Posts Tagged With: mississippi

My Botanical Data Collection of Potential Blueberry Releases 2018

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Here are some of the images to capture the overview of botanical data I collected for potential blueberry releases for my boss. Now, obviously I cannot give any specific information. That would be unethical. This is just to show some of the stuff I have collected. It is detail-work, but great fun if you are into that sort of thing. I learned a lot too, based on reading many previous plant patent releases from various sources including the University of Georgia breeding program.

Most of these images were previously posted on Twitter the day the work was being done. The images are not high quality as they were snapped with my cheap cell phone but they give you an idea of what I was doing. Placing them all here is a good way to showcase the entire year in one location.

I began this year’s collection in February when the blueberries began to flower. Did you know there was such variation in blueberry flower color?

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Look how tiny these little white flowers were!

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Some of the flowers have a very faint, light perfume.

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The honeybees enjoyed the flowers and we worked around each other all morning.

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My initial measurements were taken in the field because it was an incredibly, beautiful day.

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After working in the field, I collected data from the blueberry plants in the lab.

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Check out the anthers and filaments of the stamens (male) on the blueberry flower.

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I was so excited to be able to collect some pollen grains! My first time.

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I sure am glad I enjoyed taking Plant Taxonomy class at the University of Arkansas with Dr. E Smith. Not only do I still carry around my “flash cards” (can you say PLANT NERD), but I am now able to put all of that to good use.

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After flower analysis came fruit!

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A little coffee, some good tunes on the MP3 player and I’m set for lab work.

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So, my role in the blueberry breeding program goes something like this, although my duties vary from year to year. My boss selects plants to cross. The Lab Tech makes the crosses in the greenhouse. She collects the seeds from the fruit that results. The seed is planted in trays in the greenhouse. When they reach a few inches tall, I pot them into trays of peat pots. At the same time, my boss takes hundreds of cuttings in the field from selections to propagate. When they have rooted (hopefully), I pot them up into one gallon pots. After the seedlings have grown and rooted well in their peat pots, those seedlings are transplanted out into the field.

Here is a photo of part of my blueberry field planting this summer.

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My boss observes them for several years, taking notes and selecting potential crosses for release.  Blueberry plants with the best potential are dug and transplanted into more permanent plantings. The cuttings which were also rooted and potted up into 1 gallon pots are maintained in our nursery and sent out for observation at nurseries or planted in our own blueberry fields for continued observation. But, I really do like my role in collecting finely detailed botanical data of taxonomic characteristics for the selections my boss would like to release. In order to release them, he must first submit a plant patent with this detailed information showing that the plant is new or novel.

As a Certified Professional Horticulturist, I love working in plant research. Especially traditional plant breeding.

All of this blueberry talk is making me hungry for some blueberry cobbler!

Yours in Gardening Goodness,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright The Garden Maiden 2018

 

 

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Categories: Fruit Crops, Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

March Madness in The Garden of Goods and Evils

Just sharing a few images of what is flowering in the Garden of Goods and Evils this morning. I’ve got some other images of garden “winter survival” and miscellaneous work going on to share later.

It is a beautiful day along the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Crisp, high in the lows 60’s. We started out in the upper 30’s and it was 40 by the time I got outside with the camera and phone.  It is still only 50, but that won’t keep me from hanging laundry on the line!

Here are a few images from my old phone to share. I love this time of year in the garden.

Good, old-fashioned, spirea. A standard for vintage gardens. I believe this old shrub is S. x vanhouttei, but it could be S. thunbergii.  Now, I could go back outside and get a better glimpse and key the plant out better, but at the moment, I’ve spent way too much time working on this post instead of projects that will actually show me a little money.

My husband has commented that these two azaleas which have nearly doubled in size since we moved here 6.5 years ago might need a good whacking back. But, I’m not much into whacking.  In general, especially for azaleas, I think the bigger the better. And they do provide a nice screening.

This lovely two-tone pinkish azalea was planted, like most of the azaleas in my yard, by a previous owner. I am lucky to have two of them. They really brighten up the darker areas under the canopy of a large oak. If I thought about it much, I’d probably fret that I have way too many lovely plants without any sort of scientific  name/label in the yard. (Bucket List) So, for now, I’m good with “look at all the pretty azaleas”.

What I love about this azalea is that for such a small size (I planted it a couple of years ago), it has great floral impact.

Perhaps the pride and joy of my early flowering azaleas is this fine, bright, yellow-orange, native azalea that I planted several years ago.  Rhododenron austrinum (Florida flame azalea). Bet you can guess how it got it’s name.

And, yes, I have things other than azaleas flowering right now. Like these lovely, perky, little gerbera daisies.  Fortunately, they are perennial here. If you read the Southern Living article from the link in the previous sentence, you may wonder “how did she do it, how did she get them to live?” Well, maybe it is because the soil is very poor (it was some nutrient-poor potting soil I dragged home to build raised beds with years ago), very dry and I never tried to get them to live after planting them three years ago. But they lived! This is their fourth year blooming, and in partial sun. Of course, that partial sun is more than partial in winter when the crapemyrtles have no leaves, imparting additional sunshine to the bed where they are growing.

Ahh, wisteria. I trellised my vine several years ago, but last year we came home to find the entire thing bent over on the ground after a big storm.  A neighbor has two that are grown as standards: one lavender and one white. The white flowering wisteria has the most amazing smell, making my current daily walks with the dachshunds much more enjoyable, especially when I am carrying a bag of dog poo (the dachshunds are elderly, so the walks are slow, and I don’t walk faster than the poo smell). So, here I am with only a half dozen flowering clusters, but they are still pretty.

The Osmanthus (fragrant tea olive) had more flowers before the most recent cold snap, but they are still there, filling my yard with an amazing perfume.

Speaking of perfume…the banana shrubs are really going strong with spring flowers. It is no wonder after working outside all day with two banana shrubs flowering, I end the day with visions of banana flavored cocktails. (yes, I have an issue on this particular plant…some kind of disease on the leaves, which may be why the previous owner cut it down…but no time for evaluation right now…I’m just glad it came back from being cut down to the GROUND).

Well, that’s it for now. Are you enjoying your spring garden? Are you ready for March Madness? Go GREEN! Go Razorbacks!!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have two or three more blogs to post, but I really need to get an article submitted, bake some bread, hang more laundry, vacuum the carpets, care for a sick dachshund, you know…life.

Yours in Gardening,

 

The Garden Maiden

 

copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden

 

 

 

Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Help Identify a Summer Spider on Mississippi Native Fern?

This morning I was out back in the garden. Specifically I was checking out my native ferns in my little fern grotto. Camera in hand I captured a couple of photos of this small, brown spider on a fern frond. He/she was about an inch and  a half long, perhaps two inches long.

Summer spider on Mississippi native fern.

 

After I went inside the house, I tried to search online for entomology sites where I could identify it.  The abdomen seemed soft and fuzzy. There was an obvious stripe down the middle of the head. The leaf he was perched upon was about 12″ above the ground. There is no water near my fern bed, although it did rain over an inch yesterday. We have many trees in our yard and plenty of shade.  I didn’t see any webbing, egg sacs, etc. On the above photo you can see the vertical spines/hairs on the legs. (I thought this was super cool, because I’m practicing using my extension tubes!) I didn’t get a front photo so I don’t have the ability to count his eyes.

My best “guess” is perhaps a grass spider, Agelenopsis spp.? If you can positively identify what I believe is a common spider, please let me know.  I don’t think it is a dark fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), although it had first crossed my mind. I love learning new things about the natural world around us.

At any rate, he/she is certainly welcome.

 

Yours in Gardening,

The Garden Maiden

 

copyright 2017 The Garden Maiden

http://thegardenmaiden.com

Categories: Garden Insects, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
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