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Horticulture conferences offered in Girdwood

Fairbanks, Alaska—Back-to-back conferences in Girdwood Jan. 25-27 will provide support for the Alaska horticulture industry.

The Alaska Greenhouse and Nursery Conference, Jan. 25–26, and the Alaska Peony Growers Conference, Jan. 26-27, will take place at Alyeska Resort. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will host both conferences.

Stephen Brown, agriculture and horticulture agent for the Mat-Su/Copper River District, said the 31st annual Greenhouse and Nursery Conference is geared to everything from large greenhouse and landscape operations to small mom-and-pop horticulture businesses. Presentations will cover fertilizer calibration, new technologies, Rhodiola rosea production, flowers and marketing. Guest speaker John Gaydos of Proven Winners, an international cooperative of plant breeders, will talk about growing tips and selecting the right plants to grow. Colorado Extension agent Mary Small will discuss horticultural marketing ideas.

The sixth annual Peony Growers Conference will have a business focus, said Julie Riley, Extension horticulture agent for the Anchorage District. Topics will include collaborative marketing, selling to different market segments, and business plans and models. Diane Szukovathy from Jello Mold Farm in Washington state will talk about growing perennial flowers for the cut-flower market, and a panel of soils experts will discuss what growers need to know.

Riley said peonies have generated great interest among Alaska producers because the flowers bloom in Alaska when they are not available elsewhere in the world. Alaska production is estimated to grow to more than $1 million a year by 2015, according to the Alaska Peony Growers Association winter 2012 newsletter.

Agendas and registration information for both conferences are linked from www.uaf.edu/ces.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Greenhouse conference: Steve Brown at scbrown4@alaska.edu or 907-745-3360. Peony conference: Julie Riley, at jariley@alaska.edu or 907-786-6300.

ON THE WEB: www.uaf.edu/ces

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