horticulture.

Beyond tobaccy: horticultural roots in North Cackalacky

Richard Olsen

A whirlwind introduction and welcome to the Old North State and its horticultural character. A colonial crossroad with enduring legacies, North Carolina has produced its share of horticultural landmarks and personas that have and continue to influence American gardens. This tradition continues with no sign of stopping, with numerous industry leaders and commercial enterprises, cutting-edge research and academics, and impeccable public gardens showcasing the best of horticulture and gardening.

Dr. Olsen has a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape design (NC State University), a master degree in horticulture (University of Georgia) and a doctorate in horticultural science (NC State University). He joined the USDA-ARS in 2006 as a research geneticist for the urban tree breeding program at the FNPRU. He reinvigorated the USNA’s urban tree program and developed new woody ornamental breeding projects utilizing genetic tools such as ploidy manipulation and interspecific and intergeneric breeding strategies. His research has focused on the development of superior landscape trees with pest and disease resistances combined with non-invasiveness.

Dr. Olsen provided scientific leadership for the USNA germplasm program that led to unifying collection and curation efforts within the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository and subsequent germplasm characterization in the program. He is a recognized international leader in the public garden arena, providing his scientific expertise and practical knowledge to multiple national and international arboreta, urban forestry groups, and professional associations.
Awards & Recognition

Janet Draper, President, PPA

New Plant Forum

Experience the cutting edge in perennial plants when you attend this showcase of new plants. Breeders and plant dealers from around the world present their best and brightest to the industry. Hear what they have to offer, discuss with colleagues, and give your perennial lineup a boost!
Networking Lunch & Trade Show

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

Afternoon Session

Year Five on Day One: Growing the Amazon Spheres

Ron Gagliardo, Sr. Manager, Horticultural Services, Amazon.com LLC

In January 2018, Amazon opened The Spheres, a new take on the office environment that embraces biophilic design and takes it to the next level. The Spheres are a result of innovative thinking about the character of the workplace and an extended conversation about what is typically missing from the urban office environment- a direct link to nature. We created a space that is comfortable for people with a unique and meaningful plant collection that inspires curiosity and conservation.

This presentation covers the philosophy behind the building, technological advances and of course, a diverse plant collection from around the world.

Ron spent his early years growing up near the Everglades National Park in south Florida, where he developed what has become a lifelong passion and interest in natural history. He trained as a botanist and chemist and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Botany from North Carolina State University. In 1993, Ron joined the Atlanta Botanical Garden where he worked until 2008 developing the Garden’s tropical plant collections as Curator and managing the Garden’s Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory. In 2001, Ron began to put the techniques of captive propagation to use in developing an active amphibian conservation program at the Garden. This program included components of fundraising, education, captive breeding research and support of range country partners in Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru. In 2008, Ron joined the Amphibian Ark team to continue this work in conservation of threatened amphibians through training and capacity building programs literally all over the world.

Missing plants and horticulture, Ron happily became an early consultant for Amazon on The Spheres project in 2013 and in early 2014, became the company’s first official horticulturist. Along with The Spheres, Ron oversees all other aspects of Amazon horticulture and corporate landscapes. With a small, but talented team of horticulturists, he has built a meaningful and diverse collection of plants from around the world for display in The Spheres which opened in early 2018. Ron’s primary goal for The Spheres is connecting people with nature with an amazing “Year Five on Day One” horticultural experience.

Concurrent Afternoon Sessions


Sponsored by:



Creek Hill Nursery Session

Join two noted plantsmen as they expand our perennial palette—garden-worthy perennials from Iran and better perennial breeding with a gardener’s perspective.

Elburz and Damavand…Iran into Some Amazing Persian Perennials

Christian Kress, Founder, Sarastro-Stauden Nursery

A country in the Middle East with the most welcoming people, is home to an extremely diverse flora within a unique, varied landscape. In all deserts and semi-deserts of the Iranian highlands, including its salt lakes, one can find a surprising palate of impressive herbaceous perennials. The most impressive areas are the Alborz Mountains as well as the area around the Damavand volcano and the Zagros – mountains. One can find great highlights of the Middle Eastern flora in these areas.

Other unique landscapes and perennials can be found in the forests around the Caspian Sea, where many woody plants in situ call home. Many of these plants are found in European woody propagation. A lot of Iranian perennials are very garden worthy in for Europe and North America and are already being propagated in those areas. Others perennials are rare beauties to be grown only by the most seasoned gardeners. In this talk Christian Kress shows the amazing and unique flora of different parts of Iran as well as fantastic combinations that he has found in nature that can be found in today’s garden design.

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.
A Gardeners Perspective on Breeding Better Perennials

Hans Hansen, Director of New Plant Development, Walters Gardens North Americas

Hans’ presentation is a unique combination of using traditional plant breeding methods and germplasm from the gardener’s view.

Hans’ passion for perennials and gardening began at a very young age. Born and raised on a dairy farm in southwestern Minnesota his memory doesn’t go back far enough to remember a time when he wasn’t out in the garden working with plants. Perennials have always been the focus of his passion, and he has had a lifelong affiliation with peonies, iris, lilies and baptisia. After graduating from the U of MN he was the Director of R & D at Shady Oaks Nursery and managed the tissue culture lab for 15 years. Since 2009 he has worked as Director of New Plant Development at Walters Gardens, North Americas leading wholesale grower of perennials. He has worked extensively with many North American native plants including baptisia (Decadence Series), hibiscus, phlox, monarda, heuchera, as well as exotic genera (hosta, kniphofia, and achillea).

Rijnbeek and Son Session

Follow two experts in their creation of perennial-based landscapes with inherent ecological value—pollinator habitat based on sound science and a Southeastern prairie bringing a forgotten landscape to life.

The Art and Science Behind Creating Successful Pollinator Habitats

Anne Spafford, MLA, Associate Professor of Landscape Design, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University

There has been a great deal of scientific and public concern over the last few decades because bee populations have been in decline. Given our dependence on pollinators for crop production, reduced honeybee and other pollinator populations pose a serious threat to agriculture and the ecological health of our natural environment. The good news is that residential gardens, in aggregate, can play a huge role in providing much needed habitat, food and water supplies, and nesting places for pollinators. No garden is too small to make a difference. With over 40 million acres of lawn in the Unites States alone, there is ample opportunity to make room for pollinator habitat.

While there is much concern for the plight of pollinators, many gardeners are unaware or unsure how they can help. There is, in fact, a wide variety of information available if one chooses to go looking: various sources both online and in print provide vast amounts of information—however, it can be confusing. Either the information is presented badly, or in many cases, it is not based on scientific evidence. Some of the information is misleading or flat out incorrect.

In Anne’s presentation, she hopes to change the tide of misinformation and inspire great gardens everywhere. Latest scientific findings, plus readily accessible and applicable landscape design guidelines will be shared that enable gardeners and pollinator-enthusiasts to tackle their home and community gardens through strategies that will help them implement practical on-the-ground actions with an eye towards pollinator protection.

Anne has been teaching for 20 years and won many teaching awards, including being inducted into NC State University’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers, and Teacher of the Year when she taught in the School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University.

Anne co-authored an award winning book, Rain Gardening in the South: Ecologically Designed Gardens for Drought, Deluge, and Everything In Between (c. 2009 Eno Publishers; Hillsborough, NC). This book was the first of its kind, one of the first books of the publisher, and the first book for her and her co-author. They wrote it in just five months—adhering to a strict writing schedule (and copious amounts of coffee). Despite these “firsts,” the book received the prestigious Gold Medal Award for Best Technical Book from the Garden Writer’s Association and the Benjamin Franklin Award from Independent Publishers.

She is currently working on another book about creating pollinator habitat (co-authored with Dr. Danesha Seth Carley) and will be published by UNC Press in winter 2019.
Notes from a South Eastern Prairie – The Design and Creation of a Vanishing Landscape

Annabel Renwick, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

It’s extraordinary to consider that three hundred years ago the terrain surrounding what is now Raleigh would have been open grassland supporting a myriad of wild flowers, grasses and associated wild-life. The ‘Piedmont Prairie’ in the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants at Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a one acre rendition of native grassland created with 20,000 individual wild flowers and grasses, close to 100 species and all grown from locally collected seed. Annabel’s presentation will not only cover the creation and development of this project but will also focus on the outpouring of interest in this native landscape.

Annabel is from Durham England, she received her PhD from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth studying grassland communities. She went on to work as a plant research scientist at several universities as well as industry in Britain, France and Germany. Prior to coming to North Carolina Annabel turned to her passion for gardening and trained as a garden designer at ‘The English Garden School’ in Chelsea, London. The intersection of grassland communities, design of landscapes and ecological research has culminated in the design and development of Sarah P Duke Garden’s rendition of a Piedmont Prairie Annabel’s main achievement since becoming the horticulturalist in the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants in 2012.

Hoffman Nursery Session

An inside look for perennial specialists —plants that work in green infrastructure and using biologicals in the greenhouse.

Green Infrastructure at the site level : Plants that Work

Ann English, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C, Program Manager, RainScapes Program in the Watershed Management Division of the Montgomery County, MD Department of Environmental Protection

Successful Green Infrastructure needs plants that work. ESD practices (rain gardens, green roofs, dry wells, permeable pavements, etc) create a matrix over the land that supports what is now called Green Infrastructure. This is a new area of design, installation and maintenance for plant specialists to focus on.

In her current role, Ann developed a RainScapes/ Green Infrastructure training program beginning in 2009 for professionals that has been well attended and used as a model for other jurisdictions and colleges interested in offering such training. She served on the technical review committees for SITES, CBLP and NGICP, developed the permeable pavement training module for CBLP and taught the NGICP certification course when it was offered in 2017 in Montgomery County, MD.

Her career spans private, non-profit and governmental sectors as well as several years teaching at two universities, with focus on plants, designing with plants and how they perform in the environments in which they are planted. She earned her BA in American History from U. Penn, a Master’s of Regional Planning from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia.

Using Biologicals for Pest Control in the Greenhouse

Michael Turner

With increasing regulations and restrictions on the use of chemicals in the greenhouse, “bios” have become the hot topic in pest control. Michael will discuss his experience of using biologicals to control aphids in the greenhouse.

Begun in 1997 as a seasonal out-door cut flower farm, Sarah & Michael’s Farm LLC has grown into one of the largest cut flower lily growers on the East Coast. Specializing in Asiatic and Oriental lily production, they sell throughout the Southeast with production year round in their greenhouses.

Tuesday Dinner

Join us Tuesday night for plant shopping, tours, and dinner at Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Gardens! Experience the wild and wonderful plant world Tony Avent and his team have created and purchase plants to take home with you. Tour the nursery and savor a tasty Italian dinner in this plant-lovers’ paradise.

This location is an award winning online nursery in Raleigh, NC near Garner. They specialize in rare, and unusual perennials for sale and strive to carry a wide selection of exotic plants, cold hardy tropical plants, native plants, and the best selection of new plants online. At any time, they have over 1700 online nursery plants for sale. Many of their best perennials are available nowhere else in the US as they represent rare plants collected by Plant Delights founder Tony Avent during his more than 60 plant hunting expeditions to places like China, Crete, Taiwan, South Africa and Argentina or distributed by some of the many specialty plant organizations of which Plant Delights is a member. Plant Delights grows all of their perennial plants in greenhouses at their Raleigh, NC garden nursery and customers can buy the best perennials online through their website and via their printed plant catalog. They specialize in growing and selling perennial garden plants, and have a wide selection of flowering perennials in all colors, plus foliage plants, ferns, and ornamental grasses. They periodically open up their beautiful garden nursery to the public for retail sales events, classes, photography workshops, and guided tours. They also host private groups like schools, plant societies, garden clubs, botanical societies, arboreta, and plant nurseries by appointment. Proceeds from sales at Plant Delights Nursery support the Juniper Level Botanic Gardens, a six-acre garden with extensive research programs that grows over 18,000 different plants...exotic plants, native plants, unique plants...all types of outdoor plants.

Daily Agenda

| Monday Plant Talks | Monday Tours |

| Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday Tours |