Greenhouse Conference Features Perennial Flower Speaker

Submitted by Michele Hébert
Phone: (907) 474-2423


Across the state of Alaska, gardeners have a big interest in growing herbaceous perennials. That's because these flowering plants overwinter and provide color in the landscape for many years without replanting.

Leonard Perry has been growing perennials in the U.S for 28 years, both in the South and North. Perry is just one of the national speakers scheduled to speak at the Alaska Statewide Greenhouse and Nursery Conference, Jan. 30-31, 2003, at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge.

Since 1981, Perry has been with the extension system in Vermont working directly with the industry and region, speaking at meetings locally and internationally, and touring nurseries worldwide. His research has covered all aspects of perennial culture including field production, soil, fertilizer, disease management, and forcing.

Perry's research includes overwintering and hardiness. Perry has been looking at the practical and applied aspects of this for about 20 years. His studies have focused on factors affecting hardiness of perennials. This includes effects such as timing of cold, duration, amount, fluctuating temperatures, fertility, moisture, plant age, and vigor.

He will give two presentations. On Jan. 30, Perry will address overwintering and hardiness with focus on methods appropriate for the Alaska climate. The second presentation "Herbaceous Perennial Production," is scheduled for Jan. 31.

The program will also feature Mary Alyce Kobler, who manages Boyce Thompson Institute Research Greenhouses on Cornell campus in New York. She will discuss how to control pests in the greenhouse with biological organisms and no pesticides. Kobler received the New York State Integrated Pest Management Award for Excellence and Education in 2000. She is scheduled to speak both days of the conference.

Bill Sutton of Bailey Nurseries in St. Paul, Minn., will speak on overwintering containerized nursery stock. Bailey is one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S.

The conference will also feature several Alaska speakers. Merriam Karlsson of the University of Alaska Fairbanks will present her research on greenhouse raspberries. Local commercial producers Cyndie Warbelow-Tack and Mike Emers will speak on using and producing native plants. Georgeson Botanical Garden representative Grant Matheke and gardener extraordinaire Jean Coghill will share their expertise on water gardens.

Sponsored by the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, the Greenhouse and Nursery Conference is open to the public. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 30 and 31, 2003, and a daily registration fee of $45 includes program materials and lunch. A conference schedule and registration form can be picked up at the extension office at 1000 University Ave., Room 138, or by calling (907) 474-2450.