Convention 2010 Speakers

2010 convention speakers  speakers ||


Dr. Allen Owings is a horticulture professor with the LSU AgCenter located at the Hammond Research Station, Hammond, LA. He has been a faculty member at the LSU AgCenter since 1992 and is the statewide coordinator for extension programs for the nursery and landscape industries. In addition, he conducts ornamental plant landscape performance evaluations at the LSU AgCenter – this includes azaleas, crape myrtles, roses, annual bedding plants and herbaceous perennials. He serves as President of the Baton Rouge Rose Society, director of research and education for the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association, and president of the Louisiana Chapter of the Azalea Society of America. He writes weekly newspaper articles for the LSU AgCenter and Hammond Daily Star. He is a monthly contributor to Louisiana Gardener Magazine.

Paul Soniat is the founding director of the New Orleans Botanical Garden and Celebration in the Oaks in City Park. He oversees volunteer and educational programs, strengthening plant collections, managing finance and fund raising efforts and developing a master plan for the Garden. For the past 23 years, he has been directing the efforts to turn an old forgotten garden into one of the country’s premier Botanical gardens. Follow the devastating destruction from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Paul, along with a team of dedicated volunteers and generous donors, began a painstaking restoration of the Botanical Gardens.

Robert “Buddy” Lee is well-known in the ASA having served in a multitude of positions. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award, the ASA’s highest award, for his contribution to azaleas and the industry. Buddy loves azalea and has spent his life working and hybridizing them. He is the breeder of the very successful line of Encore® azaleas. He has also dabbled in hollies, white-flowered loropetalums and dwarf gardenias, and has developed the ‘Jubilation’ gardenia and ‘Emerald Snow’ lorepetalum.

Dr. Steve Krebs is Director of The Holden Arboretum’s David G. Leach Research Station. Dr. David Leach was an eminent American horticulturist and is reknown for his development and introduction of hardy (zone 5) hybrid rhododendrons and azaleas. The continuation of his projects at The Holden Arboretum still emphasizes freezing adaptations, but also includes new objectives such as disease resistance and heat tolerance. Steve says “Our azalea breeding is aimed at producing summer blooming, fragrant hybrids with strong colors, and is based entirely on native deciduous species, including R. austrinum, a Southern species which has proven to be quite hardy in Northern Ohio. In our experience, native azalea species are also resistant to powdery mildew disease. Breeding of evergreen rhododendrons (elepidotes) at Holden is almost entirely focused on the use of R. hyperythrum, a species from Taiwan that is root rot resistant and heat tolerant. We are crossing it into a broad array of cold hardy cultivars and selecting candidate hybrids for further evaluation in climates ranging from USDA zones 5 to 8.”

Dan Gill holds the Consumer Horticulture state-wide position with the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge. Dan is the spokesperson for the LSU AgCenter’s Get It Growing project, a statewide educational effort in home horticulture utilizing radio, Internet, TV and newsprint. Gardeners throughout Louisiana read his columns in local newspapers, watch his gardening segments on local TV stations and listen to him on local radio. In the New Orleans area, Dan appears weekly on the morning news, writes a weekly gardening column, and hosts the Saturday morning “Garden Show”, a live call-in radio program. Dan is co-author of the “Louisiana Gardener’s Guide”, author of “Month-by-Month Gardening in Louisiana” and co-author of “Month-by-Month Gardening in Texas”. His “South Louisiana Region Report” and “Only in Louisiana” columns appear monthly in the Louisiana Gardener Magazine. Dan will speak to us about Gardening in South Louisiana – What Makes it Unique.