Forrest Keeling Nursery is a well-known name in Elsberry, but it is equally familiar and esteemed in the circles of conservation, landscape and agricultural professionals.
Every other fall, the local nursery is a mecca for these industry specialists to gather and learn for a day from the top experts in their fields. This year’s event hosted over 200 professionals from 11 states.
A naturally appealing agenda
“Each year, we’ve been blessed with a broad range of knowledgeable speakers, and this year was no exception.” commented Kim Lovelace-Young, Forrest Keeling vice-president.
The speakers’ topics ranged from advances in native selections and native applications to native specialty crops that are increasing in popularity for agricultural use.
Neal Peterson, owner of Peterson Pawpaws, was on hand to enlighten the attendees on the native fruit and was one of the most popular speakers. “Neal’s presentations are always great, but his lunchtime pawpaw tastings were a huge hit, noted Kim.”
Another featured speaker was Guy Sternberg, Starhill Arboretum. Sternberg’s highly sought-after native oak cultivars are available exclusively in the Midwest through Forrest Keeling.
The day’s agenda included four sessions of professional presentations as well as nursery tours throughout the day. The tours focused on Forrest Keeling’s patented RPM-production technology. This breakthrough technology gave Forrest Keeling Nursery a way to help their quality plants grow faster. It also afforded higher success rates for all types of conservation and restoration plantings, along with wildlife cover and food production. The educational component afforded attendees continuing educational units.
Friends and fun were part of the mix
“Of course, it wasn’t all work,” smiled Wayne Lovelace, Forrest Keeling president. “Some of the most important parts of the day are those involving meeting new industry colleagues and renewing acquaintances with the old.”
At the close of the day, the nursery hosted chestnut roasting and tasting, including samples of chestnut beer. The concluding dinner featured entertainer Ralph Duren, known as the “Rich Little” of the animal kingdom and “Doctor Doolittle of the Outdoors”.
Duren Performs over 100 wild animal sounds interwoven with his humorous stories of growing up in the Ozarks of Missouri,
To learn more about the local nursery, visit http://fknursery.com or http://rpmglobalsolutions.