All Done

August 21, 2017 at 9:36 pm (Uncategorized)

The fresh cut flower project I’ve worked on this summer is done this week! There were several sets: some in each of the two high tunnels and another group in the greenhouse. Cultivars were:

  • Amaranthus caudatus ‘Red’
  • Calendula ‘Princess Golden’
  • Celosia ‘Celway Mix’
  • Centaurea ‘Classic Artist Mix’
  • Gomphrena ‘Ping Pong Mix’
  • Verbena bonariensis ‘Finesse’

There were also three cultivars of Eustoma: ‘Doublini White’, ‘Rosanne Green’ and ‘Echo Blue’, all of which were used as edge rows since there aren’t many plants. There were also some miscellaneous cut zinnias for the edge rows: ‘Giant Wine’, ‘Oklahoma Mix’, ‘Edwardian Mix’, ‘Giant Cactus Mix’, and ‘Peppermint Stick’.

Some random notes:

  • Amaranth and gomphrena never did produce stems long enough to use. Amaranth is a short day plant, which explains that one. Not sure what’s up with gomphrena, although they do prefer warm temps. No insect or disease issues though.
  • Calendula is hard on hands and I had to wear gloves to work with the plants. Stems are sticky and irritating to skin. They are aphid and thrips magnets too, although they produced like crazy.
  • Some of the celosia plants still haven’t produced a flowering stem mature enough to cut. The stems are brittle too but no insect or disease problems of note.
  • Had big problems with Centaurea – most likely aster yellows. I lost all of the plants in the greenhouse and about half of those in the high tunnels. Those left have produced a multitude of stems but many are short. Ants love these things too.
  • Verbena ‘Finesse’ is an interesting plant with very long, tall, square stems. Flowers are not terribly showy. It would make a good filler but not very striking on its own.
  • Eustoma is glacial so don’t be in any hurry with it. The seeds were sown in December 2016 but the first flowering stems weren’t cut until July 14, 2017 (‘Doublini White’), July 5 (‘Rosanne Green’), or July 12 (‘Echo Blue’). Stems are usable lengths (data yet to be analyzed) and they last at least 10 days in the vase (personal observation).
  • The zinnias are a mixed bag. Favorites are the smaller-flowered ‘Edwardian Mix’ and ‘Oklahoma Mix’ but they have short stems. The other cultivars are larger-flowered with longer stems but not nearly as attractive; ‘Peppermint Stick’ is the exception.

I’ve got lots of numbers to crunch!

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Ready to go…

May 6, 2017 at 11:51 pm (Uncategorized)

This morning we got most of the prep work done for the 2017 version of UW’s All-America Selections Display Garden. We had left a few plants from 2016 to overwinter (Dianthus ‘Jolt’, Gaillardia ‘Arizona Apricot’ and  ‘Mesa Yellow’, Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and ‘Powwow Wild Berry’) but most did not make it through the winter. The only plants we found alive this morning were two Gaillardia, although we’re not sure which cultivar. Usually we can get Sweet William types of Dianthus to overwinter here, along with most Gaillardia and some Echinacea so this is very unusual.AAS 5-6-17 2

This year’s plants are all still in the greenhouse; it’s too early up here at 7200′ to set them out for hardening-off. We won’t be planting outside until the first week of June and will start acclimating them to the outdoors the last two weeks of May.aas-5-6-17-1.jpg

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January 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm (Uncategorized)


Just attended a fantastic conference on greenhouse lighting! Pictured is the new set of greenhouses at Colorado State University, where the conference was held. CSU’s Horticulture Center is fully outfitted with LED lighting in partnership with Philips Horticulture ( Speakers at the conference presented the latest in LED lighting technology for greenhouse and controlled environment purposes. We also learned about specific ways LED lighting can be utilized to solve specific problems, such as in tissue culture and plant propagation.

A few tidbits:

  • LED lighting works. The way it works on different species is not consistent however.
  • Using LED as the sole source of illumination for crop production also works.
  • Plants started as tissue culture showed greater rooting under LED lights than those grown in the greenhouse.
  • LED lights reduce crop production time in many cases.
  • Stems and petioles tend to be shorter under high blue light.
  • For plant height control, seedlings grown under LED lights tend to be more compact and in some cases, may be substituted for applications of plant growth regulators.
  • Utilization of LED lighting influences plant water relations in ways we are just now starting to understand.
  • Responses to LED lights varies with plant species.

Stay tuned for more.

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Today’s Haul

August 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm (Uncategorized)

This morning’s harvest of cut sunflowers. Mostly ‘Dafna’ and ‘Sunbright Supreme’ with one ‘ProCut Bicolor’ in back. Except for the one ‘ProCut’, they were grown in #1 containers in the greenhouse. The ‘ProCut’ was the first one cut this summer from the high tunnels-from the south side of the east-west-oriented tunnel.

Cut 8-1-16

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2016 AAS Garden

July 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm (Uncategorized)

Hummingbirds have been thick this summer after last year’s very few sightings! This morning one was happily slurping nectar from the Salvia ‘Summer Jewel White’.

Hummingbird 7-29-16

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Pi Alpha Xi announces photo contest

May 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm (Uncategorized)

Pi Alpha Xi, the national honorary horticulture society for deserving students, is currently accepting submissions for our annual photo contest! Membership is not required and submission information can be found here. We’re also on Facebook!


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Greenhouse Crop Production Class Vase Life Study

April 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm (Uncategorized)

In Greenhouse Crop Production class the other day we started a small vase life study. We chose two different floral preservatives as two treatments with the third being municipal tap water. We’ll check results next Monday April 27. Flowers included mums, roses, alstroemeria, stock, and miscellaneous others.

Class vase life study....

Class vase life study….

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Growing at a snail’s pace

August 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm (All-America Selections Gardens) (, , , , , )

Gaura lindheimeri 'Sparkle White'

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Sparkle White’

This year has been the oddest many of us can remember! Cold snap June 8, rainy and cool most of June, warmed up a bit in July, rainy and cool now in early August. It would be great if the weather would make up its mind.

The All America Selections Display garden is definitely telling us which are the star performers in this high and dry climate. Those showing off are the ‘Summer Jewel’ salvia varieties Red and Pink, ‘Glamour Red’ kale (as usual), and Osteospermum ‘Akila Daisy White’ (loves sunny cool weather). Most of the other annuals in the garden have behaved quite badly. Zinnias, marigolds, vinca, ornamental peppers, and angelonia have been all but stationary, not growing much at all and certainly not flowering. (Of course the gangs of rabbits in the neighborhood don’t help matters.) Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is holding its own but the large leaves got beaten up last week with heavy rain. A few flower buds are finally showing up though.

As far as perennials go, two of our favorites, Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’ and ‘Arizona Apricot’ are blooming away, but it is their second season in this spot. First year perennials blooming are the Penstemon ‘Arabesque’ and Gaura ‘Sparkle White’. Neither of the Echinacea (‘Powwow Wild Berry’ and ‘Cheyenne Spirit’) is faring well this season.

Penstemon hartwegii 'Arabesque'

Penstemon hartwegii ‘Arabesque’


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June 8 …. brrrr

June 12, 2014 at 7:56 pm (All-America Selections Gardens) (, , , )

AAS veggiesTemps dipped to 30 degrees Sunday night, June 8. As a result, we lost all of the All-America Selections vegetables, except radishes.

Also lost were 60 tomato plants of six different varieties, being grown for comparison with Nebraska-grown fruit.

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AAS 2014

May 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm (All-America Selections Gardens)

Plants are about ready to move into their summer homes. Inventory this morning shows 46 different All-America Selections varieties to be tried in Wyoming:


  • Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’
  • Snapdragon ‘Twinny Peach’
  • Marigold ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’
  • Viola ‘Shangri-La Marina’ and ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’
  • Ornamental pepper ‘Black Olive’
  • Ornamental chile pepper ‘NuMex Easter’
  • Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Pink’ and ‘Summer Jewel Red’
  • Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Cherry’, ‘Double Zahara Fire’, and ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’
  • Geranium ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’
  • Ornamental kale ‘Glamour Red’
  • Osteospermum ‘Akila Daisy White’
  • New Guinea impatiens ‘Florific Sweet Orange’
  • Vinca ‘Jams ‘N Jellies Blackberry’
  • Petunia ‘African Sunset’


  • Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’
  • Gaillardia ‘Arizona Apricot’
  • Echinacea ‘Powwow Wild Berry’
  • Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
  • Gaura ‘Sparkle White’
  • Penstemon ‘Arabesque’


  • Pepper ‘Cajun Belle’, ‘Cayennetta’, ‘Orange Blaze’, and ‘Mama Mia Giallo’
  • Tomato ‘Jasper’, ‘Lizzano’, ‘Terenzo’, ‘Fantastico’, and ‘Chef’s Choice Orange’
  • Melon ‘Melemon’
  • Pumpkin ‘Hijinks’
  • Watermelon ‘Faerie’, ‘Shiny Boy’, and ‘Harvest Moon’
  • Radish ‘Rivoli’
  • Cucumber ‘Pick A Bushel’
  • Bean ‘Mascotte’

We’re trying something different this year by moving the vegetables over to beds at the University of Wyoming

UW AAS Garden

UW AAS Garden

Laramie Research and Extension Center. We figured vegetable plants didn’t really need to be at the front door to Old Main on campus. The vegetables will still be available for viewing by the public and will be highlighted at the R&E Center Field Day Thursday August 28.


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