PHYLLIS ODESSEY

GURU of WOODIES

PLANT-A-RAMA
Featured Symposium Speaker:
Michael Dirr

My copy of the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants has gotten me through some tough times; not only identifying a tree or shrub,  but as a doorstop.  Dirr’s  book, The Encyclopedia of Trees and Shurbs is a 7 pounder.  When you’re not using it to lift weights, you can actually get lost in the voluminous information contained within. 

Michael Dirr is a legend in the plant world.  Even if you’ve never met him, he seems like an old friend.  He’s that person you go to for advice about everything woody.  The expectation of everyone
at Plant-a-Rama was that Michael Dirr was going to speak about trees and shrubs.  He did not.  The focus of his talk and the panel discussion that followed was about the world of breeding, marketing, and evaluating of new plant introductions.  This is a topic I rarely consider.  In passing, Dirr mentioned that women buy 70% of all plants sold and most of these are purchased during March, April or May.  The biggest retailer of plants:  QVC. After all buying plants is a shopping experience.

Whether its ‘Miss Molly,’ ‘Blue Heaven’ ‘Scarlet Storm,’ ‘Red Majestic,’ ‘Velvet Cloak,’ or ‘Waterlily’, I find myself not really interested.  The future of breeders or nurseries is someone else’s concern.  Even though I am pro-choice, I find it hard enough to make a good garden from the plants currently on the market. I don’t need anymore choices.

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