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Master Gardener: Some seasonal notes

Greenhouse is up and all the sensitive plants in. This year I ordered a ‘pop-up’ greenhouse, one of those that literally goes up in five minutes (in my case, 15 minutes). With its anchors in place, it’s a sturdy, weather- tight, temporary place to house all my “plant children.” Next spring, I’ll pull up the anchors and lift it off my plants, dry it and place it in storage. We’ll see how many seasons it can endure.

Hats off to the grounds maintenance crew at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Instead of hiring out machine mowing of grass fields around the runways this summer, they contracted a herder and a couple dozen goats to do the job.

You know you’ve reached some degree of notoriety when you get something named after you. In this case, Duke University chose to name a collection of nineteen fern species in honor of Lady Gaga. Seems they look like one of her costumes worn in an appearance on the Grammies in 2010. When a genetic test came back on the plants it seems that G-A-G-A also came through in the base pairs sequence. Talk about destiny.

Spinach. You know Popeye thrived on it, but how about solar cells. Seems “biohybrid” cells use Mother Nature’s method of solar harvest. Scientists at Vanderbilt University say the development of Photosystem I based cells can lead to cheaper and greener solar technology.

Congratulations to County Line Schools. Saw where you were picked along with nine other schools in the state to participate in the state forestry commission’s STOP program. One of the best things you can do to help Mother Nature (and yourself) is to plant trees.

As the holidays approach, I want to encourage everyone to decorate with a thought to safety. Real Christmas trees kept watered and lights off when you’re not there. Use of natural objects - pine cones, winged elm branches, holly berries, fruits, etc. - as a choice for decorating. Always, though, safety first.

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