The Science, Art, and Culture of Nativism by D.J. Chakraborty
Nativism, an important theme for today’s gardener, is a controversial locution. Politicians are abuzz advocating and disavowing the policy of protecting natives versus immigrants. Scientists define nativism as the practice of preserving or reviving an indigenous culture. There is another definition in philosophy as the doctrine that innate ideas exist. For this work, we are using the scientific meaning of preserving and reviving indigenous plants which will in turn benefit indigenous wildlife and the ecosystem.
The garden is a creative realm for us to express ourselves, expand our living space, and gain knowledge. The garden is a wonderful environment for artistic inspiration brightly illustrated by the Hudson River School. Artist Thomas Cole witnessed the disruptive effects of the Industrial Revolution in his native England and marveled at the sublime beauty of America’s virgin landscape in 1819. American beauty inspired him to found the Hudson River School the first American school of landscape artists.
Ironically nineteenth century America’s landscape of abundant forests, rivers, mountains, and meadows was not virgin but a beloved, consecrated Mother to the Native Americans. The holy mother became the artists’ beloved muse. Native American culture promotes environmental stewardship and land ethic which is requisite knowledge for today’s Americans. The garden is a place to study history, culture, and art as well as science. Let’s not forget politics and philosophy since we are on nativism!
Environmental stewardship refers to responsible use and protection of our property and planet through exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance. Paraphrasing Aldo Leopold, land ethic deals with the homeowner’s relation to land and to the native animals and plants which depend upon it. American author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) championed environmental stewardship and founded the science of wildlife management. He emphasized biodiversity and ecology for a scientific approach to land management while maintaining artistic, holistic ethics.
Therefore, conserve the native flora and fauna and create your own works of living art. Indigenous vegetation is easy to grow because they need low or no maintenance plus they provide habitat for native wildlife, conserve resources, and reduce pollution which in turn benefits our health and lowers utility bills. Hence, practice our current national, regional, and state theme Plant America Southern Style using native plants preserving Georgia’s botanical heritage and legacy. Use the native verdure to protect Georgia’s imperiled species by preserving/planting natural habitats.
Keep our District Director’s words of wisdom in mind because working together truly works! Activities greatly influence one’s health and well-being: physical and emotional. Connecting with kindred spirits to increase knowledge and do benevolent deeds creates a better home, community, and planet which promotes good health and happiness. The Jonquil Garden Club is a wonderful, hardworking group who inspired the following:
Sonnet of the Nativists~ Sonnet IV. by D.J. Chakraborty
Jonquil Garden Club has gone nativist
Indigenous flora and fauna coexist
Oakleaf hydrangea blooming in the midst
Where a pair of cardinals have their tryst
As we enjoy a game of whist
With the English teacher and botanist
In the garden of our President Shirley
She labors incisively and earnestly.
Every minute, prosaic task.
More precise and faithful you cannot ask.
How lovely is her garden dressed
Aldo Leopold would be impressed
Happiness, so swiftly fleeting,
Is always regained at a Jonquil meeting.
Find D. J. Chakraborty's book, The Pensive Pen on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble at bn.com
Dirty Talk by D.J. Chakraborty
Life in my first house started on a budget. I bought garden tools and set to work.
After mud-wrestling the Georgia red clay for hours, I had only planted one tree.
The labor of love felt like love’s labor lost or much ado about nothing! Then I
learned to talk dirty. If the dirt/soil is dry and compacted, the plants’ roots will
be unable to penetrate it. If the soil is wet and compacted the roots will rot.
Bed preparation is crucial for fertility.
Incorporate soil amendments into new planting beds to ensure fertility, proper nutrition, filter potential pollutants, and improve drainage. The soil must retain enough moisture to allow permeability for roots, impede soil erosion, and form micro-nutrients to grow healthy plants. Incorporate means integrate not replace. Replacing the native Georgia red clay with even the best planting medium will turn the planting hole into a clay pot with no drainage and kill the expensive plant. Some gardeners have their own special formulas for soil amendments bordering on alchemy. Nurseries offer many choices.
1. Dig a hole double the size of the plant’s root ball/root system.
2. Remove the native soil and fill half way with amendments.
3. Add some native soil and mix.
4. Plant the plant. The new plant’s crown (point where the stem and roots meet) should be placed in the hole approximately the same height as the pot or burlap. Consider that roots grow outward and deep, so spread them accordingly using a knife if necessary to stimulate new growth; the plants’ roots are their life-support system hence it is a delicate process.
5. Refill the hole covering the roots with the remaining native soil.
6. Water thoroughly to moisten the roots and remove air pockets.
7. Apply mulch, pine straw or bark around the specimen plant or the entire bed to prevent weeds, pests and disease, conserve water and insulate roots from extreme temperatures. Improper planting will escalate transplant shock.
Follow the above steps to create your private Eden. I finally enjoyed a sense of accomplishment seeing the once barren Georgia red clay covered with my favorite flowers. The exotic 'Nur Mahal' rose flourished alongside the native Rosa carolina. Another colorful corner featured exotic Maharaja lilies with native Lilium canadense and Lilium superbum. I was in 7th heaven!
Jonquil Garden Club Smyrna Georgia
Angela's Ziploc Propagation Technique & End Results
Jonquil Garden Club, Horticulture Info
Club Guidelines For Submitting Horticulture
1. Enter your horticulture piece by 10:15 a.m. the day of our meeting.
2. Sign Hort entry sheet and write the name of your plant.
3. Use transparent green or clear bottles/containers suitable for the height and
bloom width of your flower or piece of foliage. Remove any blemished foliage and
try to find the best specimen you can for judging.
4. Water should cover the stem with all leaves removed below the water line.
5. Proportion of plant to container and balance is very important.
Following are articles written by JGC members and previously published in various local publications.
EASY PLANT PROPAGATION By Angela Green
Recently plant propagation became an exciting hobby for me. At a Jonquil Garden Club meeting, speaker Cliff Brock, Assistant Curator of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, mentioned how easy it was to propagate plant cuttings in a plastic zipper bag placed under a tree. My friend dubbed me a ‘mad scientist’ as I snipped hydrangea cuttings from her garden while pretending to twirl my imaginary mustache and croak, “Heh, heh, heh.” It was so much fun dipping each cutting into rooting powder, placing them in small pots of moist peat moss and perlite and then in ziploc bags. Each bag instantly became a miniature greenhouse with tiny droplets of water sheeting the inside. Cliff Brock did not give a timeline for roots to appear so I peeked often, unable to harness my instant gratification gene.
In about three weeks tiny white roots appeared above the rooting medium as well as below and new leaves were growing. Thanks to Cliff I had created a new plant! Unable to contain my excitement, I planted them in my garden and kept them watered. A few did not make it but most did. See below two of the precious specimens that are thriving six weeks later, after an initial three weeks in the bag. Tip: Label each pot and bag to know what you’ve propagated
PROPAGATION FROM CUTTINGS by Shirley Priest
There are several types of vegetative propagation, leaf cuttings, stem cuttings & layering. Our focus today is on softwood, semi-hardwood, & hardwood cuttings.
Materials & conditions you need for all cuttings:
1. Clean Pots
2. Rooting medium - use half peat/half perlite, sand O finely ground bark
3. Rooting hormone
4. Sharp, clean needle-nose clippers
5. A small dibbler
6. Small ice chest (if you're doing a flat of several cuttings
7. Shady potting area
8. Protected, shady area for rooting or a cold frame, greenhouse, or cool indoor area with a mini greenhouse effect.
9. A healthy shrub you wish to reproduce
10. Morning hours are best for your task
11. Markers for your cuttings
Softwood cuttings - taken in summer through early fall when shrubs are still growing; cutting will come from soft new growth just as it starts to harden or mature; stem needs to be snapped easily when bent; look for graduation of leaf size.
Cuttings - Make a slanted 2" - 5" cut just below a node where the stem snaps easily instead of bending under pressure. Dip in root hormone & shake off the excess. Dibble hole & insert cutting 1 -2" in the medium. Do not compact medium tightly. Water thoroughly. Rooting time will vary according to the plant. Place in shade, keep moist but never soggy. Use the "TUG" test to determine whether your cuttings have rooted. Pot up in regular potting soil & place in protected area over the winter.
Semi-hardwood cuttings (greenwood) - taken mid-July to fall, wood is firm & leaves are mature. Many evergreen shrubs & conifers can be propagated this way as well as rhodys, asmanthus, holly, euonymus & junipers. Take 3-6" cuttings & remove 1/2 of the lower leaves.
Hardwood cuttings - are taken from deciduous, broadleaf & needle evergreens in late Fall through early Spring when plants are dormant & wood is firm. Forsythia, privet, holly, photina, cypress, fig, grape & spirea may be propagated this way. Collect 6-20" cuttings & treat as other cuttings. If left outdoors, place under a poly tent, in a cold frame, or in a greenhouse. Tops must stay cool so roots will appear before leaves.
Needle evergreens - (arborvitaie, false cypress & yew) Root these in late Fall under greenhouse conditions as rooting my take 3 months. Cuttings should be 4-8" long. Strip needles off bottom & treat with hormone, place in medium. Place cuttings under mist or in enclosed poly tent with or without bottom heat. Keep in shaded area.
Note: All cuttings should come from non-flowering shoots. Stick them as soon as possible after cuttings. Most shrubs root in 3-5 weeks, longer over winter. Uneven moisture distribution is the biggest cause of plant death.
Helpful Sources: Propagating Shrubs from Cuttings (UGA Bulletin 641). M.A. & C.W. Heuser Jr. 1987 The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture. Varsity Press. Athens GA. Websites: UGA Extension Service, Clemson University, North Carolina State University, University of Florida. There are many other helpful websites.
Amaryllis & Christmas Cactus: Encouraging Repeat Performance by Shirley Priest
The robust, colorful blooms of an amaryllis or a Christmas cactus, dripping with red, pink, salmon or white blossoms, enhance the holiday season with cheer and beauty. With appropriate care these favorites will give stunning repeat performances for many years. Potted amaryllis should be placed where it will receive four hours of sunlight daily. Normal home temperature of 65-75 degrees will encourage more bloom, but flowers last longer if home temperatures stay five degrees cooler. As flowers increase, water the amaryllis more frequently. Allow soil surface to become slightly dry to the touch before watering. Fertilizing during the bloom period is not necessary. With care, the amaryllis will bloom for three weeks. When blooms have finished, cut the flower stems back to 2 inches above the bulb. Continue to water, allowing the strap-like leaves to continue to grow, ensuring that necessary energy will be stored in the bulb.
In mid- spring move the amaryllis pot to a shady area outside. Eventually move it to where it will get good morning sun. Because the amaryllis bulb enjoys crowded conditions, just leave the amaryllis in the same pot, or plant the bulb outside in a sunny or partly sunny area in well-drained soil. Only the tiniest tip of the bulb should show above ground. Provide water and fertilizer throughout summer months. With the right conditions, bold blooms should appear the followingSpring and for many springs to come. For potted plant bring inside in September and place in a cool room. The amaryllis must then rest, without water or fertilizer in order to rebloom indoors. Begin watering and fertilizing in late November and move pot to a sunny, warm location. Flower stalks will appear first, followed by amazing blooms during the Christmas season.
Christmas cactus, another beautiful holiday favorite, will provide longer-lasting blooms when placed in bright, indirect light at home temperature of 65-75 degrees. Place away from drafts and heating vents to avoid bud drop that can occur with extreme temperature changes. Remove spent blooms and keep cactus slightly moist to the touch, making sure it does not sit in water. After blooms have finished, move cactus to a sunny window and water moderately. Fertilize with a regular houseplant solution. To encourage branching, prune by pinching off a few sections of each stem and place these in water or in moist vermiculite to root.
In late spring, the Christmas cactus will enjoy a semi-shady site outside. Because this tropical plant sunburns easily, keep it out of direct sun. Continue to water and fertilize. Before frost, bring inside to a cool room. In early December move the cactus to a sunnier and somewhat warmer location. By Christmas, the cactus leaves will produce a cascade of color.