June 10-11, 2010, Tifton, GA Meeting Minutes

ADVISORS: Patricia Knight (Mississippi State University), Regina Bracy (LSU Ag Center, Hammond, LA)

OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVES: John Ruter (University of Georgia), Alex X. Niemiera (Va. Tech), Win Dunwell (University Kentucky), Todd West (West Virginia University), Allen Owings (LSU), Ed Bush (LSU), Gene Blythe (Mississippi State University), Gary Knox (University of Florida, North Florida Research and Education Center), and Anthony V. LeBude (NC State University, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center)

GUESTS: Matthew Chappell (University of Georgia)

STATES NOT REPRESENTED: Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, USDA, and the US National Arboretum


Local host John Ruter welcomed everyone to the Tifton Campus and the business meeting. He described the campus, faculty members and the contribution of the campus to the overall economy of the county and south Georgia generally. The business meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 10, 2010 by President Alex X. Niemiera. Members were introduced. Pre-meeting tours included a reception and dinner at Harper’s in the Myon in Tifton. Fried chicken and ham were served along with peach cobbler.

Average temperature for the two day conference was 94F with 70%RH.

Reports and Participants list

Program reports were heard from Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and West Virginia. They are attached.


Minutes of the 2009 meeting were reviewed and approved on a motion by Allen Owings and a second by Todd West. The motion carried.

Election of Officers

Anthony LeBude was nominated for chair 2010-2011. Motion made by Allen Owings, seconded by Todd West. Motion passed. Todd West was nominated for secretary, motion made by Matt Chappell, and seconded by Allen Owings. Motion passed. Gene Blythe was nominated to board member by Allen Owings and Regina Bracy seconded it. Motion passed.

Old Business

Plant Evaluation

It was concluded that data are still not being uploaded to the website. The group visited the website on-line. Some concerns were that the amount of data required to input was excessive and it was suggested that the evaluation form be reduced. Other concerns were that those entering the data were not making copies of the sheets and sending them to Ed Bush. It was reiterated that the responsibility of data gathering falls to the person who introduced and distributed the plant to the group members. Data must be on paper and on the website.

Currently Win Dunwell is serving to identify SERA 27-evaluated plants that have become mainstream and he will redouble his efforts to determine these plants. Data collection is needed on plants we decide are still active among the group and Alex Niemiera suggested we create a list of those active. It was suggested that we need concluding paragraphs on plants we are finished evaluating. Reports should be 5-7 sentences and contain when plants began evaluation, who evaluated it and for how long. Include notes about insects/diseases, hardiness, or other interesting information. Ed Bush suggested doing concluding reports on plants in the 2008 SNA article.

President Niemiera suggested that two plants from the 2008 SNA article be used to create a template for all other reports. Win Dunwell stated that reports have been made for all plants in the table in the 2008 SNA article up to and including Bulbine  aulescens, and the next reports should start with Michelia. Win Dunwell agreed to write a report for Rhododendron ‘Gulfray’ and Hemerocallis ‘Octavia’, ‘Happy Returns’, and ‘Milano,’ while Gary Knox agreed to complete reports for Magnolia ‘Jon Jon’ and Michelia skinneriana.

Alex X. Niemiera will reintroduce Parrotia ‘Jennifer Teats’ and Win Dunwell will reintroduce Hypericum ‘Blue Velvet’ after both members propagate the cultivars. Win was excited about H. olympicum best as a groundcover and he will resend the evaluation sheet for it.

New Business

New plants

Win Dunwell distributed Arisaema dracontium (green dragon), a Kentucky provenance native to soils with pH 6.2-6.3, and grows along with trillium; best in shade (30%). Usually grows in shade over limestone outcroppings. Patricia Knight made a motion to accept green dragon contingent upon Win Dunwell distributing the names of those who received it and a distribution paper. It was seconded and the motion passed. Those receiving A. dracontium were: NC (LeBude), FL (Knox), LSU (all), MS (Blythe), VA (Niemiera), GA (Chappell).

Motion passed to accept a landscape-type selection of rhizoma peanut, Arachis glabrata ‘Ecoturf’ as an informal plant for observation. Introduced by Gary Knox (FL). States accepting: WVU (West-sent later), LSU (Owings/Bush), MS (Blythe), GA (Chappell sent later).

Gene Blythe presented Tagetes nelsonii, citrus scented marigold, Mayan marigold, Nelson’s marigold, Chik chawa. 4-5’ high by December in MS. No official hardiness, listed as 7-11. Frost will kill foliage. Recommended as a water wise plant. Goats in its indigenous area do not eat it; is it deer repellant? Short day flowering plants in October- November in south, grown for foliage mostly and food flavorings. No insect problems outside but mealy bug inside. Will have cuttings available by spring 2011 and can plant in June and have it established by winter 2011. John Ruter/Knox motioned: passed. Blythe volunteered to give a 2-3 slide power point presentation to Allen Owings to post on the website. This serves as a template for all other introductions. Preference for receivership (Summer 2011, spring 2011, or at meeting in June 2011): All now at end of summer: GA (Ruter/Chappell), LSU (Owings/Bush), KY (Dunwell), FL (Knox), WVU (West); June 2011 meetings NC (LeBude). Motion to hold meeting in West Virginia passed, but overturned immediately.

Motion made to hold meetings in Athens, GA in 2011, West Virginia 2012, and Asheville, NC 2013. Motions passed

Motion to adjourn business meeting at noon June 10, 2010.

After the business meeting we toured research plots of John Ruter on the Coastal Plain Research Station in Tifton, GA. Dinner was at the Blackshank farm where fried chicken and barbecue were served. No alligators were observed in pond nearby. On June 11, 2010, those remaining traveled to Monrovia Growers in Cairo, GA, to tour the nursery. Lunch was served. The members wish to thank Mr. Stewart Chandler for his hospitality and generous time for the tour. Members dispersed at 1 p.m. All members wish to thank John Ruter for his graciousness in hosting us and for providing a great forum to discuss and evaluate plants.

Submitted by Anthony LeBude, secretary, 2009-2010.

4/21/2011 6:01:45 PM
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