Posts Tagged With: ASHS

Collecting Botanical Data on Blueberry for Plant Patent and Releases

Each year there is a small window of opportunity to collect certain botanical data on blueberry. Data is collected for potential releases and plant patents. I work on both muscadines and blueberries, but right now, I’m knuckle deep in blueberry analysis for my boss.

Currently, time is of the essence to collect flowers and analyze their parts for numerous parameters including color, size, number, etc. In this photo, pollinated flowers are quickly becoming young blueberries.

How did I know what to collect? Well, I printed off plant patents and release documents for other blueberries. I refreshed myself with terminology I learned in Plant Taxonomy at the University of Arkansas. (I’m the nerd who carries around flash cards from graduate school so I can study and refresh when I have down time such as waiting at the doctor’s office).

I also had to Google search and find other USDA ARS, University Extension, and text book references to analyzing plant parts.

For the past few weeks here is what I have been working on:

Flower length; flower occurrence; flowering period; corolla color, length, diameter, and aperture; stigma length and color; style length, calyx diameter and color; stamen length, stamen color, anther length; the number of flowers per cluster; immature flower color; pollen abundance and color; flower pedicel color and length; flower peduncle color and length, and whether or not flowering occurs before, during or after leaf emergence. Using a RHS colour chart, means that you should be using north light, which I don’t really have. But I will use several attempts to verify each color and maintain consistency.

Image of blueberry pollen in a petri dish with the remaining flower part of style/stigma, calyx, pedicel and somewhere in that image, the stamen:

Image of late afternoon sun shining in on the half dissection view of stamen located inside the calyx :

Image of petri dish filled with male parts (stamen: filament and anther, and in the case of blueberry, each anther has  a pair of anther tubes):

 

Another blueberry image with description:

Another image where I am measuring a single stamen. The stamen measurement does not include the anther tubes. The light green yellow part is the filament. In the middle the darker orange brown is the anther:

Blueberry stamen image with petri dish sitting on one of my botanical description pages:

Blueberry stamen image where I placed the petri dish on my RHS colour chart for contrast:

 

Image of blueberry flowers in various stages:

Late afternoon sun shining on my laboratory blueberry cuttings:

 

Blueberry pollen image. This particular selection had a lot of pollen and the flowers were dry, making it easy to extract the pollen and collect it in the center of the dish with a paint brush:

Blueberry pollen color analysis:

Blueberry flower bracteoles:

Blueberry flower dissection:

Another image of me extracting pollen by gently rubbing and working the corolla (I’m milking it for all it is worth!):

For each I randomly take cuttings from various parts of the plant and of more than one plant when at all possible.  Usually, the cuttings are long enough for me to put in beakers of water so that I can continue to have a fresh supply of tissue to work with; however, I did put some small cuttings in the refrigerator last week, which worked well, except that moisture collected inside the corolla, making it nearly impossible to extract pollen from the anthers. (Tip!)

I hope this gives you an idea of just some of the “end” data collected on potential releases and plant patent applications. It is a bit of micro work. You do need to give your eyes a break. You will get a snoot full of pollen and probably be able to feel the itchy eyes and burning throat after a days work extracting pollen grains. But I do love it! And with some groovy tunes like my Disney, Classic Out West Westerns, Hawaiian, or Jimmy Buffett/Beach playlists, I can rock all day. Tomorrow? I’ll be playing my Mardi Gras playlist all day in the lab! Next week? Its St. Patrick’s Day music and I’ll do some jigs in between samples. You gotta take joy whenever you can get joy.

 

As a Certified Professional Horticulturist, an ISA Certified Arborist, with a B.S.A. in Landscape Design and Urban Horticulture and an M.S. in Horticulture, I really do enjoy this kind of plant science work.

 

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden
@thegardenmaiden

 

 

Advertisements
Categories: Fruit Crops, Research, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Know the Muffin Man? New Mississippi Blueberry

Early last week I was out in the blueberry plots at one of the research stations collecting samples. I was instantly enamored, if not surprised, by the outstanding pink ambiance given off by a few large blueberry bushes.

Muffin Man blueberry

 

I was not out to collect from this selection, but I was drawn to it. This blueberry was without a doubt the most gorgeous in the entire field.

 

PINK! So much pink. Pink flowers, pink buds, pink calyx, warm pink hues on the stems, pink color on the new, emerging leaves. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. As you can well imagine, I meant to do this post last week on Valentine’s Day, but time got away from me.

 

As a horticulturist with a background in ornamentals first, I was impressed with the idea of what a wonderful edible hedge this would make in someone’s yard. Not to mention that at this time of year, when things are just beginning to get going in south Mississippi, it makes a grand ornamental entrance into the landscape.

 

This blueberry was recently released as ‘Muffin Man’ from the Southern Horticultural Research Laboratory in Poplarville, MS. You can read a bit about it on this USDA ARS page. Members of the American Society for Horticultural Science who subscribe to the Hort Science Journal can also read more about this blueberry in Volume 53 issue 10

To promote fruiting, you’ll need a pollinator, rabbiteye blueberry that also flowers early. In ornamental design, I would suggest planting a smaller, early flowering, rabbiteye blueberry behind the hedge, or flanking the ends, so that ‘Muffin Man’ in all its glory is not obstructed.

If you are looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for next year inquire, then do as this little honey bee did, seek out, and find ‘Muffin Man’ to give to your sweetheart.

 

 

Congratulations to the team for traditional, old fashioned plant breeding!

What does this mean, traditional plant breeding? Select potted blueberry plants are brought into the greenhouse in winter and “crossing” begins by a biological science technician when flowers open. That is to say the pollen (collected from the anthers of the male part) of one desired flower is used to fertilize the stigma (the sticky end of the female reproductive part) of another desired blueberry flower.  This takes quick work to be sure that no insects happen to be pollinating the flowers in the greenhouse and the greenhouse is checked almost daily. Fertilized flowers are protected while the fertilized flowers develop blueberry fruit, and after fruit set and maturity, the fruit are collected, cut open, and the seed harvested and stored in refrigeration. In summer, seed are planted out in trays in the greenhouse. When seedlings reach several inches tall, they are transplanted into individual peat pots. Those little babies are nurtured in the greenhouse and the following spring/early summer, they are planted out into field plots (generally by this time they are 12-24″ tall). The young plants are closely monitored by the breeder over several years for a variety of desirable traits. (Just imagine that when two humans procreate, every baby the same two humans produce is different. Right? The same is true here.) Those that make the cut are transplanted out to long term fields for continued observations over several more years. The plants may be propagated and then planted at several sites to test their desired traits, growth, cultural habits, fruiting, qualities, etc.  Then if all has been successful, after many years since cross pollination in the greenhouse, that selection may be released for public use or plant patented. Technically, traditional plant breeding is genetically modifying plants (organisms). It is however, not genetically engineering plants-GE (basically something which could never occur naturally- a fish will never make love to a tomato). An unfortunate use of the term GMO, that is now commonplace and causes confusion.

Man, I must have had some good coffee this morning!!!! Oh, wait, I did. Three Peckered Billy Goat. I love Raven’s Brew Whole Bean Coffees. USDA Organic. Roasting facilities: Ketchikan, AK and Tumwater, WA.

Yours in Caffeine-Induced Writing & Gardening,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden
@thegardenmaiden

 

 

 

Categories: Fruit Crops, Research, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ASHS-SR 2019: Inspiration to Write Again; Goodbye My Lil Dachshund Buddy

I’ve been silent. Silent with my blog, silent on social media. This will be the most difficult post I’ve ever written. And it will probably be long. Too long for some. But not long enough for others, especially dachshund lovers (yes, that’s a wiener dog joke).

IMG_20190203_110045

Dr. Eric Stafne receiving his personal gavel from Dr. David Reed

I just returned from the annual American Society for Horticultural Science-Southern Region conference in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a great conference (held in conjunction with SAAS), not just for the horticulture science presented in talks and poster presentations, but for the “reunion-like” atmosphere with colleagues past, present, and perhaps future. I look forward to receiving some CEU’s for my Certified Professional Horticulturist designation.

IMG_20190203_083825

An educational presentation from Dr. Elina Coneva

I might even get to do a little crossing of kiwi this spring because of an opportunity gleaned from a friend at Auburn University.

IMG_20181103_114538

Tiki in her buggy “dachshund taxi service”

I didn’t think I would make it to the conference this year for a couple of reasons, including the health of our female dachshund who will be 17 on April 21. I’m also recovering (and in physical therapies) from a tremendous amount of pain focused on the right side of my body that evolved over the holidays due to a family tragedy that built upon grief. My chiropractor said my body went into flight or fight mode. But I made it. We all made it to Birmingham: me, my dachshund (who can no longer be boarded), and my wonderful husband who served this past year as the President of ASHS-SR. The Big Cheese.

IMG_20190203_114934

Me and friend/colleague from the UA, Dr. Jim Robbins, the type of great folks we only get to see once or twice per year.

This year was my last year serving on the ASHS-SR Executive Committee, a position I have enjoyed. Not only can it be fun helping to shape the future of the Society, but its a great way to get to know other Members better too. I considered this a great honor, because as I’m often heard saying, I only have a Master’s degree, not a Ph.D., like most of the other committee members serving our Society. I have enjoyed giving back volunteering on committees on both the SR level and the national level.

IMG_20190202_082137

Dr. Gary Bachman presenting on the search for the Long Beach Radish

I have missed only a handful of SR meetings since I was a graduate student, which means that nearly every year, I am celebrating my birthday at our horticulture conference. This year was extra special.

IMG_20190202_175013

Thank you birthday dessert from Texas de Brazil Steakhouse, Birmingham

On Sunday February 3, the ASHS Southern Region President, Dr. Eric Stafne, gave his Presidential address. I sat there on the front row, feeling so proud of him, remembering sitting in the audience when Dr. John R. Clark (Dr. Stafne’s major advisor) gave his Presidential address ~2004, and saying to Dr. Stafne “someday that will be you”. That was fifteen years ago.

IMG_20190203_111724

Slide after slide, Dr. Stafne tasked the audience with assignments for the upcoming year, relating life-long goals and childhood aspirations to his work in horticulture (showing how your own personal aspirations can be relevant in horticulture): baseball player (Babe Ruth), detective (Eliot Ness), treasure finder (Dr. Indiana Jones), writer (Ernest Hemingway) and rock star (Pearl Jam and KISS). But it was the moment his slide showed a photo of me and our two dachshunds that I immediately went to tears.  Not only were his unexpected words kind and complimentary, but his admiration and love were felt. (afterwards we heard I was not the only one brought to tears).

IMG_20180825_155942

Dr. Al Einert and I at UA graduation

Following his speech, during the call for deceased Members, I proudly, and sadly stood and announced my former Bachelor’s and Master’s advisor, mentor, and dear friend: Dr. Alfred Erwin Einert, Emeritus, University of Arkansas. Dr. Einert passed away in August.  In many ways, he was like a father figure. Always supportive. Always remembered my birthday. Attended our wedding in Florida. Wrote countless letters of recommendation. Loved to “break bread” and “shoot the shit” with my husband and me over dinner and pints of beer.  An endless reservoir of advice…and stories. I will miss him greatly.

IMG_9601

Me, Dr. Eric Stafne, Dr. John R. Clark after Eric’s Presidential Address. Photo Credit: Dr. Jim Robbins, UA

As a student, you can only hope to be gifted with an advisor who will become such an important part of your life. John Clark is that gift to Eric.

IMG_20180830_155530

His final car ride home.

Five days after losing Al, we lost our male dachshund to complications with cancer. Mr. Weenie (one of his nicknames) fought tremendously since his March diagnosis when he was only given a few weeks to live. His first chest tap (at the Medvet cancer clinic in Louisiana) lasted many months, but his second tap (family vet) only lasted a couple of weeks and caused him great discomfort.

IMG_20180830_204134

I often told folks from spring through summer, don’t be sad for my little man, he is enjoying the best treats, and is in the best spirits, and still loves to “go” and explore and help me type on the computer. I frequently found myself thinking, they were wrong. The vets were wrong. He does not have cancer. We put him on homeopathic supplements for kidney and liver detox. We opted for no chemo. He greeted every day with enthusiasm, even after the diagnosis. But that all changed in August.

IMG_20180830_154049

His final trip outside.

On Friday August 24, we noticed he was having some difficulties and didn’t feel well. We decided to have the family vet tap his chest on Monday. Monday morning I told him we’d go to the vet and make him feel all better. But at the vet, it was determined the cancer must have progressed. He could barely walk for breathing difficulties and he was already maxed out on his medication. He was in distress. On Monday August 27, just five weeks until his 16th birthday and a few months away from his 6th year with us, we had to make that awful decision to have the vet come to our house and put an end our little rescue doxie’s suffering.  I took him home from the vet, without the chest tap. One final car ride. One final, albeit slow,  walk into the house. My husband and I had a few hours to spend with him. Although I’d never ate it previously, I defrosted and lightly grilled a filet mignon I’d purchased from the butcher the week prior. We cut it up and shared it with our dachshunds. I tried to tell him how much he meant to us. The vet arrived about 2:15 and at 2:30 p.m. as I held him tight, he left us.  It was the most difficult, sickening and heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do. I have re-lived that moment over and over, daily since then, questioning everything we did or didn’t do. The next day I ordered a book (which I highly recommend) called the Pet Loss Companion.

A few days after Mr. Weenie left us, my husband stopped by the vet clinic and brought him back home to us in a beautifully carved wooden box. I also purchased an ashes urn necklace.

The Pet Loss Companion book was a tremendous help (I’m getting ready to read it again) and although it is a very easy read, it took me a couple of weeks because it is so “spot on” that reading a few pages left me in tears. I’ve never experienced true grief before which makes me a very lucky person. I’ve been very sad to lose Grandparents and other relatives and friends. However, I had no idea what to expect. This book does a great job of explaining how some people will never understand your pet-loss grief and how everyone handles and processes grief differently and how pet-loss grief for a pet that loves you 24/7 for years and beyond that has required daily nursing, if not hospice-level care, will put you in a different level of grief. A grief that can be very different than that for a family member.

IMG_20180902_121158

My female dachshund six days after losing our little buddy to cancer.

For a month or so I had to hide my grief, not from others exactly, but from our female dachshund. We nearly lost her five days after Mr. Weenie. At the time we though she was sick. She had stopped eating or drinking that Friday we noticed Mr. Weenie having issues.  A few days after losing our little buddy, we had her in the vet overnight (she is a diabetic, with Canine Cognitive Disorder (doggie Alzheimer’s) since 2016) and after that an emergency trip back to the vet (we thought she was dying in my arms). We were told at that time there was nothing physically wrong with her, she was grieving him and that one pet will often know the time is near before we as humans know.  For days she wailed all night long, heart breaking cries like she had never made before. She moped about and was lethargic. She would lay in our arms completely like a little noodle. I had to hide my tears as I read she was probably picking up on our emotions.

On Labor Day Monday, one week after losing our buddy, we said, if she doesn’t eat by dinner, we’ll call the vet back out to the house. We took her around to all of our favorite coastal locations including Bay St. Louis. You can see her grief in the photos. One final stop was made to Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company (she had been visiting there with us since 2012) and on a whim, we ordered a Mississippi brat. Something that we would never order (dietary restrictions) and certainly not give to our dachshunds. However, she lunged at that brat and consumed it with the eagerness one might expect from any good German doxie! It was her first time to eat without being syringe-fed in a week or more. And thus began the healing with non-stop hugging, loving and keeping her close to us. We did not leave her alone. She gradually returned more to herself and we all grieved our loss together.

IMG_20181006_074006

Near Old Faithful Snow Lodge cabin

Miracle of miracles, two weeks later we left for our pre-planned vacation to Yellowstone. Her 4th trip since 2010 and what would have been Mr. Weenie’s third visit. We missed him greatly. In November I started journaling to him but I still could not bring myself to get back to blogging or social media. I didn’t have the stomach for it. I’m a relatively private person anyway, using these platforms to connect about plants, not display my personal life.

IMG_20181007_095049

In early December, I decided maybe, just maybe I could start writing again, but not without some sort of post about my silence for all these months. But how to do it? Leaving myself vulnerable for inappropriate comments from non-dog lovers, non pet-owners, and those who just don’t get it. But then on December 10, my Father was injured in a farm accident, leaving him, currently, a quadriplegic. We returned home for a couple of weeks. That’s when the pain began. But after several weeks of chiropractic, professional massage, acupuncture, stretching, and de-stress herbal supplements, I am on the road to recovery. I am hopeful, that although the road will be long, that my Father will also regain mobility and can once again return home. I think that is as personal as I want to get on that subject, as I said earlier, I’m very uncomfortable with being too personal on social media platforms, although I’m very, very appreciative and thankful for everyone who started prayers for my Dad, my Old Man (as he calls himself) on Facebook.

IMG_20161220_155409

Sharing a Father/Daughter love of Star Wars movies!

Part of my recovery is finding the inspiration to get back to horticulture at our ASHS SR meeting this past weekend in Birmingham. I love horticulture. I love posting about plants. Though I have to say, a break from social media is something that was refreshing and centering.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-585-nu=35-8-254-3-3-26992544;4256ot1lsi

Spunky little monkey

Mr. Weenie, Dr. Jones, Monkey Man, the Burgermeister, my Little Buddy, my Little Man will always be with me. He loved to be outside with us in the yard and garden and taking outdoor adventures with us to all sorts of places.

6f47fdcc-5b49-4ad8-b7d1-cb810d693ab8

Watching Krewe of Barkus parade

My little female dachshund, my Tiki-meister, lays here near me. I do not know if she will make it to birthday 17 in April. She has been with us since she was eight weeks old. I should probably at some point blog about what it is like to go through canine cognitive disorder (CCD) with a diabetic, arthritic dachshund who has lost her hearing and most of her eye-sight. Day by day, we evaluate her quality of life.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv39-39-nu=3777-384-256-WSNRCG=3584---485347nu0mrj232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv365;2-nu=3633-743-2;;-27247433--256ot1lsi

Picture of me 3232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv397-=ot-2868=475=347=XROQDF-25;6298759256ot1lsi

So although part of my wants to delete this entire post, I must give back. I post this blog now not only to renew my online horticulture presence, to explain my absence, but also to perhaps help one person who is or will go through pet-loss grief. I have received so much from those who have posted online, selflessly, about their experiences with canine cancer, diabetes, and CCD. Most of the help and tips we received were from online posts and sites.  Perhaps some stories of Tiki’s journey in the coming weeks or months? I have barely been able to type or text from the pain, so I don’t want to commit myself to dates. (Sigh)  In closing, we didn’t sign on for pet ownership until it was too expensive or too inconvenient or burdensome. We signed on for love of a little companion. Loooooong live the dachshund owners, lovers, rescue adopters, and caregivers!

IMG_20190124_163748

She wears glasses and hats to help with post-cataract surgery & CCD light sensitivity.

Thank you Dr. Eric Stafne and all who attended the ASHS SR 2019 conference in Birmingham. I hope to see everyone next year in Louisville for our next SR conference or at our annual national conference for ASHS this summer.

Yours in Gardening and in love of little paws that dig those gardens!

The Garden Maiden

PS It took me several hours to put this together. Written half in tears, I am sure there are errors which I will attempt to go back and correct. Please forgive!

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden
@thegardenmaiden

Categories: garden dogs, horticulture conferences, Other Inspirations, Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Pollinator Gardens.org

Enhancing pollinator habitat through research, education and design

Keep Mississippi Beautiful

Working to inspire and educate Mississippians to take action everyday to impact, improve, and beautify their community environment.

Meadows. Seed. Art.

ecological landscapes via seed

Easy Wildflowers

Wild flowers from The Forest of Dean

Always Growing

A garden is good for both body and soul

In the Garden with Arkansas Extension Horticulture

Welcome to In the Garden with Arkansas Extension Horticulture, a blog about gardening in Arkansas.

%d bloggers like this: