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Archives for February 4, 2016

City government using more native plants in landscaping, street trees

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Plants the City of Fort Wayne recommends for use in its parks and street projects include:

* Flowers: New England aster, tall coreopsis, purple coneflower, marsh blazing star, cardinal flower, black-eyed Susan

* Grasses and sedges: Big bluestem grass, side-oats grama, prairie oval sedge, meadow sedge, switch grass

* Shrubs and trees: Red maple, serviceberry, river birch, tulip poplar, sweetgum, pin oak, American cranberry bush, arrowwood viburnum

For the complete list, go to


Riverview Nursery, 5635 DeKalb County Road 72, Spencerville, sells native plants. For information, call 704-5092, email or go to Upcoming plant sales listed include:

* 1-5 p.m. April 24, Earth Day event at Little River Wetlands Project, 6801 Engle Road, Fort Wayne

* 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 7, Rural Art Studio Tour stop at Riverview Nursery in Spencerville

* May 13-14, Master Gardener Plant Sale, Allen County office of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, 4001 Crescent Ave. on the IPFW campus

* 9 a.m.-noon May 28, rain garden and native plant sale, Salomon Farm Park, 817 W. Dupont Road.


* Information:

* Upcoming rain garden workshops: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 2, Tecumseh Branch Library, 1411 E. State Blvd.; 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 9, Aboite Branch Library, 5630 Coventry Lane; 1:30-4:30 p.m. May 7, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, 4001 Crescent Ave.; and 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May 21, Dupont Branch Library, 536 E. Dupont Road. The workshops are free, but people are asked to register in advance by calling 311 or 427-8311.

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Master Gardener: Kids in the garden

One of the greatest gifts we as gardeners can give is sharing what we love with those we love. Who better to share our love, experience and garden wisdom with than our little ones? Children are such natural gardeners: curious, full of wonder, busy and always ready to help. We can promote health, learning, respect for nature and a chance to interact with the environment while providing a safe, fun, stimulating and sensory experience.

Children of all ages enjoy and benefit from time in the garden. Even at a very early age, they are ready for some tasks. The enthusiasm of little gardeners is contagious, their questions keep you sharp, the hands-on learning is so unique and the one-on-one lessons you provide promote responsibility, patience, health, life skills and character.

As children experience and learn in the garden, they will let you know what they love and do well there. My first memories are of time spent in the garden with my grandmother filling my apron with Tommy Toes while she gathered dinner. To my daughter, watering and planting seeds were the prize jobs, but exploring smells and sneaking tomatoes were a close second. Her siblings loved harvesting the miracles they brought forth. My grandson knew his job the moment he arrived in the garden: pick and eat everything red!

Gardening with older children in a school setting offers many opportunities for students to teach each other, correlate with classroom curriculum, learn how to grow their own, understand their roles and responsibilities in successful gardening, develop good nutritional habits and take control of their own health. While school gardens provide venues for hands-on experiences, entrepreneurial skills, relationship and team building, responsibility and leadership skills, they are not accessible to all children. Taking on that job at home can provide the same instruction, strengthen skills and promote family values and interaction as well.

Time spent with kids in the garden allows you both new experiences and new memories. Children are empowered in the garden in many ways, learning good eating habits, relationship building, problem-solving, controlling their own health, engaging in physical activity, and learning self- and community-sustaining skills. Take advantage of teaching and learning opportunities, encourage exploration, experimentation, playing and eating. And don’t forget: They are outside and active!

Make your time gardening with children special, interesting and fun. Let children help in planning, preparing, planting, caring and harvesting your garden. Teach them the basics: soil, seeds, food, pollinators and all that is nature.

Your goal to be productive in the garden on these days may not be realistic, because your triumphs will not be what you expected. Instead, you may end up on a lizard hunt or digging for worms or counting seeds in a sunflower head.

Have fun. Be patient. Teach. Children learn in so many ways. Make every moment count in teaching kids as they will constantly reward you with reminders of how you came to love your garden. Let the children lead you into your new adventures in gardening.

Pamela Van Hoozer is a Master Gardener volunteer with Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening and landscaping in Nevada, contact a Master Gardener at or 775-336-0265, or visit

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Have a garden plan that includes good bones

Beverly Martin is proud of the love she has for nature because it follows in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother.

“My mother created a beautiful garden carving out beds on a heavily shaded, root riddled rocky slope,” says Martin, who lives and gardens in southeastern Virginia. She’s also the landscape design consultant for Countryside Gardens in Hampton, Va. —

“Of course we kids were enlisted to help, weeding and digging, and we each learned a bit in the process. I did not fully appreciate her efforts till I had a place to call my own.

“I made all the mistakes young homebuyers still make today. Purchasing only flowers to start out, not amending the soil, narrow beds, planting things too close together.”

While stationed in England, Martin fell in love with the English landscapes and decided one day she would study landscape design.

Back in the United States, Martin fulfilled her dream to study landscaping design, and earned a landscape design certificate at the University of Richmond.

“I believe it is a civic duty to maintain your property in a way that is beneficial to the environment,” says Martin.

“If you can add beauty to your neighborhood and increase neighborhood pride at the same time, why wouldn’t you?”

10 landscape design tips

Start with the basics. Make a list of your wants and assess your planting site, such as sun, shade, soil, drainage, wind, noise, existing features, utilities etc. Figure out what stays, what goes and what needs to be fixed.

Think about “bones,” or structure in the garden — what will be there year-round such as trees, shrubs or larger structures.

Plan a backdrop, which can double as privacy or a windbreak. This is also part of the “bones.” You can use shrubs, fencing or walls, basically anything that separates your space from the rest of the world and makes it your own.

Pick a style and carry it throughout your yard. Geometric beds, straight beds or curving bed lines? Tight clipped shrubs, topiaries or loose natural forms? Mulched paths, wooden boardwalks or brick walks? Whatever you choose, use the same materials everywhere to create harmony.

If you choose rounded lines, create long flowing bed lines or sweeping curves that are easier to mow around and draw you into the space.

Address all growing issues before choosing plants — poor soil, drainage, seasonal flooding as well as wildlife such as plant-eating deer.

Plant flowers in masses of color in all spaces, large or small. Color scattered everywhere creates disjointed gardens and poor visual impact.

Consider your surroundings. Your neighbors’ landscape may affect yours — tree roots, drainage, shade or view. If it’s nice you can open up the view and create the illusion that it’s part of yours; if not use your landscape to hide it.

Use focal points to catch the eye and draw you in. You can’t go wrong with a bench, birdbath or tasteful small fountain; however, too many ‘focal points’ — and by this I mean garden tchotchkes — can trash up your yard and make it look like a flea market. If you must have tchotchkes a good rule of thumb is only one should be visible from any location in the garden at a time.

Include paths with purpose. Paths are great to get you from point A to point B in the landscape, but a path that goes nowhere is a disappointment to visitors. Put something special at the destination.

5 mistakes and fixes

Mistakes homeowners often make and how to correct them:

Not having a plan leads to buying plants on a whim, which ends up wasting time and money. Start with a plan in mind.

Not adding structure — “bones” — to the garden first. While it’s more fun to purchase all the pretty flowers, a landscape without structure is just a flowerbed. Start with a plan in mind.

Not thinking big enough, whether it be the size of the planting beds or the size of the plants they purchase. Going small shows a lack of confidence. Confidence comes with experience. If you don’t have it, find a professional you trust who does and work with them.

Buying quantity vs. quality or over buying — an overplanted landscape requires significantly more maintenance. Plan your plantings according to how big the plants will get — and remember if plants are happy they continue to grow. Having a plan ensures you won’t end up with a lot of plants you don’t really want or have room for.

Buying just flowers because they’re pretty — this results in a naked yard in winter. Enjoyable, eye-catching landscapes look good all year, and include trees, shrubs and perennials for fall and winter displays.

Not being realistic about how much time will be devoted to landscape maintenance. Combine multiple small beds into one large bed for easier mowing and edging. Start beds with trees and blooming shrubs — they’re easier to maintain than fussy flowerbeds.

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The 6th Annual International Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards Call for 2016 Entries – Virtual

A’ International Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards organized yearly by A’ Design Award Competition Announces Call for Entries 2016

Como, Italy (PRWEB) February 03, 2016

A’ Design Award Competition has released its 2016 call for entries to the Annual International Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards. The A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Award is looking for outstanding project by Landscape Designers, Urban Planners, Garden Designers, Municipalities and Landscape Design Companies from all over the world.

The A’ International Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards is free to enter, projects from Landscape Designers, Urban Planners, Garden Designers, Municipalities and Landscape Design Companies can be submitted at A’ Design Awards for 2016 competition period. Firstly, uploaded works will be evaluated with a preliminary score. Projects that pass the preliminaries can proceed with nomination, however it shall be noted in advance that there is a fee to be paid as a last step of nominating design for Landscape Planning Awards jury consideration.

Deadline for entries to the 6th Annual A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards is on February 28, 2016. Winners of the A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards 2016 will be announced on April 15.

Every winner of the International A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards will be granted the highly coveted A’ Design Prize which contains a series of PR, marketing and publicity tools to celebrate the winning status of the Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards. Moreover, the A’ Design Prize for A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards includes: Design Excellence Certificate, Lifetime license to use Design Awards Winner Logo, Yearbook of Best Designs, Exhibitions of Awarded Works in Italy, Exclusive Design Award Trophy, Two-Person Invitation to A’ Design Awards’ Gala-Nigh as well as inclusion in World Design Rankings.

In addition all the laureates of the A’ International Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards will also get an exclusive interview which will be published at Designer Interviews website as well as included in the Press Kits. The Winners’ Press Kits are distributed among thousands of press members who have gained press accreditation from A’ Design Awards together with the world’s most prestigious magazines and blogs.

About the A’ Landscape Planning Design Awards

The International A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards organized by A’ Design Award Competition has been established to recognize the best design works by Landscape Designers, Urban Planners, Garden Designers, Municipalities and Landscape Design Companies from across the globe. The International A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards aims to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by recognizing the best designs in every country. The ultimate aim of the A’ Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards is to push designers, companies and brands worldwide to develop outstanding and innovative projects that will benefit society and create value for future generations.

To learn more about the A’ Design Awards and the A’ International Landscape Planning and Garden Design Awards please visit

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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Jack deLashmet, Garden Designer, Was 58

Jack Ingram deLashmet, a renowned landscape architect and garden designer whose sense of humor and courtly Southern manner charmed friends and clients, died at Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson on Sunday after a long illness. He was 58.

Mr. deLashmet moved to the East End in 2000 and opened his firm, deLashmet and Associates, soon afterward.

In a 2011 article in The Star, he said, “It’s a beautiful place, but all of my reasons for being here were career-driven.” He commented that the area “has people who have the resources for gardens and is full of an increasingly environmentally conscious group of people with whom you are designing.” The firm completed notable landscape projects and historic garden restorations throughout the United States and Europe. Its work has been seen in Town and Country, Elle Décor, House and Garden, and Architectural Digest, among other publications, and was featured in the books “Hamptons Havens” and “Houses of the Hamptons, 1880-1930.” His bestselling book, “Hamptons Gardens,” was published by Assouline in 2011.

One of his East End clients, Susan Dusenberry, wrote, “His loss is profound. He was a tremendously unique person of various and crazy talents. His early season concept of radiating rows of plantings, mimicking the dunes below my house, was really Jack at his best.”

He was born on Jan. 25, 1958, in Jackson, Miss., to Dr. John I. deLashmet and the former Katherine (Pete) Wicks. He grew up in nearby Clinton, where his maternal grandparents, Garden Club of America members, lived at Wickstead, an estate whose gardens set him on the path he followed most of his life.

After studying urban planning at the University of Mississippi, Mr. deLashmet detoured for a successful turn on Wall Street before resuming landscape studies at Georgia Tech, the Inchbald School of Design in London, and the English Gardening School, also in London.

Before his move to New York, he had lived and worked in Greensboro, N.C., where he was executive director of the Triad Health Project, an organization that served the region’s H.I.V./AIDS population. His environmental, human rights, and H.I.V. fund-raising efforts led to his being named one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans in 1996, and he was honored as an “Unsung Hero” by the city of Atlanta for tree-saving efforts there.

He was a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Institute of Architects, Garden Writers Association, Institute of Classical Architecture, and the Mississippi Society of Arts and Letters.

Mr. deLashmet is survived by Geoffrey Nimmer, his former companion and longtime friend, two sisters, Katherine Ann deLashmet Wheeler and Jeannine de- Lashmet Anderson, and a brother, Arthur T. deLashmet, as well as eight nieces and nephews. His siblings live in Mississippi.

A memorial service will be held next Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Bridgehampton, of which he was a member. The Rev. Timothy Allen will officiate. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring.

Memorial contributions have been suggested to God’s Love We Deliver, 166 Avenue of the Americas, New York City 10013 or to Good Shepherd Hospice, 200 Belle Terre Road, Port Jefferson 11777.

Sallie White, a friend of Mr. deLashmet’s for 25 years, spoke of him this week, saying, “Jack was one of the most extraordinary, talented, brilliant, and imaginative humans to grace our planet. His wit and humor were legendary. He was the toast of every town and the brightest light in every room. Jack left the world a more beautiful, wondrous, and joyful place for his having visited, and he will be missed beyond words.”

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Widespread Panic’s John Bell talks beginnings, David Bowie, setlists, new LP

The last time John Bell drove by the Athens, Ga.-area house where he, Mikey Houser and Dave Schools were all living in 1986 when they formed Widespread Panic was just before this past Christmas. Bell, the band’s rascally-voiced singer/songwriter, doesn’t go to Athens much anymore. But he was in town to donate some musical equipment to a local cause.

“I think it’s changed hands a couple, few times since we were living there,” Bell says of Widespread’s early residence. “And they’ve done a nice job landscaping. We used to park on the lawn there – now there’s a real lawn. [Laughs.] We used to play at the Uptown Lounge, we had a regular Monday night gig and we would pack our stuff up and then we’d have a party, much to the dismay of our councilman next door. We’d have maybe 30, 40 people over after the show and kind of keep it going until the sun rises.”

Thirty years down the line, Widespread Panic stands as one of the most beloved and respected bands in improvisational rock – OK, jam-bands if you must. Like anything or anyone else, time has brought changes and challenges since their days living under one roof. Most notably, Houser, the group’s lead guitarist, passed away in 2002 from pancreatic cancer. However original members Bell, bassist Schools and drummer Todd Nance remain as does percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz, who joined early on. The band’s current lineup also features longtime keyboardist JoJo Hermann and guitarist Jimmy Herring.

Widespread released their debut album “Space Wrangler” in 1988. And their 12th studio album, “Street Dogs,” in autumn 2015. The two LP are more similar than one would typically expect given all the miles between them – a transient, natural mix of rock, blues, folk and jazz. “Space Wrangler” is anchored by such cuts as “Chilly Water,” the title track and “Driving Song.” “Street Dog” highlights include “Sell Sell,” “Angels Don’t Sing the Blues” and “Jamais Vu (The World Has Changed).”

The band’s current tour itinerary includes concerts in Huntsville (7:30 pm. Feb. 16, Von Braun Center Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, 700 Monroe St.) and Mobile (7:30 p.m. Feb. 17, Mobile Civic Center Theater, 401 Civic Center Drive). Although both of those shows have sold-out, tickets can be found on secondary marketplaces StubHub and VividSeats.  On April 23, Widespread will perform at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena at The BJCC (2100 Richard Arrington, Blvd. N.) with tickets going on sale 10 a.m. Feb. 26 via, with fellow master-class jammers Tedeschi Trucks Band opening the show.

When Bell calls in for this recent phone interview, he’s seated in a zero-gravity chair in a room surrounded by 16 Energy Enhancement System computers, inside the Clarksville, Ga. wellness center he and his wife own.

John, one of things I’ve always thought was interesting about your singing is the “feel” to it. On the new album “Street Dogs,” on “Sell Sell” you do this yowl after the guitar solo and on “Cease Fire” you deliver the title phrase with panache. Do the best vocal ideas come first? Or are they honed over time?

I guess the best answer would be you get the best ideas, the best inspirations in the first handful, while the thing’s coming together with the band while everyone’s feeling out the arrangement. That’s usually when all the big ideas become evident and you can latch onto them but if it went on too long you start to overthink or you might come up with too many ideas and it might get a little silly, you know? So it’s towards the beginning although I wouldn’t say it was right off the bat although stuff does come. That’s basically what we were trying to capture (on the “Street Dogs” album) was getting the most authentic feeling of spontaneity and keep it in a form where the ideas were flowing and there was some excitement there and we were avoiding overdubbing as much as possible.

Cover art for Widespread Panic’s 2015 album “Street Dogs.” (Courtesy All Eyes Media)

Thirty years in, does Widespread Panic really need to do pre-tour rehearsals at this point? Do you still do them?

For the most part we do it for the crew’s benefit as well. Because we’ll call it a production day. We’re about to go to Mexico so production day will be the day before, so basically we’ll wring out the system and there will be a little bit more extensive soundcheck so you can dial up, make sure your (sound) monitors are the way you like them and your tones are how you like them and all your equipment’s running well before the salt air gets to it. And it feels good too. It’s like hitting balls before you go out on the golf course. Even if you just played the day before you’ve still got a little rust on you.

The band covered David Bowie’s “Heroes” live on New Year’s Eve. What did Bowie’s music mean to you and what inspiration did you draw from it?

Well, I was born in ’62 so we got a good dose of him on the radio and growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, that was a fairly progressive rock ‘n’ roll world at the time and so he did not slip by us. [Laughs.] Basically I remember my impression being here was this trippy cat that the music was different but really good. A lot of it sounded different without trying to be different, you know?

Widespread Panic is known for mixing interesting covers into the setlists. When you play Widespread songs from the band’s first couple, early albums, does that material now feel like covers to you, given the time that’s gone by?

Uh no, they just seem like familiar old friends. The thing that really strikes me is when you think of the early days of writing and stuff when we were all scratching by financially and all living in the same house and writing songs together. You’ll remember the moment we wrote it together or parts of it or certain lyrics and stuff like that, where they came up and where you were in your relationship with you buddies. So that’s kind of cool.

Your band has a long-held mantra of not repeating a song in X number of shows. But has a song ever slipped past whatever internal process Widespread has for putting together setlists and the band accidentally played the same song back-to-back shows?

Not that bad. But there could be once in a while that one, if you thought about it you would have let it rest a couple more shows but not a next night kind of thing. Actually there was one time though … Oh, it’s a Motorhead tune…

“Ace of Spades”?

Yeah, “Ace of Spades.” We screwed it up so when we finally limped our way through and finished it we looked at each other and decided to play it again. So we actually played the same song twice in row and that happened just a couple years ago.

There are many, many Widespread fans that have each seen many, many Widespread concerts. Who are some artists you’ve seen the most concerts by?

Oh, that’s a good question because I don’t have the opportunity to go to concerts much anymore but I did before I was in a band or playing music myself, in a professional capacity. But I used to go to concerts all the time. In my college days I probably saw Stevie Ray Vaughan the most and in high school the same folks would come around. That would be James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Chicago. America. Doobie Brothers. And then we had local bands we’d go see, sometimes every weekend. There was a great reggae band called the Itals. The Itals, that was probably the band I saw the most because they were a Cleveland based band so I saw them from high school on, but also they were a touring band and so I’d see them in Athens and Hilton Head and places like that and got to know the cats. I hope they’re doing well. I haven’t heard about them in a long time.

What’s the best way to signal onstage for when it’s time for Widespread to bring a jam to a close? Is it by eye contact or do you listen for a certain lick or whatever?

Well if everybody’s outside their own head, then in the best of all worlds the group intuitively knows and it really is a feeling of you just know. Even if you’re working in a musical space you haven’t been before. It’s like you’re speaking a collective sentence or paragraph and you know that this is the conclusion. So you can have your eyes closed, you don’t have to nod or anything. Now, a lot of times people are inside their own head so sometimes your intuition you’re not that positive about it so you might look up and say, “It feels like we might be winding this up. Are you feeling that same way?” And that’s a knowing look and you recognize that. So it comes in variety of ways. Because you’re not in a perfectly attentive mood unless you’re a profound expert at meditation that moment can be elusive.  The part you want to avoid is forcing to come down because there might still be some magic left there. There might still be some inspiration on the table.

Widespread Panic was the first band you were ever in. Do you think there’s been any advantage to that?

Well, I hope so because I’ve got no choice now. [Laughs.] What you do notice is we were very fortunate to have each other’s backs and stay together as a band and for the most part everybody’s agenda was unanimous and nobody came with other ideas of how things should be. Or being a poseur or getting all the credit and stuff like this. Some of the trappings of being in and out of a lot of bands you kind of become self-protective and we were fortunate in that we had nothing to lose so we were protective of each other.

Widespread Panic. (Courtesy Andy Tennille) 

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Horticulture Student has Fruitful IDEA

You may not have heard of it yet, but demand for Aronia berry, also known as chokeberry, is on the rise. Recent research shows the edible fruit and supposed “superfood” is extremely high in antioxidants and contains a myriad of health benefits. It’s also a native plant that grows well in North America and could command a high price for farmers. But there’s a problem.

Aronia mitschurinii grows on a bush, similar to blueberries, but the fruit gets so heavy that the branches droop low to the ground. Because of their size, mechanical harvesters that clear huge tracts of land miss everything below a 2-foot threshold – about a third of the fruit on an Aronia bush.

“That’s one-third of your profits sitting in the field, so that just makes it unrealistic [to grow Aronia berry commercially],” says Nathan Wojtyna ’16 (CAHNR).

Mark Brand, left, professor of plant science and landscaping, and Nathan Wojtyna '16 (CAHNR) look over grafted Aronia mitschurinii plants at the Floriculture Greenhouse on May 1, 2015. This project was funded by an IDEA grant. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Mark Brand, left, professor of plant science, and Nathan Wojtyna ’16 (CAHNR) inspect grafted Aronia mitschurinii plants at the Floriculture Greenhouse. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

At the beginning of his junior year, when Wojtyna asked horticulture professor Mark Brand if there were any interesting research projects he could take on, Brand told him about the emails he had received from growers in the Midwest who wanted help figuring out how to make growing Aronia economically feasible.

Wojtyna, a horticulture and resource economics major, was awarded a UConn IDEA grant in fall 2014 to pursue the project.

The IDEA grants program is designed to provide undergraduates in any major a stipend of up to $4,000 to develop innovative, creative, and personally meaningful projects. While the ideas don’t have to be tied to a major or minor field of study, they do need to be guided by a student’s academic goals and plans for the future.

Wojtyna, who came to UConn planning to study pre-med before shifting gears and studying plants on a molecular and cellular level in plant science professor Gerald Berkowitz’s lab, eventually realized he wanted to perform practical research that could be applied to improving farming processes.

To solve the Aronia problem, Wojtyna and Brand decided to implement a concept found in nature called grafting, where the tissues of two plants essentially fuse together to create a new connected plant. One plant forms the rootstock, and the other the scion – the part that produces the shoots. The technique is used to create plants like weeping cherry trees, vineyard grapevines, and apple orchard trees.

Nathan Wojtyna '16 (CAHNR) grafts Aronia mitschurinii plants at the Floriculture Greenhouse on May 1, 2015. This project was funded by an IDEA grant. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Nathan Wojtyna ’16 (CAHNR) peels away the bark prior to grafting Aronia mitschurinii to another species of tree in order to control the height at which the fruit begins to grow. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

“We literally graft them together – take one plant, peel the bark away. It’s kind of like when you heal a cut, and your body stitches it up,” says Wojtyna. “We do the same thing. Wound both of them, and then attach them together. Plants, if they’re close enough [species], have a cool thing where they actually knit together and function as a single plant.”

Aronia grows from the ground, with all the shoots and trunks meeting in one spot, so it can’t be pruned like a tree to ensure all fruit-bearing branches are above the threshold, according to Wojtyna. The rationale of the project is to graft the bush at a height of 2 feet, so that the researchers control where the fruit-producing plant starts to grow. That way, all of the fruit should be able to be collected by the harvesters.

Wojtyna and Brand chose to try grafting Aronia to five different species of trees: Sorbus aucuparia (mountain-ash), Sorbus alnifonia (alder-leafed whitebeam), Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna (two types of hawthorn), and Pyrus communis (Bartlett pear).

They suspected the Sorbus species would work best because Sorbus and Aronia can pollinate each other. “Genetically, they already work together,” Wojtyna says. A commercial plant that’s a combination of the two called Sorbaronia already exists.

The other trees were included in the study to determine whether there was a more cost-effective option, Wojtyna says.

In the initial phase of the experiment, Sorbus aucuparia was the most successful. Scions grew from 61 percent of those grafted at the 6-inch point, and 53 percent at 2 feet. The Sorbus alnifonia grafts failed 50 percent of the time, something Wojtyna attributes to seasonal timing and shipping problems rather than incompatibility.

“The results are promising, although the process will need to be perfected to a 90 percent success rate before we can recommend this to the industry,” he says. “But this seems very feasible, considering the information we now have from this experiment.”

The Crataegus and Pyrus trials were less successful, with scions growing in 15 percent and 20 percent of the attempts, respectively, and many failing to graft at all.

The shoots on the Sorbus aucuparia grafts grew an average of 45 centimeters in a single season.

Now, the plants that worked are growing in a pit-house, partially in the ground and covered by a roof to protect them from their first winter. Then they’ll be planted in a field, where Brand will continue to study their growth and potentially repeat the experiment – Wojtyna is set to graduate in May.

“We need to see how it actually grows in the field, because you can’t tell a grower, ‘Cut down your acres of blueberry and put this in’ without having watched it grow in the field for a couple years and making sure it still works,” Wojtyna says.

If the plants succeed, Wojtyna and other researchers predict Aronia berries could become as ubiquitous as cranberries have in recent years.

Brand is also working with a nutritional researcher. Like cranberries, the antioxidants make the berry tart and difficult to eat. But, says Wojtyna, “sugar will make Aronia berries go a long way, along with ‘nutraceuticals,’ and what we understand about the healthy components of food.”

Wojtyna, who plans to pursue his Ph.D. in tree-fruit production systems at Cornell University starting this fall, hopes to continue solving similar problems for farmers. He plans to one day work as a university researcher who consults for the farming industry.

He says he is grateful for how the IDEA grant process has helped him learn to run his own research project, something that is a rare experience for an undergraduate.

“It has been extremely helpful in allowing me to understand a) how to write a grant, and b) how to work with and shape and follow through on the grant,” Wojtyna says. Previously, he had worked in private research companies where the projects were already set up.

“But this one being exclusively free-floating, figure-it-out — it was a whole new ballgame,” he says, “which was really great.”

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BANNING: Poetry festival celebrates historic roots – Press

BANNING: Poetry festival celebrates historic roots

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 Presenter Kim Marcus, of the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians, explains some rock art symbols during the Native Voices Poetry Festival in Banning on Jan. 23.

The second annual Native Voices Poetry Festival drew a large crowd to the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center in Banning on Jan. 23 to celebrate creativity with a Native American focus.

Organizer Ernest Siva, president and co-founder of the center, said this year’s event was about twice as large and offered many more activities for all ages.

“We intend to change some things each year, just in general,” Siva said. “We had a Literary Cafe, which featured poets presenting and exchanging ideas about poetry and interacting with one another. And, we added landscaping and native foods, with wonderful experts presenting their ideas and plants in our patio area.”

Nick Hummingbird, manager of the Arroyo Seco Foundation Nursery in Los Angeles, brought a display of potted indigenous plants for discussion and sale.

“I’m happy to say we sold over 20 plants to new homes within a new area in Southern California that needs native plants,” he said. “Essentially, California has 6,500 known indigenous plant species of which 300 to 400 are already extinct.”

Of the remaining plants, Hummingbird said more than half are in danger of extinction during the next 20 years due to human impacts such as global warming, development and invasive plants.

The Morongo School students contributed their art and poems for the first time, and Siva said he is hopeful the practice will endure.

Free workshops and activities included painting on a mural designed by art teacher Gloria Bell, who operates Studio 235 in Banning.

“The animals and desert plants I drew represent the different tribes, and the mural reflects the stories being told today,” she said.

Her husband, fiddle and mandolin player Bill Bell, performed an original ballad he wrote about Willie Boy – joined by Don Strandberg as vocalist and guitarist. Other singers and storytellers took center stage at the San Manuel Gathering Hall to share songs and dances.

“My favorite part is to share our stories and songs in our native languages, which are Serrano and Cahuilla,” Siva said. “This year we featured the Chumash culture by having Georgiana Sanchez and Dennis and Ted Garcia present stories and songs.”

Inside the Kids’ Room, Kim Marcus shared the history of rock art in the local area and what some commonly seen symbols represent as guests were given natural materials to work with, including ground red and black hematite.

“You are doing the same thing our people did thousands of years ago,” he said.

In the Native Garden at the rear of the center, Blossom Hathaway showed visitors how to make a paintbrush from yucca leaves.

“I was very fortunate to have been brought up immersed in our ways and have been teaching since I was about 18,” said Hathaway of Grand Terrace. “I like to teach kids how to identify native plants and about their uses.”


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