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Christopher Catanzaro and Enefiok Ekanem

A community tree planting project was conducted on the border of an urban Nashville, Tenn., neighborhood in Autumn 1994. In Jan. 2000, a written survey was developed to assess residents' perception of this site. Responses were gathered voluntarily and anonymously following a community meeting. Photographs of the site taken before the planting and again recently were available to respondents. Descriptions of the site's appearance prior to planting (turf only) included barren, boring, and lacking character. Comments regarding the site with trees suggest that trees provide cover and shade, are aesthetically pleasing, and represent positive human involvement. The average rating of the site's appearance prior to planting was “fair,” while its recent appearance was rated “very good.” Among three tree species included in the planting, Southern magnolia was strongly preferred over Canadian (Eastern) hemlock and Eastern redbud. Respondents valued magnolia's size, unique flowers and leaves, and evergreen nature. Most respondents did not use the area for any specific purpose. Despite that fact, respondents stated that they benefitted from the soothing aesthetics of the landscaped site, and that the site added value to the neighborhood and implied the qualities of belonging and leadership. An unintended outcome of the survey was its educational aspect. Nearly two-thirds of respondents did not live in the area when this site was landscaped, and most of them were not aware that the neighborhood had conducted the project. Nearly one-half of all respondents expressed interest in additional landscaping at this site or nearby high-visibility, high-use sites.

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Christopher Catanzaro*, Haval Kamake, and Sarabjit Bhatti

Twenty-one commercially introduced or trial cultivars of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) supplied by Dummen USA or Ecke were grown at the TSU main campus farm during Autumn 2003. Ten plants of each cultivar were potted in 6-inch standard containers and grown from rooted cuttings to finished plants according to industry cultural practices in a glass greenhouse. Plant heights were recorded weekly. The date on which anthers began to shed pollen (flowering date) was recorded to calculate response time after initiation of short days. Also recorded on the flowering date were final plant height and two measurements of plant width and inflorescence width. Most cultivars finished within two weeks of the predicted response time of 7.5-9 weeks. However, flowers of `Infinity Red', `Merlot', `Mirage', and `Premium Marble' shed pollen especially late. Flower structures aborted on `Prestige', `Elegance Hot Pink' and `Premium Hot Pink'. Most cultivars were relatively compact at finish date. `Twister', `EuroGlory', and `Coco 2000 White' were particularly small, with average heights of 28-30 cm and average widths of 17 cm or less. `Spotlight Dark Red' was tallest (37cm) and widest (41cm), and also had the widest inflorescences (26 cm). Quality issues observed on some cultivars included low inflorescence number, excessive bract overlap, bract burn, bract reversion, high height to width ratio, and low plant vigor. Cultivars with overall high quality performance included `Premium Red', `Infinity Red', `Spotlight Dark Red', `Coco 2000 Red', and `Freedom', which all scored highly in the consumer preference survey conducted at the end of the study.

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Christopher Catanzaro*, Haval Kamake, and Sarabjit Bhatti

A poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) open house was held at the TSU main campus farm in Dec. 2003, during which a high quality finished plant of each of 21 cultivars was on display (supplied by Dummen USA and Ecke in August as rooted cuttings). The cultivars varied in inflorescence color and pattern, plant size and plant growth habit. Members of the campus community, the Tennessee Flower Growers Association, extension personnel, and the general public attended. Most attendees completed a written survey (n = 173), in which they rated how strongly they liked or disliked each cultivar. Cultivars were rated on a Likert-type scale (1 = strongly dislike, 7 = strongly like). Highly rated cultivars (mean >6) included `Premium Red', `Infinity Red', `Spotlight Dark Red', `Coco 2000 Red', `Merlot', `Prestige', `Freedom', and `Premium Hot Pink'. Less preferred (mean <4.4) were `Premium Marble', `Mirage', and `Limelight'. Although no cultivars were strongly disliked, the large, traditional red cultivars were preferred. Attendees also provided information on demographics and plant purchases. The typical attendee was a 40- to 59-year-old female with a college education and 2 to 3 people in the household with a total income of $25,000-50,000. Eighty percent bought poinsettias in 2002, with an average of 3.7 plants purchased. Eighty percent of plants purchased were red, and color was the most important selection feature. Results suggest that although most consumers prefer traditional red cultivars, a niche market exists for plants with novel inflorescence colors and unique bract and leaf coloration patterns and shapes.