At the annual Plantorama at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens this week the guest speaker was Michael Dirr who has written many important garden books including, Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs which is the bible for American gardeners. He is a very funny man and an excellent speaker.
The Dirr talk provoked an interesting follow up discussion about the nursery business and the change of small garden centers being replaced by superstores. I was more than a little surprised to hear that Dirr was so involved with the trend of breeding plants for color and continuous blooms that the superstores want, but when I also learned that the money raised by these patents is keeping the horticultural department going at the University of Georgia it gave me pause. The sad thing is that many horticultural programs are being terminated or changed to Plant Science or Environmental Studies, because there is not enough money to keep pure horticultural departments alive. Without these traditional horticultural departments will lose the very necessary skills of plant breeding and propagating, and people like Michael Dirr who specifically studies and categorizes plant life will become rarer and rarer.
It was a 60 degree day as we strolled around the Botanical Gardens and stumbled upon these large sculptural forms made by Patrick Dougherty from twisting tree/ shrub branches. There has been a vogue of building these stick forms in England. I am going to have to make one of these.
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