Thursday, November 3, 2011

IPPS 2011 Annual Meeting, Valdosta, GA! Part One

After almost a month of being back in the office it was time to get away again. This time I was off to Valdosta, GA for the Annual IPPS Meeting. I have honestly never heard of Valdosta so I was ready for the adventure. IPPS is the International Plant Propagator Society. Yes, the ultimate in plant nerdiness!!! People talking plants all day, touring places with plants all days, bidding wars at plant auction...plants selling for over $200.00 a piece...a plant lovers dream! I flew into Valdosta Saturday, a bit on the early side since it was really the only flight available! This gave me plenty of time to leisurely make my way to the hotel then off the the conference center to check on the plant babies I sent for the auction. The plant babies came out pretty good, a little tumbled but I don't usually pack one gallons, perhaps I will do a better job next time! The flat of mixed succulents came in very nice though!
My beautiful babies...BUY ME!!!
Alan Shapiro of Grandiflora Nursery ended up winning these, I think for around $50-$60, what a steal!  After everything was unpacked it was off to the hotel for some down time, a movie, a nap, then a workout.  IPPS is a pretty intense meeting with very little downtime so I figured I better get a little in before everything started the next day.  The first day started bright and early with a board meeting at 6:00 AM!!!!  Definitely early for me, I used to wake up early to teach 5:30 spin I have converted to a night owl, staying up till midnight, it is so hard to wake up now!  After the board meeting it was off to the buses for our first day of tours, this is my favorite part of IPPS!!!

The first stop was Tobe Gardens.  This is a family owned garden that was started in the 70's but the bulk of it started getting built around 1993.  It was interesting but it was mostly trees and large shrubs in a more native looking planting.  I really like gardens that are more formal..but that is just my personal opinion.  There were some interesting building and sculptures around that were all hand built by the Tobe family.  The temple was the most interesting, it must have been really hard to build!  It was a great place for a group photo!
IPPS Southern Region goes to Nepal!

The next stop was Superior Trees. This was an interesting operation because I had never seen so many field grown tree liners. in fact I thought at first the trees were grasses because they had said they grew grasses. Turns out they were thousands of Longleaf Pine seedlings. This operation was 120 acres in productions with 196 total acres. It was started in 1953 by St. Regis Paper Company. They grow about 4 million bareroot seedling a year and have over 300 varieties.
Not grass, these are trees!

We got back on the bus and were off to Simpson Nurseries. On the bus I was updating the IPPS facebook page after each stop. I figured the information would be extremely timely and it would prevent be from procrastinating to get it done later! We we arrived at Simpson Nurseries we were immediately shuffled into line for lunch, my kind of stop! Next we loaded onto wagons and toured the nursery. The weather was just perfect at this point, the morning had been a bit cold but now the sun was shinning...belly was full, wagon was rocking just right...eyes were was almost nappy time! I stayed awake though because the tour was very interesting. I learned that this nursery was huge! Just when I thought we were almost back to the start we were not, being 1000 acres with 500 acres in production this was the reason! The one thing that stood out here from other nurseries was the use of liquid feed..I mean we use it but most nurseries are on a slow release program.
That is not a retention pond, that is a retention lake!

After a great tour we were back on the buses and headed off to Pebble Hill Plantation for Dinner. Yes, more food! Obviously my plans to eat healthy were spoiled by all the wonderful food is so hard to diet when traveling! Pebble Hill was a very nice location for everybody to unwind and socialize. There were horse carriage rides and house tours before dinner.
Also there was wine tasting, blueberry wine!
Social hour, yes plant nerds still know how to have fun!
After a nice dinner it was back on the buses and off to the hotel...time for night night before a full day of talks the next day!

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