Johnny Morgan, Owings, Allen D.
HAMMOND, La. – The LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station was one of the stops for the International Plant Propagators’ Society as they toured gardens from Louisiana to Florida on their four-state tour.
AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings, the resident coordinator at the station, said this was an opportunity to show an international audience research done on a variety of plants at the station.
“This group of horticultural professionals represent the countries of Australia, China, New Zealand, Great Britain and South Africa,” Owings said. “This is important because in the nursery business at the present we’re seeing an increase in the international exchange of plants.”
The group left New Orleans on Sunday and visited nurseries in Tangipahoa Parish and will make multiple stops in Mississippi, Alabama and north Florida before arriving in Tampa on Oct. 10 for their five-day annual conference.
Patricia Knight, international president of the society, is also the department head of the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. She said the tour is a part of the meeting each year.
Last year the meeting was in South Africa, and next year it will be held in New Zealand.
“As the international president, it is the duty of my region to host the tour,” Knight said. “So it was great to have the help from Louisiana to make this a success.”
The purpose of the society is to seek and to share information on plant materials from around the world.
Clive Larkman, from Australia, said he once lived in San Diego but had never been in the Southeast. He was surprised at the beauty of the Hammond gardens.
“We just don’t have this in Australia,” Larkman said. “You’re lucky to have a university-based jewel such as this that is not industry controlled.”
During the past 10 years, the station has been cooperating with national leaders in the introduction of new plants, Owings said.
“This work has gained us a national, as well as international, reputation for the work we do here,” he said.
The station is unique because of the research being done on a number of rare plants to observe how well they will do in the south Louisiana climate, he said.
The Hammond Research Station is open to the public and is located at 21549 Old Covington Highway, just off U.S. Highway 190.