Herbaceous Plant School at Secrest: June 27

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Join us for our next OSU Extension Secrest Arboretum workshop on Thursday, June 27, titled “Annual and Perennial Herbaceous Plants’. The program will be from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, including an outstanding lunch and snacks. We will have an extensive Flower Lineup, an Annuals and Perennials Walk (including the occasional woody perennial), a series of educational talks, and your observations, questions – and even a few answers.


Coreposis with pollinator
Bright coreopsis flower with pollinator friend


OSU Extension’s herbaceous heroine Associate Professor Pam Bennett, the OSU Master Gardener Volunteer coordinator, Secrest Arboretum’s own Matt Shultzman, and Jim Chatfield will be the teachers and learners along with all of you present. Registration is available at go.osu.edu/Chatfield and will be $40. Topics will include: New, Mostly New, and Old Standby Annual and Perennial Selections, Herbaceous Plant Maintenance, Key Family Characteristics of Selected Herbaceous Plants. Natural History of Selected Herbaceous Plants, and a Flower Quiz.


Petunias in streetscape planter
Petunias color up a streetscape


From annuals to perennials, from zinnia to astilbe, flower power shall be the order of the day. We shall learn to truly see these flowers. In the 19th century words of the first baron of Avebury, John Lubbock, friend of Darwin and a broad enough thinker that he was both an esteemed banker and entomologist: 

What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. ...In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”


Hibiscus flower
I see Hibiscus


Also from the 19th century, the Frenchman Victor Hugo, who we mostly know as the author of “Les Miserables” (any students reading it this summer?) and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, wrote: “A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” Victor Hugo’s mind also ranged widely, including his 1853 poetical political indictment of Napolean III, “Les Châtiments” (The Punishments).

  “The living are those who wage battle
   The living battle on, ever holding
   a clear purpose in mind and spirit.”

The spirit of flowers, of the gardens, of justice. From salvia to the stars.


A cascade of Rudbeckia with OSU hanging basket trials in the background


Next up: Plant Families III on July 2, and do not forget the Sestercentennial of Alexander von Humboldt’s birth on September 13-14, with an airing of the play: “Humboldt Unbound” in the Secrest Amphitheatre on September 13 with an educational program on Saturday, September 14.


Echinacea trials at OSU
Echinacea and other trials at OSU