Tag Archives: leaves

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Propagation from Cuttings

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Propagation from Cuttings

When the Parsnip was a young preacher just getting started, we would often visit with the older members of our congregation. We would see if they had any physical, environmental or, most pressing in our line of work, spiritual needs.

While living in El Dorado, Arkansas we were always glad when the time would come to visit Henry and Marguerite Hogg. Henry was a strapping man in his early eighties when we met him. He had stories, many stories of how he had been a school teacher (at age 16!), then went on to be the county postmaster at the ripe age of 19. He had been to war, lived through the Depression and raised a strong, loving family.

As interesting as it was to visit with Henry, I always looked forward to my visit with Marguerite. This tiny, 5 foot, soft spoken woman chose her words carefully and didn’t “put on airs”. I liked that and I liked her. But, my favorite thing about visiting with the Hoggs was…the violets.

Marguerite had loads and loads of beautiful African Violets.They covered every inch of every windowpane. Rich burgundy, royal purple, majestic pink, quiet lavender violets, violets, everywhere.

Violet Array

One Thursday morning Curt (the Parsnip) called me and said, “Hey, Henry and Marguerite want us to come over, can you be ready in 20 minutes”? When we got there we had coffee and some treat or other and then Henry took Curt out to his large, beautiful garden to talk man things. Marguerite said, “I want to give you a violet, you always admire mine so”. I was thrilled beyond words. My own violet treasure. Read the rest of this entry

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Taproot

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Taproot

What do you need to know about taproots?

Not all plants have a taproot, but many of them do. Plants having taproots are extremely difficult to successfully  transplant, however, they are also not very easy to kill. For example, a dandelion has a substantial taproot. You can mow and hack at these little guys, the taproot will just send up new shoots and start again.

At this point I could explain dicots and monocots, but I’m not going to right now. I reserve the right to explain those later. Instead, I’m going to first explain it the way I explained it to Patrick.

Two groups of people want to get the same job done, they want to build a tower.

One group chooses to elect the strongest  guy to stand at the base of the tower, direct all the other workers and then build the tower and climb each section, getting materials needed from the workers he directs. He does the majority of the heavy work, but since he stays put, he relies on the rest of the workers for materials.

The second group chooses to all go out together to gather materials, meet back at the building site and all construct together, gathering more supplies as necessary.

Both groups can get the job done. Both groups build with sound principles. They’re just different, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Taproot System

The taproot system is a good one. One root grows thick and deep, sending out some smaller roots for

Carrots, roots and all

water and food, sending up leaves to bring the energy offered from the sun. You can cut off the top, it will send more (dandelion). You can hack off the side roots, it’ll make more. It’s only real Achilles heel is that taproot. Damage or disturb the taproot, and it’s very likely to kill the plant.




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Stuff You Missed in Botany: Leaves

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Leaves

Leaves are such fun! We love to see them stretch themselves in our little peat pots in the early spring. We love to see them set themselves ablaze in the dog days of summer and the proclamation of fall. We take treks to behold the wonder that are leaves.

So, what are they? How can we help them be healthy in our gardens?

Leaves are the organs of photosynthesis, typically flattened and thin. Although some leaves have adapted to be quite unrecognizable as a leaf in the way we think of leaves. The leaves of conifers are those needles you pull out of your carpet for six months after Christmas. The leaves of succulents are fat and juicy, sometimes waxy or pokey. (Pokey is a technical term, don’t try this at home)

Leaves come in a gazillion shapes, sizes and colors. Like people. (Gazillion, another technical term) = )

Leaves in my garden are the indicators of health for my plants. If they’re perky, green and abundant, life is good. Proceed with gusto. If they’re droopy, sallow and sketchy, an intervention of some sort is necessary. Proceed with caution. If they are rotted, brown and chewed on, well, it may be time for a new hobby or at least some new plants. Proceed to the seed catalog or knitting store, whichever seems logical at the time.

Leaves perform the duties of changing the energy in sunlight chemically into a form of energy or food for the plant. Think of them as tiny little powerhouses. They arrange themselves in such a way that they get the most amount of sunlight they can without shading their brother and sister leaves. If you’re even half observant in your garden you’ll see leaves turn themselves towards the radiance of the sun. It’s amazing.

Cucumber stretching to the sun!

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