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  • Author or Editor: Candice A. Shoemaker x
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Plants are a part of many rituals and celebrations and they influence our language, art, and literature. At the First National Symposium on The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being and Social Development, a session on Plants and Human Culture was held. A review will be given of the seven oral presentations from this session and the discussion which followed. Some of the topics presented included the role of the corporate garden in the cultural activities of the community, the role of horticulture in holiday celebrations, the role of flowers in the bereavement process, and floral symbolism in paintings. Actions which horticulturists can take to promote horticulture within the cultural setting will be presented.

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Plants are a part of many rituals and celebrations and they influence our language, art, and literature. At the First National Symposium on The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being and Social Development, a session on Plants and Human Culture was held. A review will be given of the seven oral presentations from this session and the discussion which followed. Some of the topics presented included the role of the corporate garden in the cultural activities of the community, the role of horticulture in holiday celebrations, the role of flowers in the bereavement process, and floral symbolism in paintings. Actions which horticulturists can take to promote horticulture within the cultural setting will be presented.

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Three to five student learning outcomes (SLOs) were written for each of seven units for the Principles of Horticultural Science course, the foundation course for all nine specializations within the undergraduate horticulture program at Kansas State University. The SLOs were then used as the framework for development of the course. A pre- and post-assessment was given to the students enrolled in the course in the fall semesters of 2005 through 2008 in an effort to assess if the SLOs were being met. The 50-item assessment asked students to record their confidence in ability to do something reflective of the SLOs such as “distinguish between transpiration and respiration” or “write a scientific plant name.” The comparison of the student-reported confidence at the start of the course and their academic performance in the course were not correlated. Students' reported confidence at the conclusion of the course was correlated with their academic performance in 3 of the 4 years that were examined. Because confidence was correlated with academic performance in the course and a course would be considered a domain-specific construct, it is more likely that self-efficacy rather than confidence was impacted as the students moved through the course.

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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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Seeds of eight commonly grown bedding plant species [Ageratum houstonianum Mill., Begonia × semperflorens Hort., Impatiens wallerana Hook., Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv., Petunia × hybrida Hort., Pelargonium hortorum L.H. Bailey, Salvia splendens F. Sellow, Tagetes patula] were germinated at pH values from 4.5 to 7.5 at 0.5 increments. Seeds were germinated in petri dishes on filter paper saturated with buffer solutions or in petri dishes containing a 50 sphagnum peat: 50 coarse vermiculite (peatlite) medium moistened with buffer solutions. Germination on filter paper was affected by pH for all species tested. Peatlite medium pH affected germination of all species tested, except Salvia splendens. Species response to similar pH values differed between the two germination procedures. Total percent germination of seeds germinated was less in peatlite medium than on filter paper.

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Viburnum bracteatum Rehd. is a member of the “dentatum” complex represented by at least three types: V. bracteatum, V. dentatum L., and V. rafinesquianum Schult. V. bracteatum is an endangered species in Georgia and at the federal level is a candidate as an endangered species. Two populations were located in northwestern Georgia; however, there is some concern as to whether they are in fact V. bracteatum. To determine if it is possible to distinguish between the three Viburnum species, cellulose acetate electrophoresis to detect isozyme variation was done. Polymorphic enzymes resolved were alcohol dehydrogenase, malic dehydrogenase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, malic enzyme, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, phosphoglucomutase, and phosphoglucose isomerase. Fresh bud tissue was used, and tissue samples were electrophoresed three times for each enzyme assayed. A review of 100 phylogeny trees created with Dollop analysis was done. V. rafinesquianum, the known sample of V. bracteatum, and the 12 samples of possible V. bracteatum were all equally parsimonious. V. dentatum was consistently an outgroup. In conclusion, isozyme variation can assist in Viburnum species distinction.

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Surveys of consumers and the recently bereaved were conducted to determine who sends flowers as a sympathy gift and when and why sympathy flowers are sent. Of consumers, 85% sent flowers as a sympathy gift at least once; similarly, 84% of the recently bereaved had sent sympathy flowers. Most sympathy flowers are sent to close friends (63%) and close family members (62%), and sympathy flowers are most often received from close friends (56%) and close family members (43%). Ninety-three percent send flowers as a sympathy gift immediately after notification of a death. According to our survey, sympathy flowers serve two roles in the bereavement process—an emotional and a functional role. Except contact of family and friends, participants indicated that receiving sympathy flowers to help deal with grief was equally or more valuable than all rituals associated with funerals.

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A community service work detail program has been established at a state regional hospital to assist the Horticultural Therapy Program. The program provides a stimulating environment, job training, and a work setting for the inmate/probationer. The primary goal of the program is to reduce the number of repeat offenders reentering the criminal justice system.

Evaluation at entry into the program and after every 200 hours was conducted to define a work character profile and prioritize motivational drives. Interest and motivation in the program increased the first 600 to 800 hours and then decreased. To be effective, community service hours in a horticultural work detail program should be no more than 800 hours. The inmate/probationers were prepared and ready to reenter the community work force at this time.

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