Fantastic Fantasy Plants – Botanist to the Stars

December 23, 2009 by Rick

Last night we took our 17 year old Nephew to see AVATAR. PG-13 If you just go see this as a plant person you will enjoy the amazing eye candy in 3D. James Cameron gives us an amazing video of imaginary plants and plant like creatures that will push your fantasy button throughout this 2 hour and 40 minute ride. The 3D effect adds much to the experience. It is an experience. It will wear you out watching it. Cameron and crew did a great job creating these plants.

For 2 years, Jodie Holt of UC Riverside, advised Cameron on many botanical elements that added to the realism and components that will be used in the AVATAR game. She advised him on important things like that the plants must be green, not blue! Blue people? That’s ok. She is the new “Botanist to the Stars” as related in this article. You knew there had to be a botanist behind some of this. For sure, the story is predictable and extremely violent with a happy ending to fit the successful movie formula but the effects are so appealing that I recommend you see it. You and the younger folks might even gain a better appreciation for our real natural world and that would be a good thing. I will be looking for those Pandora Friendly Plants at a Home Depot garden center this spring.

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Butterfly World - A Florida Treasure

December 22, 2009 by Rick

Remembering a Great Horticulturalist

December 22, 2009 by Rick

A great American innovator and leader passed away at the age of 63 in his greenhouse on Saturday morning. Tom VanWingerden is responsible for driving innovation in our industry that produced better quality plants at lower prices for more enjoyment of the American gardener. Tom helped set the standards for bedding and potted flower production in North America. He contributed to a higher standard of living for many Americans who garden and enjoy plants at affordable prices.

When I was a 19 year old working for a retailer in Atlanta, I was amazed by the plants Tom produced and delivered to our store on his racks loaded on flatbed semi trailers. The quality and value opened my eyes to the world of high tech horticulture and inspired me to seek my place in the business of growing beautiful and useful plants that people want to buy for their enjoyment around their homes.

Tom and his family are founders and supporters of charities that are far better than handout organizations. If you teach people how to farm or how to fish you instill pride and a continuation of life for those people.

Double Harvest – Haiti
Tom VanWingerden Memorial Fund
55 South Main Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
www.DoubleHarvest.org
440-714-1694

Read more on this tragic accident and his life in The Charlotte Observer

On a recent trip to Guatemala I toured with a group of growers to another facility where VanWingerden family members Ed and Ron built a greenhouse range at Oro Farms. They teach the local Guatemalans how to produce cluster tomatoes to fulfill contracts for Delmonte.

They are building the hospital, school, church and the greenhouse to support the people in a sustainable community. Royal Heins of Oro Farms explains the details in this video.

 

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Florida Friendly Busch Gardens

December 20, 2009 by Rick

In the past on a visit to Busch Gardens, celebrating 50 years of gardens, you would have seen ten thousand thirsty azaleas in magnificent displays of color. Most prominently in the spring but there were fall and winter blooming azaleas too. Flash forward to today and we have millions of residents and visitors competing for a limited amount of springtime dry season water in our coastal communities. The amazing gardeners and planners at Busch Gardens have transformed this theme park into a paradise of color using Florida Friendly Landscaping techniques and Florida Friendly Plants. Gone are the big brass rainbird sprinklers going clack-clack-clack as they sprayed millions of gallons of water into the air with only 50% hitting targeted thirsty azaleas. Today you see drip and micro irrigation. Well targeted sprays and extensive areas that rely on only rainfall. Annuals are used judiciously for color impact. Containers are planted and placed where they use less water and put on spectacular displays of color. Rain water is collected and reused. Busch Gardens recycles and follows the 9 principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping. Enjoy this slideshow and see if you can get any ideas to help you beautify your own garden with long lasting and efficient colorful plants.

 

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Florida Friendly Flowers

December 18, 2009 by Rick

Polk County Florida Yards and Neighborhoods slideshow. Plan to add some flowers to your Florida Friendly Landscape in 2010. See all their images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/polkfyn/

Links to Help from FYN and The Cooperative Extension Service.

 

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Categories: U of F Cooperative Extension Service | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Butterfly Garden | Cold Hardy Perennial | Design | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape
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Greenhouse crop production training course offered online

December 15, 2009 by Rick

Many of us want to continue our education and on-line learning is a great way to do so. I am sure you will find this a value if you are an avid gardener and like the details about growing plants to high quality standards. You might even want to learn more about commercial plant production. My friend, Dr Charlie Hall, has this information for us.

COLLEGE STATION – A self-directed online course is being offered for greenhouse employees nationwide, according to Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University Ellison Chair in International Floriculture.

The course provides introductory-level information about the greenhouse industry plus learning models on greenhouse crop production from beginning to end, controlling insects and diseases, and shipping and handling procedures, Hall noted.

"One of the unique features of this training is that it is offered in English and Spanish," Hall said. "With the increased number of Hispanic workers in the green industry, this training series provides a valuable service to the industry by providing employees who are new to the industry with an overview of what greenhouse production of floral crops is all about."

Videos are used throughout the course sections, and the instruction is available in both languages with transcripts available for downloading.

The course costs $55 and is available through eXtension, an online collaboration among the Cooperative Extension System which includes the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. People can enroll at any time and receive a “key” to the site which is valid for 90 days.

The course is located at http://campus.extension.org under the gardening and horticulture section. Registration for the course may be completed at http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu under "Online Courses."

"We are excited about our partnership with eXtension because it enables us to provide these materials nationwide, with support from over 70 land-grant institutions," Hall added.

"The eXtension website is a space where university content providers can gather and produce new educational and information resources on wide-ranging topics."

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Categories: Drip Irrigation | Environmental Awareness Education | Container Gardening | Plant Production
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Guatemala Relief Map

December 14, 2009 by Rick

After arriving in Guatemala City, home to 3 million people, I toured the city and learned many facts about the people and culture I would be visiting for the week. The purpose of my trip was to learn what the protocols for growing and shipping disease free cuttings and hybrid seeds from this country of eternal spring.

Parque Minerva in the North side of Zone 1about 1.5 miles. Made between 1904 and 1905 by the engineer Francisco Vela Irrisario, this is a unique and amazingly detailed three-dimensional map of the country in concrete. How could he do this without computers?

Francisco Vela 12-7-2009 5-11-42 PM

From the visitors' observation box you can see the flow of the country's rivers and lakes. The 108,889-square kilometers that make up the Republic of Guatemala are accurately condensed into only 1,800 square meters.

Guatemala Relief Map 12-7-2009 4-50-20 PM

To see all the rivers, volcanoes, mountains, valleys, and the coast laid out before you gives a viewer good insight for starting a tour around the country. We made a 3 1/2 hour trip to Jalapa to visit Ball Seed Company and Goldsmith Seed Company. Extremely interesting country, people and landscape.

Jalapa Relief Map 12-7-2009 5-03-20 PM

At Goldsmith Seed Company we saw how Mammoth Pansies are pollinated by hand. No bees allowed!

 

In conjunction with our trip, Don and Ruth Snow drove and donated their Toyota pickup from Gilroy California to a Jalapa orphanage for use in medical distribution and care. Follow their quest here. http://www.jalapabound.blogspot.com/ and if it is in your heart, please make a donation to them at http://www.lampcharity.org/donate 

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Visit the Naples Botanical Garden

December 12, 2009 by Rick

 Naples Garden

Recently they had their grand opening of their new and extensive tropical habitat gardens. You will learn many things when you visit.  If you have not been to Naples in a while you will be impressed at how beautiful and colorful the city is now. The 2 Home Depot stores in Naples have some of the busiest and best stocked garden centers in Florida selling Florida Friendly Plants that brighten gardens with lasting color. Check out their butterfly pavilion at the Naples Botanical Garden.

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Latin American Medical Providers

December 7, 2009 by Rick

Today is the day Old Red gets transferred from Don Snow to the Latin American Medical Providers.

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Follow their quest here. http://www.jalapabound.blogspot.com/ and if it is in your heart, please make a donation to them at http://www.lampcharity.org/donate 

I am off to the airport now to meet Don in Guatemala and learn more about their culture and see how they are so happy living on $2 as day as the national average. We will be visiting farms that employ several thousand people who make good wages and are vital in supporting this tiny economy in the Land of Eternal Spring, Guatemala (land of trees). Stay tuned.

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Missing the Snow?

December 7, 2009 by Rick

 

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