COLUMN: Time to register for perennial flower school in Springfield

The 24th Annual Central Ohio Perennial Flower School is nearing, and I am happy to announce that registration is open. One of our most popular programs fills up fast, so don’t delay in registering.

This year’s lineup includes someone I am sure none of you have ever seen! John Bartram will be on hand to speak about “A Garden of Color.” John is full of horticultural history of plant introductions from his travels across the wilderness of North America. He starts at the beginning of the international world of plant discovery and brings you to today’s perennials.

Kirk Brown, who is the above-mentioned John Bartram character, will also discuss “Great Garden Expectations, Perennially Yours.” He will discuss five steps to successful plant selection, looking at small changes in thinking that will impact perennial selection and color.

Kirk is a renowned garden designer a well as a garden speaker. He will be on a 10-day tour of programs from here to the east coast as he makes his stop in Springfield.

Dr. David Smith, founder, and President of Freshwater Farm of Ohio (Urbana) has raised rainbow trout and other aquatic species since 1983. He has an outstanding background in fish management and upon learning about raising fish in greenhouses, he switched his major from horticulture to aquatic biology.

We are trying something different again this year by having him speak about “Water Features in the Perennial Garden.” Water features and water plants are a great addition to any garden, and David will share the techniques that leads to success.

I will be talking about “Year-Round Color in the Perennial Garden.” We will discuss how to build a garden with enough backbone that it looks good even in the winter. I will share specific plants that look good even in winter as well as how to create a garden that looks good year-round.

Before coming to this class, evaluate your perennial garden right now and determine where you might be able to use plants or something else to add color to your landscape. And remember, green is a color.

The spotted lanternfly is not a pest specific to perennials, but its presence will be an annoyance to most home gardeners. I will also be discussing this new invasive species and its details as well as how to scout for it.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at

How to go

What: Perennial School

When: 9-4 p.m. March 7. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

Where: Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center in Springfield

Cost: $70 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch

Registration information:

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