Southern Appalachian Plant Society

Hugh Conlon, Horticulturist, lecturer, and garden writer 

Jazz up Garden Life with Sedges 

Thursday, May 19, at 7 pm, BrightRidge Auditorium (formerly Johnson City Power Board), 2600 Boones Creek Rd (Hwy 354), Johnson City  

Sedges Are Garden Solvers: they offer more than beauty in the garden.  Sedges are important in the life cycle of many insects, birds and animals.  They serve a key part in environmental remediation efforts such as dry or  wet ground, sun or shade sites, rain gardens restoration, improving air quality, heat and humidity issues, foot traffic problems, and salt tolerance.  Sedges offer solutions to gardeners in search of interesting plant combinations and innovative design concepts. 

Sedges (Carex spp.) are a wide group of grass-like plants, most preferring sites  containing moist, fertile soil and partial shade. However, many species grow in  dry infertile soils and full day sun. Over 2000 species of Carex hail from around  the world and many are U.S. natives. Some varieties from Japan have been selected for their variegated foliage and major breeding advances have excited gardeners.  Many carex perform their best when grown in a moist location, although they are  somewhat tolerant of neglect and resistant to deer. Sedges make gardens come  alive. They are bee-friendly!…and important in the life cycle of other critters. You  will discover sedges that grow in dry shade or in wet boggy ground. Garden designers are waking up to sedges for their variegated and colorful foliage. Sedges  outperform in containers. Some sedges stand up to high foot traffic in lawn areas. Many are great companion plants with favorite garden perennials such as hostas, daylilies, heucheras,  and many more. 

Hugh Conlon has been an active garden writer and speaker since his retirement  from the University of Tennessee in 2011. He has been a professional horticulturist for over 45 years and is the creator and content provider of the gardening  website: He currently speaks at Master Gardener classes  in Tennessee and presents garden club talks and nursery/landscape programs in  Tennessee and other states. In addition he contributes articles to Tennessee  Gardener and other garden/trade magazines, organizes garden tours throughout  Tennessee and nearby states, and consults with gardeners, commercial landscapers and growers. 

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Hugh attended Cornell University (BS  degree), University of Delaware (MS degree), and Michigan State University.  Hugh has served on the SAPS Board since its inception including two terms as  president. Other memberships include Perennial Plant Association, Garden Writers Association, American Conifer Society, and Tennessee Nursery and Land scape Association. Hugh and wife Jane are the proud parents of four children  and five grandchildren. His hobbies include gardening, photography, and writing. 


From Interstate I-26, take exit 17 and turn towards Jonesborough. Go past Boones  Creek Christian Church, through traffic light, and BrightRidge is on the left. Take 2nd  entrance and go around to the back of the building to enter the auditorium.