Podcast #7 – Better Red Than Dead

This week’s podcast is dedicated to anthocyanins – those pigments that give plants red, blue, and purple colors. Anthocyanins are also powerful antioxidants, important visual signals for pollinators, and often deadly to insect pests. The myth of the week explains why red leaves aren’t usually a sign of phosphorus deficiency, but instead an indicator that anthocyanins can help plants survive many environmental stresses.

My interview this week is with Cass Turnbull, founder of PlantAmnesty, a Seattle organization dedicated to “ending the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs.”  My son Jack took the interview photos, and Cass supplied the others from the PlantAmnesty photo archive.  You’ll love the way she combines her educational message with humor!

Cass on her “throne”

One of the nonbotanical garden residents

A selection of PlantAmnesty humor

Please let me know what you think of the podcast; you can email me directly or post a comment on the blog. Suggestions for future podcasts are most welcome!

You guessed it…

The glorious Allium ‘Globemaster.’

Michelle and Laura B. nailed it, and Jennie had the correct genus.

A little taxonomic correction – it is NOT A. giganteum, as many catalogs and articles suggest, but rather a hybrid between A. macleanii and A. christophii; described by the breeder himself – Jan Bijl – in a 1990 issue of The Plantsman (vol. 12 pp 152-156).  Unless I’ve totally messed up and this is ‘Gladiator,’ not ‘Globemaster.’ They’re quite similar.

Big blobs of floriffic fun, none the less. A bit pricey at $5 to $8 per bulb, though. I only have five in the ol’ home garden – that’s about as "en masse" as I can afford.

Odds and Ends and Scrapple

School starts next week and so time is short, but I have a few quick thoughts to share with you before I get back to setting up class for next semester:

1.  A class called Plant Production appears to be more attractive to students than a class called Nursery Management and Production — even though the concepts taught are essentially the same.

2.  One of the greatest movies of all time, Caddyshack, includes a scene with milorganite.  I won’t tell you which scene so that you can discover for yourself!

3.  Yes, that is what I did during my vacation — watched Caddyshack.

4.  The paint company Sherwin Williams used to sell insecticides in the early 1900s and late 1800s — things like lead arsinate and Paris green — and they used the same logo to advertise these insecticides that they use for their paints today — go ahead, look it up — and then tell me, if you were a PR person for a pesticide firm would you use that logo?

5.  The peanuts are so close to being ripe I can almost taste them!

6.  There’s nothing quite as good as eating Dunkin Donuts and scrapple for breakfast (I spent the past week in Southeast PA — my hometown — and one of the few places that you can find scrapple).