Saturday, January 11, 2020


The holiday season has perhaps dulled our brain from being too relaxed, totally drained from being a perfect hostess, or exhausted from working extra hours to be able to spend extra hours at home.  It takes a few weeks to recuperate and get back into the routine of daily life.  Never fear, I am here to help put the brain back to its top notch high gear.

Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener training for Central Oregon starts on Wednesday January 15.  It's a 3-cheer moment to have the classes at the new OSU Extension Office Building #3.  Sit up straight, take a deep breath and start reviewing some of the terminology you'll be hearing again.

Be forewarned, not all  the definitions of the terms I have chosen are research based or approved by local or state Extension staff.  They are meant for entertainment purposes only to provide some lightheartedness and brain stimulation.

The definitions are taken from the glossary section of our giant Sustainable Gardening Handbook as well as from my favorite book titled "A Dictionary for Weedpullers, Slugcrushers and Backyard Botanists" by Henry Beard and Roy McKie.  The book is dedicated "to all those who have heard the call of the land".

The scheduled Botany class reminds us we need to review terms to provide correct information in plant clinic.  The question of the difference between an annual plant and a perennial plant can be confusing to new gardeners.

The research based answer to an annual is "a plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season."  The Beard, McKie definition is "any plant that dies before blooming."

So what is a perennial?  Research based definition is, "a plant that lives 2 or more years and produces new foliage, flowers, and seeds each growing season."  The Beard, McKie definition is "any plant which, had it lived, would have bloomed year after year."

Photosynthesis is one of the multi-syllable words that takes a bit of tongue twisting.  Research based  definition teaches us that it is a process of converting carbon dioxide and water into food (sugars and starches) using energy from sunlight.  Beard, McKie  defines it as a method of presenting specimens in color photographs displayed in seed catalogs using a novel printing technique called Rotogravure in which the various vividly colored inks are applied directly to the flower or fruit before the actual picture is taken.  I'll have to admit to sometimes wondering about the vivid colors in seed catalogs and why the same variety in my garden doesn't come close.

In our less than perfect climate for growing, questions may be asked on the use of cold frames.  In answer--research based defines cold frames as a glass or plexiglass covered frame that relies on sunlight to provide a growing environment for tender plants.

Beard and McKie don't mince words in their definition as being "elaborate display case for showing off a gardener's collection of freeze-dried specimens."

I've checked off the classes I will retake this year. I look forward to the presentations and reviewing subjects we never seem to know in entirety and if we can learn with a chuckle here and there who's to say that's not a bad idea.

Mark your calendar for the KPOV Gardening: Get Good at it "When and What to Prune and Why" , Tuesday January 21 on KPOV 88.9 FM "The Point" between 9-9:30 am

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