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COMPOST 3—GLEANINGS FROM THE WEB

COMPILED BY WAYNE HANDLOS

Google has a feature which allows you to be notified of websites that use certain keywords that you

designate. The following selections are from the “Alerts”, which have arrived over the past year. The

links take you to the sites, serious, frivolous occasionally almost scandalous and frequently irrelevant.

 CCGS does not endorse any product mentioned here. Editorial comments are in italicized bold Arial type.


Simon Schama of the Financial Times has written an entertaining review of the

book The Founding Gardeners: How the Revolutionary Generation Created an

American Eden (Andrea Wulf, William Heinemann Publishers, 384 pp.) The book is

about the American founding fathers and their involvement with horticulture and agriculture.

One of the reviewers better lines is “At times, Wulf’s writing gets so floridly

fragrant you long for the literary equivalent of skunk cabbage. ‘As winter

passed the baton to spring and lilacs readied themselves for their scented bloom

Thomas Jefferson ached for nature.’ Whooah, steady on with those lilacs!” While

you may think twice about reading the book, the review is very entertaining.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b10bf552-4065-11e0-9140-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz1HdXhoz73


The Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area has an excellent site with

illustrations of the plants growing wild there. This website

http://researchlearningcenter.org/bloom/species/Erodium_brachycarpum.htm  

 will bring you to the section picturing the species of Geraniaceae that grow wild in

southern California, including the genera California, Erodium and Geranium.

Browse the site for lots of other beautiful images.


In the October 2010 issue of Greenhouse Grower magazine there is an article

about ‘Preventing Geranium Leaf Yellowing’ by James E. Faust, Allison Justice,

Vijay Rapaka and Kelly Lewis. .http://www.greenhousegrower.com/magazine/?storyid=3787#

Three factors contributing to leaf yellowing of cuttings include, cultivar sensitivity,

respiration and ethylene. They note that red flowered cultivars are more resistant

to leaf yellowing but white, pink and lavender ones are more sensitive to yellowing.

Cuttings produce ethylene when wounded. The ethylene then contributes to

the yellowing process. Also when the larger leaves export their sugars to the

base of the stem for root production the leaves turn yellow. Yellowing of leaves

after the first week of propagation may be due to a nitrogen deficiency.


The South Africa National Biodiversity Institute has an excellent site with illustrations

and descriptions of native South African plants. The following description

gives an idea of the information about each species on their website.   

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pelarggrandi.htm

“Pelargonium grandiflorum is an erect straggling herbaceous shrub, usually growing to a height of

0.75 m. The glaucous stem is soft smooth and shiny. The foliage is attractive, smooth and glaucous.

The dull grayish green leaves are deeply palmately lobed, usually 5 cm long and 8 cm wide. The

leaf margins are coarsely toothed and some of the leaves have a brownish zonal marking. The fairly large and beautiful flowers

vary from creamish-white to pink with darker blotches on the upper two petals. Pelargonium grandiflorum flowers from August to January.”

The site includes many species of Pelargonium.


The following site comes from a Chicago gardener.

 http://mcgregorsdaughter.blogspot.com/2010/11/geraniums-for-fall-foliage-color.htm

Her article on true Geraniums is very informative and well illustrated. While she gardens in moist,

zone 5 the pictures are worth the visit.


This site http://plants.newplant.co.za/omdlhnrcjw/size/8/family/proteaceae comes from a

wholesale plant nursery in South Africa specializing in their native plants. Many excellent

 illustrations cover many plants indigenous to South Africa. It is well worth visiting.


               The following headline was an eyecatcher for me:

A plant killer sinks her hands in soil and transforms -- eventually --

into a real gardener. The columnist is Kimberly A.C. Wilson writing in The Oregonian.

She is one funny lady and the article is worth reading as she chronicles many of the

mistakes that we all have made.

I particularly liked the following quotation: “By the end of Year One of Gardening

Foolishly, I remained deeply ignorant of the green life. I speak

French and English, and my stabs at gardening felt like some immersiontherapy

among a group that spoke only Finnish.”


This website reproduces a full scientific article about three cultivars of rose geraniums

(‘Reunion’, ‘Bourbon’ and ‘Egyptian’). It includes information about the composition

of the geranium oil differences among the three cultivars, as well as information

about the issue culture of these cultivars. The authors are Rashmi P.

Tembe and Manisushri A. Deodhar. While the article is a technical paper, it includes

much basic information about this important crop. (200 tons of geranium oil are used in

India each year!)

http://www.scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=biotech.2010.492.498&org=11


With $2.4 Million Grant, Researchers to Decode Geranium's Evolutionary Mysteries

Oct. 25, 2010

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2010/10/25/jansen_geranium/      

For abstract of "Variation and the Speed of Evolution" (in Geraniaceae)

AUSTIN, Texas — Botany researcher Dr. Robert Jansen and his colleagues have received a four-year,

$2.4 million  grant from the Plant GenomeProgram of the National Science Foundation to investigate the

genomes of the geranium plant and 15 related species. The scientists want to understand why the DNA

in these species have shown so much more rapid change over the course of their evolution than is typical for

plants."They're a natural set of mutants," says Jansen, the Blake Centennial Professor in Systematic Botany

at The University of Texas at Austin. "There are phenomena going on in the chloroplast and in the mitochondria

of the geranium family that are not occurring elsewhere in the entire plant kingdom. They evolve very rapidly,

and there's an incredible amount of variation in terms of how the genomes are organized." Jansen and his

co-investigators first documented how truly unusual these species were in terms of their variation and the

speed of their evolution.

In the earlier work, however, the labs were looking at the chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA in isolation from

each other and not looking at nuclear DNA at all.  In this new project, they'll sequence the DNA in 14 members

of the Geraniaceae and two related families. The data will be compared across the targeted species, and

across chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear genomes, to investigate how the different compartments of

the plant cell communicate with each other, and how they might have evolved in concert. "The three genomes

interact extensively, and lots of proteins are encoded in the nucleus and then transported to the chloroplast

and mitochondria," says Jansen. "We hypothesize that the genes involved in the unusual phenomena are

likely to be those connected to DNA repair and recombination. They're located in the nucleus, but they function

in the chloroplast and mitochondria." If candidate genes can be identified, says Jansen, they'll be compared to

similar genes in species that don't exhibit the unique traits of the  geranium family. The results are expected to

improve our understanding of the genes and mechanisms involved in communication  among different compart-

ments within all plant cells. The research may also contribute to the economic impact of the geranium, which

contributes $4 billion annually to the worldwide economy, roughly half of that occurring in this country.

The project will have a significant outreach component. Jansen and Tracey Ruhlman, a postdoctoral fellow in

Jansen's lab who's a co-investigator on the grant, are creating a "research  mini-stream" in the College of

Natural Sciences Freshman Research Initiative. Jansen's lab will recruit high school students for  summer

research internships. Teacher training workshops will be offered each year and specific teacher training modules

will be developed in cooperation with public service groups, such as the Texas Natural Science Center, University

of Nebraska State Museum and the Wonderlab Museum of Science in Bloomington, Ind. Other investigators include

Jeffrey P. Mower from The University of Nebraska and Jeffrey D. Palmer from Indiana University.