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Oct 23, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Botanical Garden’

What I Do: Glenn Kopp of Missouri Botanical Garden

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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Looking for ways to make your garden the envy of your neighbors? Glenn Kopp, horticulture information manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening, is at your service. Kopp, a MoBOT employee of 30 years, tells how he and his team help everyone develop their green thumbs.

How do you decide what to plant in the demonstration gardens?
We’re selecting things of interest to home gardeners, so if there are new cultivars of roses that are more disease-resistant or a new color, we’ll try that. Also, we have an experimental garden. We’re always testing new things that might be appropriate to grow in our area.

What happens to produce grown at Kemper?
If we have overproduction, it goes to food banks. Some (produce) we give to staff and volunteers to get feedback. If the timing is right, we can use it at a cooking class.

What do you do to people who pilfer the produce?
Give a very stern look. There have been occasions where someone will come in with a shopping bag and start grabbing things. We have to say, “I’m sorry. There’s no picking allowed.” We are a display garden. If everyone took samples, it wouldn’t look very good. People would say, “What’s the matter with that plant?”

What are the biggest mistakes gardeners make in springtime?
People try to work the soil when it’s still wet. Some people plant warm season crops too early; you should wait until mid-May to plant tomatoes. Inadequate soil preparation; doing a soil test is worthwhile to find out the nutrients you need for the soil. Matching sun conditions with what you want to grow; most vegetables do not do well in shade. Watering: People water in the evening, which is not a good time. If you keep the plants wet overnight, there’s a greater chance they’ll get fungal diseases.

You’re a Master Gardener.
What is that? It’s a volunteer program that started in Washington State in 1973. People are trained and then do volunteer service. Here in St. Louis, our volunteers go to 16 weeks of classes once a week. Some come with gardening experience, though that’s not required. We match their skills to where they can work.

What does a Master Gardener wear for gardening?
An old T-shirt from the old Japanese festival or a Best of Missouri T-shirt. Those are good. Pants instead of shorts. Good shoes. A hat.

What oddball gardening questions have you fielded?
Recently, somebody wanted to grow edelweiss in their home. Edelweiss is an alpine plant known from The Sound of Music. It won’t grow in St. Louis. The volunteers at the answering service write down some of the unusual questions. Someone asked how would they use Miracle Whip on their strawberries. They meant Miracle-Gro.

Does talking to a plant help it grow?
Breathing minimally increases the carbon dioxide around the plant, some people say. There’s nothing conclusive.

Each spring, a whole team of gardening experts at MoBOT’s Horticulture Answer Service fields hundreds of questions from St. Louis-area gardeners – including a few oddball ones that catch even these seasoned professionals off-guard. Click here to see some of the strangest queries ever received.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Extra Sauce: 14 weird questions from St. Louis gardeners

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

In our April issue, we picked Glenn Kopp‘s brain for tips and tricks to make our home gardens as fruitful as MoBOT’s William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening, where he serves as horticulture information manager. But Kopp isn’t the only helpful Master Gardener on staff. Each spring, a whole team of gardening experts at MoBOT’s Horticulture Answer Service fields hundreds of questions from St. Louis-area gardeners – including a few oddball ones that catch even these seasoned professionals off-guard. Here, the MoBOT team shares 14 of the strangest queries ever received:

1. What is the name of the plant that has pink flowers on it?

2. I don’t remember where the sun comes up – is it the east or the west?

3.  Can I use birth control pills and put them on my plants to fertilize them?

4. Q: How do I kill a pine tree?
A: Why do you want to kill it?
Q: Because I want it taken away.
A: Why not have someone come in and cut it down and take it away?
Q: My brother-in-law will do that, but only after it has died.

5. Q: What is the round fuzzy thing growing on my red bud tree trunk? Maybe a bug? What to do?
A: Put on a pair of gloves and pull “things” off.
Q: Oh, I couldn’t do that! Couldn’t I just hit the things with a hammer?

6. My big black oak is dropping its acorns! Does that mean it is going to die?

7. Is it too late to bring my geraniums in? (Call date: Feb. 2)

8. Do you have reproduction facilities?

9. I put my poinsettia in the closet on Sept. 15. Can I take it out now? It doesn’t look good. Why doesn’t it bloom? (Call date: Dec. 8)

10. I have a hole in my yard. What do I do?

11. I have a plant that’s too tall. The bottom leaves fall off and it grows from the top. What is it? What do I do to make it shorter?

12. How do you keep birds out of trees?

13. Can you tell me when photosynthesis will occur this year?

14. I understand there’s a new spray for sweet gumball machines?

Do you have a pressing gardening question? Call MoBOT’s Horticultural Answer Service at 314.577.5143 to get one-on-one help from a Master Gardener.

Cinematographer Graham Meriwether talks ‘American Meat,’ screening Thursday at MoBOT

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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“American Meat” is a documentary by Graham Meriwether that looks at contemporary chicken, hog and cattle production in the U.S. The film debuted in 2011 and premiered in St. Louis in October 2012. This Thursday, Sept. 12, Meriwether returns to St. Louis for a screening of the film at Missouri Botanical Garden.

Meriwether was inspired to make the documentary after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. In particular, he was drawn to Joel Salatin, a pasture-based farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and a central subject in Pollan’s book. “He was jumping off the page with charisma,” said Meriwether. He initially  planned to focus the film on Salatin’s Polyface Farms. “In the end, we decided to cover the entire industry as a whole.”

“Our film has a journalistic nature in the way we portray all the different types of meat production in America,” he said. “We don’t vilify or make one as evil and one as good.” He added that moviegoers “really appreciate how balanced the film is.” And while “American Meat” attempts to give an even-handed look at animal husbandry as it moves from feedlot and confinement systems to pasture-based farming models, Meriwether accedes that “we certainly are advocating local, grass-fed meat production.”

Although Meriwether feels the average American “doesn’t have much of an idea where their [sic] meat is coming from,” he is optimistic that awareness levels are changing. “People are becoming more and more curious about production models. I think we will see a huge increase about food transparency and where food comes from in the coming years.

Meriwether’s next project, a documentary titled “Farmers of America,” should continue to shed light on food production. Still in the preproduction stage and with an anticipated release for fall 2015, “Farmers of America” will focus on beginning and young farmers around the country.

MoBOT, in partnership with Chipotle, is presenting a screening of “American Meat” Sept. 12 as part of its Savor Your Summer film series. The screening will take place at 7 p.m. at the Shoenberg Theater, with a reception beforehand outside the theater at 6:30 p.m. Following the film, there will be a question-and-answer session with Meriwether. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go here.

 

 

Nature reserve offers class on wildflowers

Friday, May 21st, 2010

051810_shawIf our May feature on culinary uses of flowers piqued your interest in that subject, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve is offering a class just for you during the next few months: Wildflower ID and Ecology.

Designed for beginners and more experienced amateur naturalists alike, the class “will focus on identification, relationships and habitats of wildflowers of the season,” in wooded, prairie and wetland areas. Its first session runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, with subsequent sessions scheduled for June 19, July 24 and Aug. 21. The class costs $18 for MoBot members and $21 for nonmembers and also requires advance registration. And who knows? Perhaps participants will spot some of the wild edibles showcased in our April cover story.

The Shaw Nature Reserve lies roughly an hour’s drive southwest of St. Louis in Gray Summit, Mo. For more information on the reserve and this class, visit its Web site or phone 636.451.3512.

Dill nabs Herb of the Year honors

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

040110Marjoram put up a pretty good fight. Basil was a serious contender, too. But in the end, the winner was dill.

The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced that dill is Herb of the Year. In addition to an all-expenses paid cruise to the Caribbean and a life-time supply of Turtle Wax, dill will receive top billing at MoBot’s annual Herb Days fest.

The gala plant sale (April 29 to May 1), sponsored by the St. Louis Herb Society, features a huge variety of 14,000 herb plants for sale, including three varieties of dill. So start thinking about pickles, potato salad and salmon with dill sauce.

The society’s cookbook, Herbal Cookery: From the Kitchens and Gardens of the St. Louis Herb Society, will be available for purchase in the Garden Gate Shop. The cookbook won the 2009 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Fundraising Book.

– Byron Kerman

Herb Society wins national award

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

030210_herbalbookA Saucy shoutout to the St. Louis Herb Society!

Its Herbal Cookery: From the Kitchens and Gardens of the St. Louis Herb Society just placed second nationally in the Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards sponsored by McIlhenny Co.

“We were notified a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been flying high since then,” said Stephanie Prade, who co-chairs the society’s cookbook committee with Patricia Holt. “The Tabasco award is really the premiere nonprofit cookbook award presenter in the United States – there’s pretty much the Tabasco award and everything else. And we are so honored to be recognized.”

Published in 2009, Herbal Cookery contains 175 pages, 218 recipes, gardening hints, herbal lore and full-color photos taken by Holt in the herb garden at Missouri Botanical Garden.

“All of our members – and we have over 60 members – contributed to this cookbook,” Prade noted. “An herb or herbs are central to every recipe. I really think we stand out because … our book is so beautiful.”

Tapas in the park

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

No worries if you’re a few snacks short of a picnic when it’s time to head to the Whitaker Music Festival tonight — you can still make a night of it. Just down the street from the Missouri Botanical Garden, at 5257 Shaw Ave., Spanish eatery Modesto assembles to-go boxes with charcuterie, cheese, grapes, walnuts, tapenade and a tortilla Española (pictured). Picnics cost $14.95 per person and can be augmented by a bottle of water or — didn’t we say you could make a night of it? — wine. Call ahead: 314.772.8272.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

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