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Robert E. Lyons

An undergraduate “Service Course” generally presents principles of a particular discipline in an uncomplicated manner needing no prerequisites. The target audience is typically students majoring outside the service course department or undeclared majors. The primary motives behind service courses are recruitment from within the university, providing non-mjors with a broad appreciation for a discipline, and providing graduate students with classroom teaching/management experience. `The structure, dynamics, success, and adaptability of “Indoor Plants,” a Virginia Tech Horticulture service course enrolling approximately 400 students per year, will be discussed. Comparisons with other service courses will be made.

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Robert E. Lyons

An historic feature of the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) is to identify new and unusual ornamental plant materials for landscape use through an active program of observing landscape performance at the JCRA in Raleigh. Introduction of plant materials into commerce occurs primarily through programs conducted in concert with the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen and through a unique policy of “open access” for nurserymen. One program, The JC Raulston Selections Program, returns revenues to the general operations and maintenance functions of the JCRA; others are not revenue generating, and are provided as a service to the industry. To a lesser extent, the general public may participate in receiving new plants via a special program offered through JCRA membership. The JCRA is also an official trial garden site for the All America Selections program and seed companies. Elements of these introduction and evaluation programs will be discussed within the context of the past, present, and plans for the future for program maintenance and possible changes.

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Peggy Damann and Robert E. Lyons

Chrysanthemum × superbum, Coreopsis lanceolata, and Coreopsis grandiflora are LD flowering perennial plants. The end of juvenility could be defined as the minimum expanded leaf number required for fastest flowering once placed in LD. This research was conducted to compare juvenility and flowering requirements in dwarf and standard cultivars of these species. Plants were maintained under SD and transferred to LD upon reaching true leaf stages beginning with 0 (cotyledons only) and progressing at 2 or 3 leaf intervals to the 24 leaf stage. Coreopsis `Sunray' and Chrysanthemum `G. Marconi' were relatively unresponsive to LD whereas LD induced flowering in 70-100% of the plants in each leaf number treatment in Coreopsis `Early Sunrise'. Plants transferred at the 15 leaf stage required the least number of LD to reach anthesis. LD promoted complete flowering in Chrysanthemum × superbum `Snow Lady' plants and 90% of the SD control plants flowered as well. SD control plants from the other 3 cultivars remained vegetative. Effects of vernalization will also be presented.

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Aaron Steil and Robert E. Lyons

Professional staff at public gardens often overlook educational program evaluation for a variety of reasons, but it remains important for program funding and development. This study developed an original, six-step evaluation approach specific to educational programs at public gardens. Interviews subsequently were conducted with 11 executive directors and/or directors of education at 10 public gardens in the United States with proven, high-quality educational programs. Interviews examined the feasibility, practicality, perceived effectiveness, and merits of the original evaluation approach developed in this study. Interview data added clarification to what is known about the current state of educational program evaluation at public gardens and supported and further improved the original evaluation approach to create an improved version.

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Richard L. Harkess and Robert E. Lyons

Combinations of seed rate, spacing and weed control treatments were evaluated for their effect on the performance of The Virginia Tech Transplanted Meadow technique. The treatments consisted of seed rates of 112 g or 56 g per 90 m-2; within-row transplant spacing of 30, 45, or 60 cm; and mulch, oryzalin, or nothing applied for weed control. Plant competition alone was insufficient for effective weed control whereas oryzalin was the best but also reduced the plant stand and floral display. Mulch provided effective weed control with maximum floral display. Close transplant spacing within rows resulted in quick site coverage but this advantage disappeared after 8 weeks when no difference in floral display was observed. Seeding rate did not affect site coverage until the meadow reached maturity at 12 weeks. The lower seed rate allow ed more lodging, resulting in a more open appearance and greater light transmission through the canopy. Chemical name used: 4-(dipropylamino)-3,5dlnitrohenzenesulfonamide (oryzalin).

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Kathleen M. Bourke and Robert E. Lyons

Gaillardia pulchella is an annual wildflower with ornamental potential native to the South and Southern West part of the U. S. This experiment attempted to further describe the long day (LD) flowering requirement, approximate the length of the juvenility phase, and characterize apical events during floral initiation. Plants were transferred from short day to LD at various leaf numbers and the time to first flower was recorded from the onset of LD. A quadratic response described the data and indicated that a minimum of 19-20 expanded leaves were needed to flower most rapidly (49 days) once placed in LD. Histological results characterizing apical events will also be discussed.

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Richard L. Harkess and Robert E. Lyons

A study was undertaken to determine the rate of floral initiation in Rudbeckia hirta. R. hirta plants were grown to maturity, 14-16 leaves, under short days (SD). Paired controls were established by placing half of the plants under long days (LD) with the remainder left under SD. Beginning at the start of LD (day 0), five plants were harvested daily from each photoperiod group for twenty days. Harvested meristems were fixed in 2% paraformaldehyde - 2.5% glutaraldehyde in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate buffer (pH 7.0) for 24 hrs, dehydrated in an ethanol series, embedded in paraffin and sectioned at 8 μm. Serial sections were stained with Methyl-green Pyronin, with adjacent sections treated with RNase for nucleic acid comparison. All events of floral initiation were identified, The results of limited inductive photoperiod indicate that 16-18 LD were required for flowering.

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Robert E. Lyons and Timothy W. Rhodus

Internships are becoming an increasingly used mechanism of providing undergraduates with experience in their chosen profession before job placement, and potential employers view internships favorably in making hiring decisions. Many horticulture programs require internships as part of their curricula, while others are considering the option. Because internship opportunities in horticulture have been compiled in a wide variety of discipline-specific resources with no central, inclusive “clearinghouse,” students often overlook potential opportunities, particularly those outside of their home state, leaving some industry members without interns. The internet-based database of internships developed jointly by Virginia Tech and Ohio State will be discussed within the context of being a resource for all horticulture programs. Other schools will be shown how to contribute to and to use the database so its national scope can be fully used and expanded.