Friday, January 7, 2011

May 19: Speaker Adam Wheeler: Plant Geeks Are Us: Oddball Plants for Oddball People

To Adam Wheeler, the oddball plants of his talk title are plants that aren’t found in most nurseries, garden centers and catalogs. They may be rare cultivars of common plants, or have unusual variegated or multicolored foliage, or be contorted and funky, plants only a mother could love.

And oddball people? By that he means “not your generic gardener—a step more obsessed than your average gardener.” A fanatic, he says.

Adam is a plant fanatic. As propagation and plant development manager for Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, he oversees the woody plants and is responsible for acquiring and developing new plants.

He also is an adjunct lecturer at Naugatuck Valley Community College, teaching classes in plant propagation and woody plant identification.

Within CHS, he is perhaps best known as an auctioneer; for years at the spring and fall CHS plant auctions, Adam has generously helped to sell beautiful trees and shrubs donated by Broken Arrow and other nurseries to raise money for the CHS scholarship fund that supports students at NVCC and the University of Connecticut.

Adam was born and raised in Morris. His parents and both sets of grandparents were gardeners who grew mainly fruits and vegetables but also tended substantial ornamental gardens. He earned his bachelor’s degree in urban forestry and landscape horticulture at the University of Vermont in 2003, and returned to Morris to begin his career.

In his spare time he enjoys collecting rare and unusual plants, rock climbing and competitive giant pumpkin growing. 

Adam will explore in his talk the fascinating world of woody plants, showing three dozen slides of some of the tree and shrub oddities available to gardeners. “People probably won’t find these plants in but a handful of nurseries across the country,” he says.

He hopes to show how flexible gardening can be, given the selection of intriguing plants that exists. Mainly, he says, he hopes people leave his talk with a renewed sense of just how fun gardening is.

Everyone is welcome to attend Adam Wheeler's talk on Thursday, May 19, 2011. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. (7 p.m. for socializing) at Emanuel Synagogue160 Mohegan Dr.West HartfordConn. The fee for non-CHS members is $10. Full-time students with valid ID attend for free. Contact: 860-529-8713.

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