September 1, 2020 – Herbaceous Landscape Plants

I’m hoping to make this next MGV training session (botany part 2) a more interactive class using a few short activities where I’ll have you work in small groups using the virtual breakout rooms that we used once last spring. It’s ok if you don’t have a camera, but I’m hoping more of you would be willing to turn your camera on for these activities to make it a little more fun and engaging for all. I totally understand if you have a lot going on and it’s not easy to have your camera on . . . I’ve been there!
1) Reply to this email if there’s a chance you can have your computer camera on for this session so I can try to set up the breakout rooms to have at least one visible person in each group. Again, this is optional.
2) Dissect at least 3 different shaped flowers**. Look for the reproductive parts in the flower. Note the differences and similarities between the flowers. Be prepared to talk in small groups about what you noticed. It’s ok if you don’t know the name of the flower. Consider drawing what you observe (optional).
3) Provide two specific examples of how we, as gardeners, manage environmental conditions in order to improve growth or ways you haven’t done a good job managing environmental conditions for optimal plant growth and the consequences of those mistakes.
4) Gather examples of at least 3 different leaf shapes from your landscape. Using your botany resources, try to determine the best way to describe the leaf shape.
5) Have a fresh sample of a wildflower** that is currently blooming or a sample with a visible seed head to show to the class. Be sure to have enough plant material to show how the leaves are arranged on the stem, leaf type and full flower or seed head. Another option is to have a cutting from a tree found in the woods (I’m looking for a native tree) that’s about 12-18″ long, showing how the leaves are arranged on the stem and, if available, any fruits/seeds/cones from that tree.
*There’s no need to send me your answers unless you cannot attend class on Tuesday. In that case, please send me your answers or photos of your work by noon on Monday so I can possibly integrate them into the discussion. Your responses will be anonymous.
** Be sure to collect plant samples wisely. Do not collect anything from the wild that is present in small quantities or seems to be unique or rare. In that case, you’re encouraged to take clear photos.
Pollinator-Friendly Garden Certification Program
Virtual Demonstration Garden – We are welcoming photo submissions anytime. Now is a great time to take pictures! The gallery on this website will be expanded as more photos are submitted.

Upcoming learning opportunities (all online, not in person)

Monday, Sept 14th, 12-1 Summer Gardening Series: Growing Garlic. Garlic is an easy-to-grow fall-planted crop that is great for you and makes almost everything taste better. Learn all aspects of garlic culture including planting stock, site selection, timing of harvest and proper drying with our garlic expert, Dave Fuller who has 25 years of experience growing garlic and has conducted research on hardneck garlic for the last 8 years. Registration required. Free ($5 suggested donation). 
Tuesday, Sept 15th, 10-11:30 “Nature’s Best Hope” Webinar with Doug Tallamy, hosted by the Georges River Land Trust. Recent headlines about global insect and bird declines are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Join us for a Zoom webinar to listen to Dr. Doug Tallamy, best-selling author and entomolgist, discuss simple steps that each of us can – and must – take to reverse declining biodiversity. Tallamy will discuss his new best-selling book, ‘Nature’s Best Hope’, along with answering attendees’ questions around sustainable gardening. He will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope. Tickets for this Zoom presentation are $20 for GRLT members, and $25 for non-members. Once you register , the Zoom instructions will be provided by email.
Monday, Sept 28th, 12-1 Summer Gardening Series: Root Cellaring. Root Cellaring is a low energy method for storing your fresh produce into the winter. In this talk we’ll discuss the ideal storage conditions for most of our crops, and how to create those various conditions throughout most households. While we will touch on specialized outbuilding structures for root cellaring, the focus will be on cheap and simple modifications to your garden or areas of your homes to optimize produce storage length and quality. Registration required. Free ($5 suggested donation). –
Mark your calendars for our new MGV Lunch and Learn Series! First Thursday of the month at 12:00 PM via Zoom – October 2020 thru March 2021 Beat the winter blues by tuning in for special monthly presentations by fellow Master Gardener Volunteers from across the state! No registration required. Open only to Master Gardener Volunteers.