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Barbara Berge and Virginia I. Lohr

Studies have shown that many people prefer landscapes with vegetation over those devoid of plants. Few studies have looked specifically at adolescents or people of different ethnic heritages. Understanding preferences of such groups could help in designing horticultural education programs for these populations. In this study, high school students were asked to rate their preferences for a series of plant-dominated and urban-dominated slides.

Students generally gave higher ratings to the plant scenes than the urban scenes, indicating that they preferred the plant scenes. Their preferences were similar to what would be predicted from studies with adults. Hispanic students rated urban scenes and formal plant scenes, such as a garden with sculptured shrubs, significantly higher than did Anglo students. Hispanics rated informal scenes, such as a deciduous forest with no ground cover, significantly lower than did Anglo students.

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Suzanne A. Poston* and Candice A. Shoemaker

Two age appropriate curricula for third through fifth graders, Professor Popcorn (PP) and Junior Master Gardener: Health and Nutrition from the Garden (JMG), were compared for their effectiveness in teaching nutrition knowledge, improving fruit and vegetable preference, and improving self-efficacy in gardening and eating fruits and vegetables as part of an after school learning program. Eighteen third through fifth graders participated in an eight lesson summer program (11 in PP, 7 in JMG), and eleven fourth graders participated in JMG during the fall. Knowledge, preference and self-efficacy measures were obtained at baseline and at the end of the program. There were no significant differences in these variables between the participants in PP and JMG at end-program. One interesting finding, however, was the change in gardening self-efficacy of the summer JMG group compared to the fall JMG group. Gardening self-efficacy of the summer JMG group increased (P = 0.063) while that of the fall JMG group decreased (P = 0.012) from baseline to end-program. Further investigations examining the role seasons have in the outcome of a garden-enhanced nutrition program and the activities of gardening occurring at different times throughout the growing season are suggested. In addition, further research should examine the amount of classroom time versus gardening time that is needed to make a garden-enhanced nutrition program more effective in an after school learning program.

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Houchang Khatamian and Alan Stevens

The main purpose of this study was to determine consumer preferences as influenced by type of packaging, size of container, and price when purchasing ornamental plants. From February to May 1991 over 1000 questionnaires were completed through personal on site interviews conducted at Flower/Garden shows and Garden Centers.

Forty one percent of participants preferred to purchase their trees as balled in burlap form and 47% chose to buy their shrubs in containers. Shoppers purchased 60% of their nursery plants from Garden Centers followed by 22% at discount outlets such as K-mart.

The most important factors in purchasing nursery stock were the price and quality of the plants followed by its size. Packing was an important factor but ranked much lower than price and quality.

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Suzanne A. Poston, Candice A. Shoemaker, and David A. Dzewaltowski

After-school time is currently underutilized as a potential setting to promote healthy eating in children. Two programs, a standard nutrition program titled Professor Popcorn (PP) and a gardening and nutrition program using lessons from Junior Master Gardener: Health and Nutrition from the Garden (JMG), were compared to investigate their influence on nutrition knowledge, improving fruit and vegetable preference, and improving self-efficacy in gardening and eating fruit and vegetables in an out-of-school setting. Third through fifth graders participated in an after summer-school program (n = 11 in PP; n = 7 in JMG), and fourth graders participated in JMG (n = 11) during the fall after school. Knowledge, preference, and self-efficacy measures were obtained at the beginning and end of the program. Neither program improved nutrition knowledge, nor were there any differences between the PP and JMG mean difference scores. The programs did not improve fruit and vegetable preference or fruit and vegetable consumption self-efficacy. There was, however, a change in gardening self-efficacy for the summer JMG group compared with that of the fall JMG group. Gardening self-efficacy of the summer JMG group increased (P < 0.10), whereas that of the fall JMG group decreased (P < 0.05). Further investigations should examine the activities of gardening occurring at different times throughout the growing season, and the role that seasons have on the outcomes due to a garden-enhanced nutrition program. In addition, researchers should examine the amount of classroom time vs. gardening time that is needed to make a garden-enhanced nutrition program more effective in an out-of-school learning setting.

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Alan Stevens and Houchang Khatamian

Correctly anticipating consumer preferences for goods and services can have a large impact on profitability. A survey to measure the influence of plant value and consumer preferences for store services was conducted at flower, lawn and garden shows in Los Angles, Portland, Kansas City, Atlanta and Philadelphia. All five regional markets placed a greater importance on plant quality than on price or plant size. A trained professional sales staff and the availability of a large quantity and good selection of plant material were the highest rated store services in all of the markets. Offering free delivery had the lowest rating in every market. Having the store open on Sunday was more important in the markets on the west coast than in the Kansas City or east coast markets.

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Sarah E. Lineberger and Jayne M. Zajicek

Nutrition in the Garden is a garden program designed to help teachers integrate nutrition education into their classroom using a hands-on tool, the garden. The objectives of this research project were to 1) develop a garden activity guide to help teachers integrate nutrition education, specifically as it relates to fruit and vegetables, into their curricula, 2) evaluate whether students developed more positive attitudes towards fruit and vegetables by participating in the garden program, and 3) evaluate whether students developed better nutritional behavior by eating more fruit and vegetables after participating in the garden program. Students' nutritional attitudes regarding fruit and vegetables were measured with a fruit and vegetable preference questionnaire divided into three sections targeting vegetables, fruit, and fruit and vegetable snacks. Students' nutritional behaviors regarding fruit and vegetables were evaluated through 24-hour recall journals. After gardening, students' attitudes towards vegetables became significantly more positive. In contrast, no differences were detected in attitudes towards fruit. Students also had more positive attitudes towards fruit and vegetable snacks after gardening, with female students and younger students having the greatest improvement in snack attitude scores. Even though school gardening improved students' attitudes towards vegetables, fruit and vegetable consumption of students did not significantly improve due to gardening. Overall, the average daily fruit and vegetable consumption of the students participating in the Nutrition in the Garden study was 2.0 servings per day. This falls short of the estimated national average for daily fruit and vegetable consumption for this age group (3.4 servings) and extremely short of the nationally recommended 5.0 servings per day.

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Mark H. Brand and Robert L. Leonard

Survey data from 788 single-family residences from New England were analyzed to evaluate purchasing preferences and gardening habits. Particular attention was focused on plant attributes and choices of independent garden centers vs. mass merchandisers. Independent garden centers, magazines, and friends were the most important sources of gardening information, while mass merchandisers were relatively unimportant information sources. While consumers trusted information received at independent garden centers, they did not trust mass merchandiser information as much. The most important product and service attributes of retail establishments were well-maintained plants, informative signage, knowledgeable staff, and a wide selection of plant material. Gardening chemicals and fertilizers were purchased at mass merchandisers due to price. Consumers preferred to purchase high-value, long-lived plants (trees and shrubs) at independent garden centers due to higher plant quality and access to knowledgeable staff. When making plant purchases, plant appearance was the most important consideration regardless of whether the plant was an annual, perennial, or woody plant. The presence of flowers on plants was not ranked as influential in making purchase selections, but evidence of new growth, the presence of dark green foliage, and knowledge of a northern-grown source were important. For trees and shrubs, the significance of a plant guarantee and knowledge of a northern-grown source increased in importance in comparison to annuals and perennials.

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Geralyn Nolan* and Jayne Zajicek

Child obesity has become a national concern. Obesity in children ages 6-17 has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Only twenty percent of children today consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. This trend is even more pronounced in minority populations. Past studies have reported that horticulture based curriculum, including gardening, can improve children's attitudes toward eating fruits and vegetables. To investigate whether children of a minority population can benefit from gardening supplemented with nutritional curriculum, research was conducted with elementary schools in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Elementary school teachers participating in this research agreed to have school gardens and complete all activities in a nutritional curriculum provided to them through the Texas Extension Service. Children in the participating schools completed a pre- and post-test evaluating their attitudes and snack preferences toward fruits and vegetables and their knowledge before and after gardening supplemented with nutritional information. Statistically significant differences were detected between pre- and post-test scores for all three variables. After comparing pre-and post-test scores, it was concluded that gardening with supplemental instruction, had a positive effect on all three variables including students attitudes and snack preferences toward fruits and vegetables and their nutritional knowledge.

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Donglin Zhang, F. Todd Lasseigne, and Michael A. Dirr

China, E.H. Wilson's “Mother of Gardens”, is a large untouched resource of ornamental plants to this day. Southeastern gardens and arboreta teem with plants from China, which boasts the most diverse temperate flora in the world with more than 30,000 species described. Because of China's unique geography, climate, and floristic similarities to the southeastern United States, many of these ornamental plants should be adaptable. Based on studies of the phytogeography, floristics, history of plan; hunting, and performance of plants already introduced into cultivation from central and southeastern China, ≈500 potentially “new” species of Chinese woody plants are presented for ornamental evaluation. Characterization of the species' geography and climatic preferences in China will allow horticulturists to more accurately predict the species' performance throughout the Southeast. Zone maps exist for the United States and China that equate geographic areas on a temperature basis. However, these zone maps do not reflect the wide microclimatic differences (such as those contributed by elevation) that occur in the climatic zones. The results of this survey should enhance interest in the wonderful diversity of Chinese plants. Maps of areas already explored in the past (George Forrest, Ernest H. Wilson, and other contemporary explorers) as well as maps of suggested areas which have not been fully botanized are presented for review.

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M. Haque, M. Baker, C. Roper, C. Carver Wallace, M. Whitmire, S. Zabel, J. Arnold, L. Petty, A. Dabbs, B. Jordan, R. Keydoszius, and L. Wagner

The term Ethnobotany describes the study of people's relationships to plants as foods, fibers, medicines, dyes, and tools throughout the ages. Using the student active technique of experiential learning, undergraduate students enrolled in landscape design and implementation classes at Clemson University planned and installed an Ethnobotany garden in partnership with the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG) staff, volunteers, and Sprouting Wings children. Sprouting Wings is an after-school gardening and nature exploration program for under-served elementary school students. College students and faculty working on this service-learning project contributed over 1,000 hours to their community while learning more about both the art and the science of landscape design and implementation. Students enrolled in the landscape Implementation class were surveyed to evaluate their perceptions on a variety of possible learning outcomes for this class. Students indicated that their service learning experience with the Ethnobotany project allowed them to acquire and practice new skills, broadened their understanding of the surrounding community, increased their ability to work in real world situations, introduced new career possibilities, gave students a better understanding of their course work, increased their ability to work on a team, increased their knowledge of environmental sustainability, and allowed them to discover or develop leadership capabilities. In a survey question regarding preference for service learning rather than traditional classes, the majority of students prefer the service learning pedagogy. In addition, most students reported a high degree of initiative for this project in their reflections.