Garden Diary - June 2017

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The Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference is held in early June at the now-university in Pennsylvania. It is an opportunity to mingle with like-minded native plant enthusiasts, listen to lectures, go on field trips, and buy plants. The conference itself is just two days but there's pre- and post-conference events. We stay in dorms, eat college food, and have a wonderful time. I have previously attended but not every year. In fact, not for a while. But when this year's announcement arrived there were several topics of particular interest. I sent in my registration.

Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference:
Saturday in Maryland - Cavano's Perennial Nursery

Saturday, 10 June 2017

If you are not yet ready to say, "Enough!" and go home there are two options for Saturday. One is a field trip to a habitat restoration site. The other is a shopping trip to two nurseries and Ladew Gardens in Maryland. A baker's dozen of us opted for the shopping trip. First Kollar Nursery, then Ladew Gardens, and now we are here at Cavano's Perennials Nursery in Kingsville, Maryland.

One of the two rows of hoop houses, numbered in sequence,
down the right hand row, and a second, left hand row.

This is a huge - 30 acres under cover - wholesale only nursery selling about a million plants a year. And I don't mean little plugs. Cavano's specializes in growing over 700 plant choices, all containerized - including a large assortment of native and sustainable herbaceous perennials, ferns and grasses. Their trucks deliver to garden centers, nurseries, landscape contractors, and re-wholesalers in the mid-Atlantic region from Maryland to New England. They are working with the University of Maryland on their pollinator and beneficial insect project. And while not one of the vendors at the Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape plant sale Cavano's is a premier level sponsor of the conference.

As we came eagerly off the bus and into the office we were
handed a multi-page list specifically of native plants they offer.
Numerous options and possibilities to shop for native plants.

Enter a hoop house. Plants are coded on the inventory data base, organized to the left and to the right. BUT - large caveat here - plants are not arranged alphabetically from hoop house to hoop house so plan on scurrying back and forth. Employees were very nice about offering rides on the numerous golf carts zooming around

pulling orders for wholesale customers.

In addition to native plants Cavano's sells a wide range of perennials
(such as these heuchera cultivars) to landscapers and retailers.


Maintenance is excellent - no spilled pots, no weeds,
clean and tidy. Saturday end of day weekend watering.

As we were graciously allowed to buy at wholesale prices it quickly became clear that honest horticultural lust meant sturdy crates and garden carts were needed.

Opening the rear emergency door, some
crates were stuffed in the aisle at the back.

And since there were more seats than passengers,
why, some crates occupied empty ones.

Back to Millersville, transfer a couple of crates of plants
to my car, and start on the long drive home. It's been great!

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