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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Woody Flower Power

May 29, 2013 at 1:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Many of the woody plants in our 7200′ Laramie yard are in bloom! The date is May 29, 2013 and here are some of the highlights…..

'Montmorency' sour cherry

‘Montmorency’ sour cherry

Grackles and robins always get the cherries before anybody else.

Pink crabapple - Hopa?

Pink crabapple – Hopa?

This crabapple is gorgeous for a few days, then develops fireblight, then drops crabapples everywhere.

'Burkwood' viburnum

‘Burkwood’ viburnum

Some of the viburnums do very well up here in the nosebleed section.

Horsechestnut flower buds

Horsechestnut flower buds

So close to flowering!

'Spring Snow' crabapple‘Spring Snow’ crabapple

No fireblight! No fruit!

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Re-covering High Tunnels

May 16, 2013 at 1:47 am (Uncategorized)

Our two high tunnels got new skins yesterday, May 14, 2013. We managed to pick a day with little wind and five of us available to help!

Double layers on one tunnel with Ethan Walter and Casey Seals debating the next step.

Double layers on one tunnel


Mike Fernandez and Andrea Garfinkel trying to get rid of excess plastic!


Working the wiggle wire on the second tunnel.


North-south tunnel…we even got the roll-up side straight!


East-west tunnel done!


East-west tunnel complete with anti-billow rope zigzagged.


Not-so-straight roll-up bar on the north-south tunnel. Maybe no one will notice.

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New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

March 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm (Uncategorized)

The controversy has already started … and the map was just released a few of weeks ago! It seems some areas of Wyoming have been moved from zone 4b to 5a. Have our lowest average winter temps really increased five degrees since the last map update? The problem is consumers are bound to be confused. And how quickly will industry be able to change plant labels and informational materials?

The new map is interactive – type in your zip code or click on your state and you can find your hardiness zone pretty easily. Most of us know zone 4b in Wyoming (Laramie for example) is definitely not the same as zone 4b in Maine or Wisconsin. Keeping in mind the high elevation, consistent wind patterns, short growing season, low precip levels, and low relative humidity , I still recommend zone 4 plants for most parts of Wyoming. In Laramie, even though zoned 4b, I suggest planting zone 3 plants just to be on the safe side, especially in open areas unprotected from the worst of winter winds. And in Casper, I suggest continuing to plant zone 4 species.

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