From the Director's Desk: The Renewed Landis Grown Project

By Fred Breglia, Executive Director

Lan­dis Arbore­tum has always been known for its sig­na­ture plant sales. In the ear­ly days, gar­den­ers would select their plants from the Arboreum’s gar­dens. Founder Fred Lape, shov­el in hand, would dig out the plant and name a price. Now our sales, held each spring and fall, include con­sign­ers from all over the region. Recent­ly our own Lan­dis Grown plants, tend­ed in our green­house by many vol­un­teers, have been added. 

The Renewed Lan­dis Grown Project began three years ago, when a small but ded­i­cat­ed group of vol­un­teers want­ed to see our then vacant green­house full of bloom­ing plants as it had been in past years. We decid­ed to pro­duce one crop of petu­nias in hang­ing bas­kets to keep the project sim­ple and effec­tive and all the bas­kets sold. We put out a call to our mem­bers for pre­vi­ous­ly used hang­ing bas­ket con­tain­ers and were gift­ed with used and new bas­kets and soil as well. Vol­un­teers met mul­ti­ple times to care for the plants, and all sold at the spring sale. We repeat­ed the same endeav­or the fol­low­ing year, adding a vari­ety of woody plants. These includ­ed such natives as but­ton­bush, black gum, catal­pas, oaks, maples, and hazel­nuts, along with some exot­ic spec­i­mens such as the dawn red­wood. The result was anoth­er sell out!

This spring, we will once again offer the petu­nia hang­ing bas­kets, as well as more wood­ies. The project will involve clean­ing and ster­il­iz­ing our prop­a­ga­tion bench­es as well as pre­vi­ous­ly used hang­ing con­tain­ers. Next, we will cre­ate the grow­ing medi­um and pot up the petu­nias. Over the fol­low­ing weeks, min­i­mal yet impor­tant tasks will include spot water­ing and fer­til­iz­ing. Since petu­nias pre­fer a low pH, it is imper­a­tive that the pH is main­tained at an acidic rather than alka­line lev­el. Addi­tion­al­ly, we will be grow­ing some nice selec­tions of natives and dawn red­woods. We have incor­po­rat­ed the use of air pots, a rel­a­tive­ly new inno­va­tion in prop­a­ga­tion, for the larg­er woody selec­tions. Air pots enable us to grow plants with extreme­ly healthy root sys­tems with­out the cir­cling roots often seen in con­tainer­ized plants. These are known as root ready” and can be plant­ed with­out hav­ing to prune roots, as is often nec­es­sary with nurs­ery grown stock. Air pot grown plants also have increased root mass and are more quick­ly estab­lished after planting. 

If you are inter­est­ed in tak­ing part in our Lan­dis Grown Project this spring, please reach out to Vol­un­teer Coor­di­na­tor Susan Stran­gia (Landisvolunteering@​gmail.​com). After a long, bleak win­ter, what could be more entic­ing than a warm green­house filled with young green plants and the com­pa­ny of Lan­dis vol­un­teers? And you’ll become a part of our long his­to­ry of pro­vid­ing healthy and hardy plants to a large and appre­cia­tive public.

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Spring 2024

Volume 42 , Number 1

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