Skip to main content

Plugs vs. Bareroots

This summer, I took on an individual project helping Professor Miller with a trial between plugs and bareroots. The main goal was simple – to see which ones would grow more successfully. The different cultivars were planted and set in two different locations, one in a poly house and the other in full sun. That way, it would be possible to tell if any of the differences were attributable to the different set locations, not the treatments. Each week, I would water the plants and take pictures of their progress throughout the summer.

At the end of the trial, I went through to collect data on each cultivar and plant type (plug or bareroot) to assess their performance. As for the results, the plugs typically grew better than the bareroots, however, it was not always that case. We decided that further research should be done before determining a set conclusion on this project. More trials should be conducted with additional cultivars to gather more information. Establishing a database with many different perennials (that are cultivar specific) could be a good way to communicate different data that has been collected. It will be very interesting to see what the results are in the future, and I look forward to keeping tabs on the project!

Field Day at Blue Grass Lane

On Monday July 23, my team of interns and I had a big preparation day  for the ninth annual Cornell Floriculture Field Day on Tuesday, July 24. The conference began with presentations followed by lunch and tours of Blue Grass Lane. Horticulture professor Bill Miller is pictured left leading a tour at Blue Grass Lane in his festive Hawaiian t-shirt.

Over 130 horticulture professionals attended the event, which included a container competition. The competition is a main event that benefits IBD research in honor of Kathy Pufahl, who has inspired the horticultural business. Categories included Open Division, 16 inch pots, 12 inch hanging baskets, and Home Gardener Division. There were many exciting entries that I could see took time and care to create. Attendees were also asked to put 3 flags next to their favorite perennial flowers as well as 3 flags next to their favorite annual flowers. When we tallied up the votes, it came as a surprise that a variety of Caladiums were voted most favorite annual flower, since up until Field Day, they were not growing too well. We believe this is because they are a shade plant that was grown in full sun (which also may have been why they were chosen to win!).


Overall, the day was successful with learning, voting, and eating. At the end, the winners of the container competition were announced while participants enjoyed local ice cream. The hours of hard work spent setting up (as well as planting and maintaining our flowers) paid off.

Photo Credit: Chris Kitchen

OFA Short Course

From July 14 – 17, a group of Cornell faculty, grad students, and interns headed to Columbus Ohio for the nation’s largest horticulture convention. This was a new experience for me, and probably one the of best learning opportunities I’ve ever had. At the convention, there is a 7 acre trade show, not including the non-stop workshops and seminars that have various topics from greenhouse sanitation protocols to business tips and networking opportunities.

Attending the show was extremely beneficial to me, since my interest in greenhouse production is somewhat new. I had many opportunities to ask questions about the industry and was able to see the latest technologies and trends. It was hard for me to choose between attending seminars and going to into the trade show. Both were so interesting and helpful to me. Professor Bill Miller told me that the best way to engage myself in the convention was to meet people and network inside the show. I was offered many internship opportunities, along with a scholarship opportunity as well. The company owners were extremely excited to meet us and answer any questions we had.

Sam Kass, one of the keynote speakers, is a chef at the White House who works along side of Michelle Obama with her anti-obesity campaign. This was intriguing to me because I did my senior exit project on this topic. He was big into gardening with the kids and teaching them the importance of producing food and cooking it to eat. Another speaker created a gardening program for young children in a school, which emphasized the importance of Ag education. This struck me and had me thinking of ways that I could implement a program in my own former elementary and high school.

Overall, I thought that the experience was incredible and I am planning on attending next year. It is hard to recap everything I learned and experienced but what I gained will help me so much with my future studies and career. I recommend this show to anybody interested in horticulture, there is something for everybody to learn.

Blue Grass Lane Annual Flower Trials – Take 1

Hello! My name is Missy Call and I have chosen to blog about my experiences at Blue Grass Lane Annual Flower Trials. So I decided my first post would be about my first couple of weeks of work at Ken Post Laboratory and Blue Grass Lane. For starters, it is definitely the place for you if you enjoy working in greenhouses and gardening. The internship is a lot of hard work and keeps me in shape! There is a lot of planting, weeding, mulching, and watering, among many other things. The job atmosphere is really laid back, which is excellent for the summer, and requires a variety of different tasks so you aren’t doing the same thing every day.

As a brief overview, my job, along with two other interns, is to plant, maintain, and evaluate new cultivars of annual flowers. We receive these cultivars from various breeding companies such as Syngenta, Classic Caladiums, Ball FloraPlant, Ball Ingenuity, Burpee Home and Garden, Keift, PanAmerican Seed, and Proven Winners. Once the beds are finished, we begin to evaluate each plant and score it on how well it is growing in its new environment, here in zone 5. These evaluations are sent back to the breeding companies and reviewed by the researchers and marketers.


Another project we help take care of is the perennial beds, located right next to the annuals. There are six large beds that have already been planted and established, so we spend a lot of our time weeding and mulching these beds.

In the greenhouse we help Professor Bill Miller collect data for research on Lilies and Dahlias. This includes measuring stem and leaf size, time of flowering, and taking photos of the plants. It is always a nice perk to be able to bring the flowers home with us after all of the data has been collected.


Skip to toolbar