To experience all the Southeast Greenhouse Conference has to offer, get out of the convention center on for the All-Industry Tour on Thursday, June 18, and prepared to see some of the greatest facilities in the area, chock full of ideas to put to use right away.
The Gardens at Athens
Located in Athens, Ga., the Gardens at Athens were started in 1982 by Allan Armitage, Michael Dirr and a number of students. Today, the gardens receive plants or seeds from almost all the plant breeding companies in the world, along with material from perennial plant nurseries, individual growers and gardeners, as well as material Armitage brings back from his travels.
The primary functions of the garden have always been research, teaching, and new crop introduction, and that focus continues today.
Classic Groundcovers Inc.
Classic Groundcovers was established in 1963 by two University of Georgia professors who hired current owner Wilber Mull as their first employee. Mull and a business partner bought the business in 1971 and developed the wholesale nursery side of the business. Wilber bought out his partner in 1989 and now has 100 acres, 60 of which are in production.
Classic grows perennials and groundcovers (their specialty is drought-tolerant groundcovers) in containers and in ground. The nursery is in production year round and ships nationwide and bare-root internationally. Known for its “Sudden Service,” where the goal is to get even the smallest orders out the day they are received, Classic Groundcovers has a no-minimum-order policy to cater to its largely landscaper-based clientele.
Founded in 1998 by owners Ken and Leah James in Colbert, Ga., James Greenhouses is based on a simple idea: Produce high quality perennial plugs and liners for Southern growers. The company has grown since then, but the focus on quality and customer service remains. Mild winters and high light levels allow for year-round liner production.
James’ clean, modern facilities are designed for propagation; the 70,000 square feet of production space has mist booms, under-bench hot-water heat, subirrigation, naturally ventilated houses and computerized environmental controls — all designed to keep quality up and costs down. Currently, James Greenhouses produces about 300 varieties of perennials and specialty annuals, most of which are grown in 72-cell trays, but custom sizes range from 32- to 128-cell trays.
The Southeast Greenhouse Conference, managed by OFA — an Association of Horticulture Professionals — will be held June 18 to 20 in Greenville, S.C. For more information, visit the website .