PPA – Day 3

Today was a blast.  It was a full day from start to finish with a morning trip out to Hoffman Nursery (John Hoffman directly above welcoming four bus loads of guests) which focuses on grasses and grass relatives in a VERY BIG way. Their nursery was huge, clean, well organized and the staff was very cordial.  The place had a great vibe and the Hoffman clan was very welcoming.  Their property also had some great displays with many plant labels.  The day was also filled with some great networking and chatting with famous people. My “bus buddy” this morning was Ed Snodgrass (world expert and author on green roofs) and sitting behind us was John Greenlee (world expert and author on ornamental grasses).  I had great chats with both gentlemen.   I also met Dan Heims (Terra Nova Nursery) and hung out with Brent and Becky Heath (Brent & Becky’s Bulbs) among many others.  It was also nice connecting with Brent Horvath (Intrinsic Perennial Farm), Katrina (Morton Arboretum), Chris Felhaber (Chanticleer), Kelly Norris (Des Moines Botanical Center), Brie Arthur, Diane Blazek (AAS/NGB) and many others.  Neworking and chatting about plants is part of the fun at these conferences.  In the evening, we went to the J.C. Raulston Arboretum on the North Carolina State University campus which is a must see (and on my bucket list).  I inhaled dinner and hit the ground running for 2 hours of solid exploration and photography.  WOW! sums it up.

neat bamboo grove (we’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy…)

tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) field across from the nursery…NC is still a big state for tobacco farming

this old 1920s milk truck was found on site when the nursery was founded and left for character!

This 10 acre arboretum was spectacular and everything I expected.  My only regret is that we only had about 2 hours there which didn’t do it justice.  From their website….The JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants adapted for landscape use in the Southeast. Plants especially adapted to Piedmont North Carolina conditions are collected and evaluated in an effort to find superior plants for use in southern landscapes.  They have some very significant collections and the the arboretum is named after Professor J.C. Raulston who was quite famous for his outreach and connections around the world for acquiring, sharing, growing and evaluating a massive amount of plant material.  Great evening to be sure with lots of photos taken at a very rapid pace.

‘Ebony Embers’ crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.) – not hardy for us!