David Doggett is a retired computer programmer living in Irondale where his yard once received the Irondale Beautification Award. He has been a gardener for the last 20+ years and a Jefferson County Master Gardener since 2010. At Aldridge Gardens David gives guided tours to adult groups. He loves propagating hydrangeas and is currently president of the Alabama Hydrangea Society.
David is a collector of Japanese maples and grafts these beautiful trees. He has created Aldridge Gardens’ Japanese Maple Trail which consists of over 50 different cultivars of Japanese maples. David is an Advanced Master Gardener with certifications in both Japanese maples and hydrangeas.
If your garden club, church, or civic group is looking for a speaker, below are gardening topics that David can present.
He can be reached at 205-951-3463 or by email
Program Topics and Descriptions:
“Japanese Maples: The Aristocrat of Trees”
This PowerPoint program presents many different cultivars of Japanese maples and discusses how best to grow them. It also includes a discussion of grafting and why this is the most popular method of propagating Japanese maples. Handouts describe proper placement and care of Japanese maples.
“Landscaping with Japanese Maples”
This program illustrates various ways Japanese maples can be used as a focal point in one’s garden. We look at companion plants that complement (or sometimes clash with) these trees and at the optimum placement to take advantage of their superior fall color. Different cultivars are recommended for different landscape scenarios.
This one-hour program is an overview of the popular types of hydrangeas (oakleaf, French, panicle, wild, and climbing hydrangeas) and gives guidance on plant placement, plant care, fertilizing, and bloom color. It sorts out the confusion many gardeners have about the proper pruning time. Some of the newer hydrangea introductions are also discussed. Handouts describe the various species of hydrangeas and their proper care.
Alabama is ground-zero for this native species of hydrangea with its four seasons of interest. This hydrangea loves to bloom and blooms best in our hot Alabama climate. This PowerPoint program looks at several oakleaf hydrangea varieties discovered in Jefferson and surrounding counties – including the spectacularly blooming ‘Snowflake’ hydrangea made famous by the late Eddie Aldridge.
French Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla and H. serrata) – also known as Garden or Bigleaf Hydrangeas – are actually native to Asia. These are the blue, pink, or white mophead and lacecap blooming shrubs found in most every Southern garden. This PowerPoint program looks at many of the older varieties as well as the new spectacular flower forms being introduced every year. We discuss the importance of the new Endless Summer repeat bloomers and their profound impact on the market.
“Endless Summer® Hydrangeas”
The Endless Summer® Collection of bigleaf hydrangeas is the most successful plant introduction this century. Hydrangeas are second only to roses as an ornamental crop. What is the story behind this spectacularly successful brand that has sold over 30 million hydrangeas since 2004? What has been Dr. Michael Dirr’s involvement in this venture? What’s next for this line of repeat bloomers? We preview the newest introduction in this series of hydrangeas to be available in the spring of 2023.
“Go Wild with Hydrangeas”
Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) – sometimes known as wild hydrangea – is best typified by the popular, 100-year-old variety ‘Annabelle.’ These fool-proof bloomers are native plants that look spectacular in mass plantings. Several new dwarf and colorful varieties being introduced currently suggest we are on the crest of a wave of popularity of these underappreciated hydrangeas.
“Panicle Hydrangeas – the Hardy Hydrangea”
Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) seem to be exploding in popularity in recent years – beginning with the introduction of ‘Limelight.’ Unlike the other hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas are sun tolerant and can extend the bloom season from July to October. Discover the reliable old varieties as well as the newest cultivars (Limelight, Little Lime, Pinky Winky, Little Quick Fire, Bobo, White Wedding, etc.) that have been introduced in the last twenty years.
“I Got Those Hydrangea Blues”
Want to experiment with the color of your French hydrangeas? Can I make my pale, pastel pink and blue blooms more vivid? How do I get purple blooms? It was blue when I bought it, but now it’s coming up pink! Want to have a scientific understanding of the color processes taking place inside your French hydrangeas? What practical steps can I take to tweak the bloom color? In this PowerPoint program we will explore all the factors that determine bloom color of French Hydrangeas.
Hydrangeas benefit from pruning, but not pruning is better than improper pruning. There is confusion among gardeners about the correct time and proper method for pruning oakleaf, bigleaf, panicle, and smooth hydrangeas. What’s worse, a lot of bogus information is floating around on the internet. This PowerPoint program and accompanying handout will lead you to proven best practices.
“Hydrangea Winter Pruning and Propagation”
This is a timely program for January or February. Panicle hydrangeas (think ‘Limelight’) and smooth hydrangeas (think ‘Annabelle’) are the two hydrangea species that bloom on new wood and benefit from annual late winter pruning. Their pruning methods are quite different in order to achieve the optimum plant form and maximum blooms. The plant stems removed in the pruning process can be prepared as hardwood cuttings for easy propagation of these hydrangeas.
“Easy-Prop” Hydrangea Propagation
Learn an easy and reliable way to grow hydrangeas from cuttings taken in early summer. Using inexpensive, easily available supplies, backyard gardeners can grow hydrangeas in quantity without the need for a greenhouse, misting system, or other professional equipment.
“Aromi Azaleas – Native Azaleas from an Alabama Native’”
Dr. Eugene Aromi was a Mobile native, university professor, and “amateur” gardener. Around 1970 he began experimenting crossing deciduous azaleas native to Mobile County with the elaborately and colorfully blooming English hybrids known as Exbury azaleas. His goal was to produce superior blooming deciduous azalea hybrids that could stand up to south Alabama’s heat and humidity. Dr. Aromi carried out over 1,000 crosses and evaluated over 50,000 plants – of which he selected just over 100 to be named. This PowerPoint program reviews the history of hybridizing azaleas and shows beautiful photos of Dr. Aromi’s life’s work.
“Native Azaleas for Alabama Gardens”
This PowerPoint program describes the dozen native azaleas that the Alabama Cooperative Extension System suggests should grow well in Alabama. It also describes popular selections and hybrid series, including the Aromi, Confederate, and Auburn series of deciduous azalea hybrids. Native azalea planting, culture, and landscaping considerations are also discussed.
“Native Azaleas of Aldridge Gardens”
In recent years Aldridge Gardens has planted hundreds of deciduous azaleas around its lake and pavilion area. This PowerPoint program presents many of the Alabama-bred Aromi and Confederate Series hybrids, as well as common species and selections making up this large plant collection.
“Surprising Things I Learned in Master Gardener’s Class”
This program seeks to set the record straight on many gardening myths. Topics include the latest Extension System’s advice on correct planting techniques for trees and shrubs. We’ll cover surprising soil test results and popular garden center products with no demonstratable benefit.
“Garden Reference Books and Resources – A review of indispensable garden reference books”
Certain garden books have proved so useful to have available for quick reference that every gardener should own a copy. Other books will inspire you with gardening ideas and make great reading during dreary winter months. Certain southern writers give the best advice on what really works in our hot climate. This program reviews my favorite garden reference books in a variety of categories. Handouts list a bibliography with brief summary of each book.
This program discusses what takes place in the subsequent growth of a shrub when it is pruned and explains the various types of pruning cuts. It offers practical specific advice on the proper way to prune many of the most common ornamental shrubs and trees found in Southern gardens.
“Planting, Transplanting, and Repotting Trees and Shrubs”
Improper planting is the #1 cause of a shortened life for trees and shrubs planted in residential and commercial sites. This program covers the latest research-based recommendations and best practices for how one should plant, transplant, or repot.
“Aldridge Gardens Group Tour” (a field trip to Aldridge Gardens)
An hour-long walking tour of Aldridge Gardens (3530 Lorna Rd., Hoover, AL) with particular attention to its impressive Hydrangea and native azalea collections. We’ll also cover the history of Aldridge Gardens and Mr. Eddie Aldridge’s contribution of the Snowflake and Harmony oakleaf hydrangeas.
“A Walking Tour of the Aldridge Gardens Japanese Maple Trail” (a field trip to Aldridge Gardens)
An hour-long walking tour at Aldridge Gardens (3530 Lorna Rd., Hoover, AL) to study some of the 50+ Japanese maple varieties planted there. The ideal time of year for this tour is April or May in order to observe the vivid leaf color of new spring growth.
Updated September 2022