Saturday, June 20, 2009

Armitage Draws A Crowd

Southeast Greenhouse Conference attendees love their Krispy Kremes bright and early. The Krispy Kreme shop down the street has been a big attraction the last couple days.

But Allan Armitage, the well-known author and speaker at the University of Georgia (UGA), is a big attraction too. He pulled close to 100 conference attendees out of bed for an 8 a.m. session Saturday. Attendees all wanted to hear Allan's take on perennials and learn a little about his favorites at the Trial Gardens at UGA.

"Night temperatures are really dictating the success of perennials," Allan says. "They don't always work, so you have to choose carefully. Listen to your resources."

Just a few of Allan's favorites are:

• Stachys 'Helene von Stein'
• Coreopsis 'Jethro Tull'
• Rudbeckia 'Henry Eilers'
• Echinacea Big Sky series
• Gaillardia 'Tizzy'
• Gaillardia 'Sunburst Tangerine'

Echinacea have a multitude of colors now, Allan says, and they all look fantastic when flowering. Still, he urges growers and retailers not to fall in love with echinacea that simply looks good once and won't flower again the following spring.

"Start with purple (echinacea)," Allan says. "They're gonna come back. We've had lot of echinacea go wrong and they sell well because they look beautiful, but they don't necessarily come back. So don't get too carried away with 'flash.'"

In the coming weeks, we'll be posting video of Allan on GGTV walking viewers through the garden and sharing insight on plants that work.

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