University of Wyoming Extension News

Science program provides students Mother’s Day gifts

Brensyn Baker focuses on the red wiggler he pulled from the compost bucket.

Brensyn Baker focuses on the red wiggler he pulled from the compost bucket.

A seed planted in 2007 continues to blossom for Master Gardeners – and delight mothers – in Powell.

The program teaching local students about plants started seven years ago after a Thanksgiving dinner discussion between Bob Prchal, Park County Master Gardener, and his sister, Judy DeBock, a second grade elementary education teacher at Parkside Elementary. They wanted to expose children to an age-appropriate, first grade science program.

Two first grade classes started the program, and the Master Gardeners now reach up to 10 classes. The children are taught the six basic plant parts, the purpose of good bugs and bad bugs, special plant characteristics, importance of worms, bug cages and transplanting.

Students receive instruction in the greenhouse at the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center (PREC).

“The plants, varying from a vegetable to an annual flower mix, give the childrenhands- on experiences to apply concepts taught in class as well as a Mother’s Day gift after the plants are acclimated,” said Prchal.

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Garden walk exhibits University of Wyoming’s All-America Selections Display Garden

The UW AAS Display Garden is located adjacent to the Williams Conservatory

Attendees of a garden walk at the University of Wyoming’s All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden will feast their eyes on 29 distinct cultivars of 18 species of plants.

The garden walk is 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, August 7 at South Ninth Street and East University Avenue adjacent to the Williams Conservatory on the UW campus. Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and light snacks will be provided. Parking is available on South Ninth Street.

Karen Panter, UW Extension horticulture specialist, will host the garden walk.

“Some of the flowering annuals are totally awesome right now,” said Panter. “Three cultivars of zinnias are outstanding — Double Zahara Cherry, Double Zahara Fire and Zahara Starlight Rose; the latter is my favorite. And the four violas are also full of blooms. They are: Endurio Sky Blue Martien, Rain Blue and Purple, Skippy XL Plum, Gold and Shangri-La Marina.”

The AAS Display Garden, the only one in Wyoming, contains some of the latest and best introductions of annuals, a few perennials and some vegetables from various seed companies to observe how they respond to southeast Wyoming’s climate, according to Panter. The same cultivars are planted throughout the United States in nearly 200 other AAS Display Gardens for climate-comparison purposes.

This year the AAS selections are three herbaceous perennials, 15 flowering annuals and 11 vegetables.

“We have two cultivars of tomatoes, Lizzano and Terenzo, which are smaller bush plants,” said Panter. “They are both producing fruit at the moment. A few are starting to color up.”

Panter said that the three perennials are thriving although they probably will not bloom this summer. They are: Echinacea purpurea “Powwow Wild Berry,” Gaillardia aristata “Arizona Apricot,” and Gaillardia aristata “Mesa Yellow.”

The UW AAS Display Garden is a joint effort between Panter and Andy Smith, manager of UW landscaping and grounds, Cody Barry, coordinator of UW landscaping services, and the UW landscaping and grounds maintenance crew.

Panter said that the AAS national office contacted her last summer and expressed their interest in having her grow an AAS Display Garden in Laramie.

“So I talked to Andy Smith over in landscaping and we chose a site, submitted an application to AAS and were awarded Display Garden distinction,” said Panter.

Panter started sowing seeds in March and nurtured them to transplanting size at the UW Laramie Research and Extension Center Greenhouse Complex, a 20,000 square foot headhouse facility that includes 11,000 square feet of greenhouse space and 10 research laboratories. The garden was planted on June 6.

For more information, visit Panter’s website at http://karenpanter.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/cultivars-in-2012-aas-gardens-at-the-university-of-wyoming/; for information about Display Gardens visit the AAS website at http://www.all-americaselections.org/.

Powell high tunnel field days demonstrate how to plan for, build high tunnels

Plants last year in one of the high tunnels at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

Those attending the two-day high tunnel workshop at the Powell Research and Extension Center will learn how to plan for a high tunnel and then can help build two.

The free sessions are Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, at 747 Road 9. RSVP is requested by Monday, July 16.

“High tunnels are useful tools to protect your crops from the elements while extending the growing season allowing us to provide better-quality food for ourselves,” said Jeff Edwards, UW Extension educator, who will oversee construction.

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