Nursery interests addressed at upcoming workshop

The Feb. 13 Winter Workshop is put on by the Wisconsin Nursery Association.

December 17, 2013
Industry News

Favorite plants, new species and cultivars, and effective herbicides will be thoroughly explored by the experts at the next Winter Workshop, set for February 13, 2014.  It is the Wisconsin Nursery Association’s largest educational event of the year and a favorite of many attendees.  It’s informal, informative, and affordable, plus it has been approved for PLANET Landscape Industry Certified recertification at 1 CEU per hour of instruction attended. 

What better way to start the day than with coffee, muffins, and the super-charged enthusiasm of Dave Wanninger?  Dave, the Horticulturist in Charge at Boerner Botanical Gardens, returns to Winter Workshop to talk about great plants he’s come across that are phenomenal performers in our crazy Wisconsin climate.  Dave will also introduce the candidates for Plant of the Year, something that all Winter Workshop participants get to vote on.

As a member of the Plant of the Year committee, Dave and his fellow committee members discuss numerous plants that are terrific for our area yet have been overlooked for widespread use.  Suggestions for the list come from members of both the committee and WNA. They narrow down the list to a few plants in each of the two categories-- Perennial Plant of the Year and Woody Ornamental Plant of the Year.  Dave will review the candidates and then attendees are asked to vote for their favorites. The plants with the most votes in each category will be the 2016 Plant of the Year selections, allowing for a two-year window to give nurseries plenty of time to stock the plants. The winners are announced by the end of the Workshop.

The morning’s events also include an introduction to the sponsors of Winter Workshop and part one of a two-part presentation by Mike Yanny about the selection and evaluation of new species and cultivars.  Michael was the plant propagator at Johnson’s Nursery, Inc. in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin from 1980 to 2010 and is currently the Senior Horticulturist on Johnson’s staff. He has his own business called JN Plant Selections which holds the proprietary rights to the numerous plants he selected over the past 32 years, including Firebird® Crabapple,  Redwing® Viburnum, Red Feather® Arrowwood Viburnum, Ping Pong™ Buttonbush, Pink-a-liscious™ Spirea, Spice Island™ Viburnum, Sugar n’ Spice™  Viburnum, Sunset™ Buckeye, Technito® Arborvitae, Star Power™ Juniper, Irish Setter™ Dogwood,  Firespire™ Musclewood and others. He learned many of his skills in plant propagation and plant selection while working with Herbert F. Trautman of Trautman Nurseries in Franksville, Wisconsin in the late 1970s.  Mike is an expert on this topic and it will be fascinating to hear him speak about it.

After a hot lunch buffet, WNA will hold its General Membership Meeting and attendees will have time to visit with the variety of vendors sponsoring the 2014 Winter Workshop. 

The afternoon will move forward with Part Two of Mike’s presentation about plant introductions.  That will be followed by the Nursery Spotlight, this year featuring Evergreen Nursery of Sturgeon Bay, discussed by owner Ron Amos.  The Nursery Spotlight gives attendees an insider’s view of a Wisconsin nursery operation.  Evergreen Nursery is over 400 acres, growing over 2½ million plants.
Herbicides in the Nursery will then be examined by Kurt Brace.  Kurt is the Territory Manager at Everris and has worked in the Green industry for most of his life.  He started working for his family farm and greenhouse at age nine. Kurt left the farm to attend college at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he earned a degree in Biology.  While at Calvin, Kurt worked for a Landscape Management company in Grand Rapids.  Upon graduation, he accepted the role of a manager and continued to work in Landscape Management for another six years.  Kurt then changed jobs and became a sales representative, calling on lawn care and landscape companies for a well-known distribution company in Michigan.  Over the years, Kurt became a sales manager, director, and regional sales manager servicing all the commercial horticulture markets.  Two and a half years ago, Kurt accepted the position of Territory Manager at Everris, the makers of Osmocote, Peters, and other plant protection products.  Kurt couples extensive field experience with technical knowledge in an easy to follow explanation of herbicides in this valuable presentation. 

You are bound be inspired by the Gadget/New Idea Spotlight, an informal opportunity at which attendees share their best gadget or time-saving ideas with the group.  Those who share their discoveries will receive extra raffle tickets as a thank you.  The drawing for prize winners of the free raffle will close the day’s events at 3:30 pm. 

Mark your calendar for the upcoming 2014 Winter Workshop on Thursday, February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day.  You’ll love it!  To register, see the Winter Workshop flyer online at under Events.