Welcome to the Garden Professors. I am currently an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Department of Forestry at Michigan State University. I am also about the last person I thought would be doing a blog. I have often wondered who has time to read blogs, let alone write one. But I was intrigued when Jeff Gillman invited me to participate in this one. I have a lot of respect for Jeff and for Linda Chalker-Scott. Both have contributed a lot to landscape horticulture by critically examining the various myths that pervade gardening.
My background: I’m originally from the great Pacific Northwest; born and raised in Olympia, Washington. I was fortunate to go to Olympia High School, which offered courses in Botany, Ecology, and Forestry. Mr. Walt Chance, who taught Botany and Ecology, sparked my interest in plants and trees in particular. I got my B.S. in Forest Management from Washington State University and then did graduate work in tree physiology at Oklahoma State University (M.S. Forestry) and at the University of Georgia (Ph.D. Forest Resources). I began working on tree nursery and urban forestry-related issues with the USDA Forest Service and continued to research tree nursery issues as a scientist with Union Camp/International Paper. Since 1999 I have been on the faculty here are MSU developing research and extension programs that deal with landscape, nursery, and Christmas tree issues. I am currently involved in production issues related to container-grown trees and issues related to the Emerald Ash Borer outbreak. I also write and speak on landscape conifers. If you are interested in some of my research and professional publications you can wander over to my faculty web-page http://www.hrt.msu.edu/faculty/cregg.htm I live on a 5-acre farm in Dewitt, Michigan with my wife (Terri, whom I also met in Athens), our daughter (Hannah), two dogs, two horses, and an undetermined number of barn cats.
For my part, the theme of the blog follows Will Rogers’ famous line, “It’s not what we don’t know that causes us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.” As Jeff and Linda have documented in their books and articles, there is a lot of science related to landscape horticulture that we choose to ignore. So, if you don’t like the facts getting in the way of a good story then this blog is probably not for you.
As we launch this blog, I’d like to add another quote from Will Rogers, the one he used to end every show. He stated simply, “I never a met a man I didn’t like.” The quote is remarkable because Rogers certainly met a lot of people that didn’t like him as he used his razor-sharp wit to carve up politicians and public figures of every stripe. But Rogers’ too-short life proved that we can disagree without being disagreeable; something sorely lacking in all forms of discourse these days. As we grope our way through the electronic age, many people hide behind the anonymity of the internet to spew all sorts of venom. By intent, this blog will touch on some controversial issues and we don’t expect readers to agree with everything we write. Our goal is to raise the level of dialogue about Horticulture; put some ‘meat’ and some science in the mix. This blog has a ‘comment’ bar and we encourage you will use it, but ask that we keep the focus on content not character.