And IPM (Integrated Pest Management). That means that some genius will introduce eighty billion Asian beetles into your area to eat aphids ~ which works fine. Just one teensy-weensy little problem. The Asian beetles have NO natural enemy. Well guess what? The aphid problem is solved but now there's an Asian beetle problem. Ack ~ the system needs a little fine tuning.
Kudzu is another example. Oh, it's soooo pretty. Gee, it grows easily and *oh, wait* really, really fast (where did you park the car honey?). Introduced here by another genius for its ornamental qualities, it now covers millions of acres south of the Ohio River (oh, guess what again? ~ it's been seen north of the Ohio now too). It also harbors soybean rust, which is not a good thing either. But hey, I like kudzu and have often considered planting some ~ maybe.
Once again, today's MG instructor was the soul of wit. It's my firm belief that funny stuff is easier to remember. He also managed to take the edge off of standing in the garden center and trying to decipher the thousands of bottles, bags, and boxes of pesticides that you have to choose from when problems arrive. Bottom line ~ read, read, read the label, and he means ALL of it.
Something tells me that it's Fall. Today was productive in the Fall clean-up category. Plus, the 9-1/2" of rain we received over the past week made many jobs so much easier. I even took the time to organize my workshop, hang basil to dry, sort all my pots according to size, and neaten up my compost pile.
I think tonight calls for a nice warm pot of jambalaya ~ you with me??
Our Master Gardener class took a field trip to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee. GO if you get the chance. There is something for everyone.
Not being a big city fan, getting through Nashville was the hardest part of the day, and I wasn't even driving. But it was worth the traffic jam headaches.
Cheekwood was built in the 1930's as a country estate by the Cheek family (her maiden name was Wood). Being founders of the Maxwell House Coffee concern, money wasn't an issue. So wouldn't you build a four-storey 30,000 square foot limestone albatross with 30' ceilings and a wisteria arbor big enough to park a semi in?? Not to mention that the lady of the house was obsessed with water (didn't get enough coffee, I guess) so there are ponds, reflecting pools, fountains, manmade babbling brooks and waterfalls, grottos, if it could hold water, they built it. Surrounded by 55 acres of gardens and paths, with spectacular views from every single window, it's hard to imagine ever living in such a place for a small potato like me.
Since we only spent part of the day at Cheekwood (two hour drive each way) we didn't see it all. They have at least 14 individual types of gardens and a mile-long sculpture walk. The Japanese-style garden has an unbelievable bamboo corridor that puts you in a completely different world. Each and every garden has a theme and is designed to look good from every viewpoint (just like my yard, yeah ~ right). A lot of money goes a l-o-n-g way.
The mansion is no longer used as a residence but was donated to the community by the Cheekwood family in 1960. So now the house is an art museum. They were currently displaying a collection of Faberge eggs. Knick knacks not being my cup of tea, but still impressive.
So if you get the chance and are in the Nashville area, do go. The gardens were still awesome in October, so can you picture June? The $10 price of admission is worth the experience. Oh, and all plants are labeled ~ there were a LOT I didn't recognize (Zone 7).
SO ........ only four more MG classes to go. Big test on 11/15 ~ wish me luck!!
Conflict? What conflict?? We ain't got no steeeenkin' conflict!!! Then why-o-why were we subjected to an hour-long lecture on how to deal with conflict in human relations? Gardening and WHAT??
Now I realize that the program is new in our area, but I am still puzzling over what gardening and conflict have in common. My only issues are with weeds and grass, oh ~ and Japanese beetles ~ now THAT'S conflict. So what did I learn? How to deal with an angry Master Gardener who got left off of the tour bus.
Well, here I go sounding negative again, and that is entirely NOT my intent. I am really meaning to be funny and I always love to look at the humorous side of things. Sometimes that involves making presentations appear silly, but in truth, the talk was very informative and reminded me a lot of real life. Although I have little to no conflict in my life (not because I strive to avoid it, but simply because I don't care what people do) the whole speech made me feel sorry for people who have to deal with it on a daily basis. My hat is off to those of you conflict-dealers and I hope digging in the dirt soothes your soul.
Speaking of presentations, today was the day. We each had to give a five-minute talk on a topic inspired by an extension office brochure. I chose hummingbirds. Since my nickname is "Machine-Gun Kelly" (for my 90mph speech pattern), I couldn't figure out how for the life of me I was going to fill up five whole minutes. In seventh grade, I was required to repeat an entire speech (tres humiliation) because the teacher said I spoke so fast, no one got a word out of it. With this ages-old lesson in mind, I made an attempt to s-p-e-a-k v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and DING ~ the bell went off before I even finished my thoughts. Whew ~ glad that's over with because it was a mandatory part of the course.
In other news ~ it's COLD!! Nights are heading into the 40's and days are still in the 70's. Great fall clean up weather. The hummers are gone for the year (sob) so feeders are down, cleaned and stored. Time for the Canfield Experimental Garden site preparation. Every fall, I prepare a new bed and plant ALL the seeds that I have received in swaps with you-all and others. Seeds that I want to overwinter outdoors are planted and labelled, and in the spring ............ can't wait!!!
Oh boy howdy, this was (and I am being polite here) dull.
To give credit where it is due, the instructor is famous for his work in plant pathology ~ one of the nation's best in fact. But that doesn't make every brown spot on every piece of fruit an exciting adventure. Poor man ~ he was SO enthusiastic. At many points, it was all he could do to move on to the next slide because the one at hand was just so chock-full of dazzling potential. As much as I hate to say that if you've seen one brown spot, you've seen them all, that's what it was beginning to feel like after three solid hours of brown spots.
Given the mind-numbing white noise of this topic, this girl is determined to learn at least the basics. How else will I be able to help those poor pest-ridden gardeners of Marshall County? They are depending on me to get them through the worst of it. Unfortunately, the answer and cure to many, many icky-looking diseases with urpy-sounding names like gall, blight and rot, is to simply get rid of the infected plant and start anew. Not what the home gardener wants to hear. Another deeply held secret is to not buy sickly looking plants in the first place (guilty).
Of some interest to all you gardeners will be the world-famous "disease triangle". The more I thought about this neat little object, the more I can see the sense in it. In short, you cannot and will not have disease on plants without the three "legs" of the triangle: 1) a susceptible host, 2) a pathogen, 3) the proper environment. If you have all three of these, someone's going down. But if even one is missing, you are winning the war. There now, don't you feel all smart and stuff?!
So despite my drooping eyelids and a class that exceeded its 3-hour limit, I feel like a stray thread of information may have worked its way into my already-crammed mind. Like I mentioned to a fellow student, at this stage of the game, I adhere to selective learning (as in only what I have an interest in), almost as if my mind knows that it doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of time to deal with knowledge it doesn't want and won't use.
Oh ~ I did learn one thing that I absolutely refuse to agree with and probably won't practice. Don't save and/or swap seeds ~ NOT!!! According to the pros, they can spread disease far and wide. That's like saying don't go to Walmart in case you get a cold. Saving seeds, swapping and trading both plants and seeds is one of my greatest joys and I refuse to give that up. It's a risk I'm willing to take ~ sue me.