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HORTICULTURE SYMPOSIUM

The premier Pittsburgh horticultural event

By Carol Papas ©2015
Penn State Master Gardener


The Garden & Landscape Symposium is the region’s premier horticultural event. This keynote speaker for 2015 is Bill Cullina, a native plant specialist and executive director of the Coastal Maine Botanic Garden.

In addition to talks by nationally prominent garden experts, our local Master Gardeners have selected exciting new plants ranging from hardy perennials to hard-to-find tropicals and annuals. The Garden Market will feature our curated selection of plants plus offerings from well-respected nurseries, as well as tools and artwork from a wide range of vendors.


Some of the special plants you’ll find at The Garden Market include:

‘Iron Butterfly’ ironweed (Vernonia lettermanii) — Our growing awareness of pollinators and their specificity in food choices has encouraged gardeners to incorporate native plants into their gardens. One of our finest natives is New York ironweed (V. novaboracencis), but it can grow to a lofty 6 feet tall, not especially suitable for a small garden. ‘Iron Butterfly’ is native to Arkansas and is a product of Alan Armitage’s research at the University of Georgia. In late summer it sports the same warm purple tufted flowers of New York ironweed, but it tops out at 3 feet tall. In addition, its foliage is wispy and delicate, adding a wonderful textural contrast to the border when it is not in flower. ‘Iron Butterfly’ thrives in full sun and will tolerate dry soils.

pollinator

‘Illumination Flame’ perennial foxglove (Digiplexis) — A cross between common foxglove and one of its relatives from the Canary Islands resulted in a show-stopping flower the color of a brilliant sunset. ‘Illumination Flame’ has a long flowering period because it is a sterile hybrid and will not set seed. It is not winter hardy in our region.

 

It would make a terrific anchor plant for a special container. It grows up to 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide and should be planted in full sun to part-shade. Like its common cousin, Digiplexis is toxic to both humans and deer. Care should be taken with parts of the plant and any water used for cut flowers.

butterfly

‘Nova Flame’ Mukgenia — Shade gardeners will want to scoop up this inter-generic cross between ‘Crimson Fans’ Mukdenia and Bergenia. A clumping plant growing to a height of 8-10 inches, it displays the incised leaves and brilliant fall color of ‘Crimson Fans.’ The Bergenia side of the cross contributes 12- to 15-inch wands of bright pink flowers in the spring as well as thicker, tougher leaves. Mukgenia does best in moist but well-drained, fertile soil. It would look terrific paired with any lacy perennial such as ferns or astilbe.


When & Where

Look for these plants and many more at the Garden & Landscape Symposium from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 18 at Shadyside Academy Senior School, 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel (15238). Cost is $120, or $105 if you register by March 16. The Garden Marketplace will be held at the Shadyside Academy Ice Rink. It is free and open to the public.

MORE

Garden Designs

Helping the Butterflies

Caladiums with summer long delight

 

     


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