The flower czars convene



Just as I cut down the last of my 10-foot-high rudbeckia
hirta Herbstsonne, and survey with resignation the fairly ratty appearance of
the rest of my garden, perennial growers are arriving to decide my gardening
future. A major horticultural industry conference is happening right here in
Buffalo tomorrow through Tuesday. It’s the OFA
Perennial Production Conference
, which is not open to the public, but isdesigned to educate those in the perennial production and retail industries
about what’s new and what’s what.

Having laboriously found the website for this and having finally
determined what OFA stood for (Ohio Florist Association, a group that clearly encompasses
more than its name), I took a look at the schedule. All I needed to see was
Hard-Core Production Sessions and Secrets Revealed! to be totally intrigued.
Here are some of the sessions: A View of Perennial Use Around the World: Ideas
& Innovations We Can All Use
, Forcing Perennials Into Flower: Beyond the
(ha–now I see why this is for professionals), Perennials for Containers, and —the one I really want to see—The
"Perfect Perennial" from a Landscape Contractor's Perspective &
20 Perennials That Almost Meet This Criteria
. (I like the restraint of the title.)  Fascinating! Hopefully, I can
check out some of this action and report back. 

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. It’s always the little things. I heard Allan Armitage Thursday at a symposium at the State Botanical Garden of GA.

    One tidbit?

    The best Echinacea will have some purple in the petals. The others aren’t as tough. Intuitively knew this, but it’s nice to have an expert, at a podium, say this about the newest varieties too.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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