New gardening trends featured at gardening seminar

Johnny Morgan, Heafner, Kerry, Owings, Allen D.

LSU AgCenter horticulturalist Allen Owings discusses new Louisiana Super Plants to consider during his presentation at the Sixth Annual Spring Ag Expo Gardening Seminar in West Monroe. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

Norman Winter, director of the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm, shares information with attendees at the Sixth Annual Spring Ag Expo Gardening Seminar in West Monroe. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

Attendees enjoy the many displays and exhibits at the Sixth Annual Spring Ag Expo Gardening Seminar in West Monroe. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

WEST MONROE, La. – Participants interested in gardening travelled from at least three states to attend the Sixth Annual Spring Ag Expo Gardening Seminar in West Monroe.

The seminar, sponsored by the Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners, was planned to give easy-to- follow tips that will help people get more from their gardens, said LSU AgCenter agent Kerry Heafner.

“In previous years, we focused on the more historic aspects of gardening: heirloom plants, pass-along plants and restored 19th century homes and gardens,” Heafner said. “We decided to go in a slightly different direction his year and focus on current trends.”

Speakers included Tony Tradewell, of Tony Tradewell Landscape, AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings and featured speaker Norman Winter, director of the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm.

Tradewell discussed garden design and reminded participants that design more than just gardens and a walk.

“I really want to show how these are outdoor spaces we can live in,” he said.

Owings’ presentation focused on some of the new Louisiana Super Plants in the north Louisiana area, where home gardeners have become interested in the new varieties.

“We think a lot of the Louisiana Super Plants for the warm season have a lot of potential to be used in north Louisiana more than they are being used right now,” he said.

Cultural practices and planting times were also topics Owings discussed to give the attendees the best chance at gardening success this spring.

Winter discussed the current trends in gardening, such as the introduction of plants that will attract pollinators.

“Gardeners are more and more interested in bringing in the bees, the butterflies and the hummingbirds,” he said. “And there are a lot of great plants, native and non-native, that tend to be like butterfly magnets.”

Winter also shared some tropical trends that are continuing to catch on in many areas. “Plants like banana, elephant ears and ginger. Plants that almost make you think you’re in Jamaica.”

Surprisingly, he said, many tropical plants are cold-hardy and can be grown in north Louisiana.

“There are a few tropical plants that we like that won’t do well here, but there are substitutes that will do just as well in attracting butterflies,” he said.

It’s not necessary for the plants to be annuals to be a great bargain. “The value of having a $10 tropical plant that blooms from the time that you plant it in May until the time that it freezes in December, then it is worth the money.”

Monroe resident Naomi Grayson said her friend has invited her for the past three years, and this year she was able to attend.

“I’m not a Master Gardener, but my friend is, and she has been telling me about all of the perks. And I have truly enjoyed the presentations and the exhibits,” Grayson said.

Johnny Morgan

1/30/2016 3:17:44 AM
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