Jan 26, 2011

"As many vowels
as a New York cab driver"

is how Tony Advent of Plants Delights Nursery
described Callirhoe involucrata v. tenuissima
and that was only the beginning.

Tony was the headliner at this year's Plant-O-Rama.  His opening remarks set the tone for the day:
"I consider every plant hardy,
until I kill it myself, at least three times."
(I am going for four times myself)

Owners of nurseries have a different way of talking about plants.  It's not just the new introductions, but the knowledge about a particular species gained through growing, tissue culture or grafting. Tony discussed the weaknesses of many Eichinaceas on the market and showed us some of the ones he likes:   Eichinacea 'Fatal Attraction,'  Eichinacea 'Hot Papaya' and Eichinacea 'Fragrant Angel,' the only Ecihinacea with a strong scent. 

Here are some selections from Plants Delights Nursery that interested me:
Phlox 'Minnie Pearl'
is mildew free.
Baptisia australis var. minor 
 only 1-2 ft. tall
Allium 'Millenium'
 doesnt self-seed.

And the list goes on and on.  After 108 slides and 108 new plants, I was ready for a break.  Tony Advent had done his job:  he was a plants person's delight.

Adam R. Wheeler was less entertainer, more plant fanatic.  He is the Plant Development Manager at Broken Arrow Nursery.  Concentrating on unusual trees and shrubs for the urban environment, Adam went through a host of new introductions (at least to me). 

Koelreuteria paniculata 'Coral Sun'
Small Tree with coral pink spring leaves.

Ginkgo biloba 'Markien'
  2-3 Ft. tall and still a Ginkgo


Rhus Coppalina 'Lanhams Purple'
Purple leaves in the Spring
turn brillant red in the Fall.

Bob Hyland of Loomis Creek Nursery delivered his swan song both to MetroHort and his nursery.  After 8 years in the business, he is moving to Portland, Oregon and selling his nursery.  His talk should have been called, "You Want To Buy A Nursery... Are You Crazy!"  Bob took us through all the steps, looking for a property, buying the property, making it into a nursery, experimenting with plant stock, changing the mix from mostly perennials to perennials, grasses, annuals, tropicals, and pottery. 
He asked the question:  Is there a shelf life for connoisseur nurseries? After naming several nurseries that have gone out of business, he started to identify the problems related to running a nursery (perhaps not the best way for a seller to go).  In the end, he gave us some advice, "keep your focus."  That's good counsel for all, especially for us plant lovers.


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