Skip to main content


Hortus Forum Poinsettia Sale Dec. 7-8

Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, will hold it’s annual poinsettia sale December 7 and 8.


  • 6-inch foil-wrapped pots – $12
  • 8-inch foil-wrapped pots – $16
  • 7-percent discount for orders exceeding 9 items.
  • Delivery available.
  • Now accepting pre-orders. See order form for details.

Proceeds support Hortus Forum activities.

Our mission: Cultivating a positive social community which fosters a passion for plants and teaches the value of horticulture.

Follow us on Facebook.

poinsettias at kpl

Gathering honors Pritts

Co-workers, friends and family gathered Wednesday to celebrate Marvin Pritts‘ 13-year tenure as Horticulture Chair. Pritts passed the torch to Steve Reiners in July to take over new responsibilities as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Plant Sciences Major.

Reiners and Chris Watkins, Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, toasted Pritts’ accomplishments during his years of service. Pritts heaped praise on all of the people who helped Horticulture thrive in the new millennium, from administrative assistants to CALS administrators.

Thanks Marvin!

Pritts thanked all the people who helped Horticulture thrive during his tenure.

Pritts thanked all the people who helped Horticulture thrive during his tenure.


Ithaca Applefest sales aid Cornell SOHO members

Reposted from CALS Notes:

Members of the Cornell University Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SOHO) are selling 18 different varieties of apples this weekend during the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival. The festival marks the biggest fundraiser of the year for SOHO, with sales helping to defray costs and fund activities throughout the school year.

More than just a fundraiser, the event helps the club get involved in the community.

“It’s a great way for us to reach out to folks in Ithaca,” said Miles S. Sax, a graduate student who has helped staff the booth for the last few years. “You start to have people come back who tried this weird, unnamed variety that they’ve never had before, and they come back and want to try it again,” he said.

Sax was joined by fellow graduate students Zach Stansell and Laura Dougherty on Friday afternoon. Be sure to stop by their booth on the east end of The Commons during the festival, which runs until 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Zach Stansell and Laura Dougherty

Zach Stansell and Laura Dougherty preparing samples.

 Miles S. Sax

Miles S. Sax bagging apples.

More images on CALS Facebook.

Monday seminar: The Invention of Nature

Horticulture seminar series presents historian and author Andrea Wulf speaking on her new book:
Alexander von Humboldt and the Invention of Nature
Monday, September 28, 2015 at 12:20pm to 1:10pm
Note location: Riley Robb, 125

Book synopsis from Wulf’s website:

invention of nature coverThe Invention of Nature reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin.

Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world, paddling down the Orinoco or racing through anthrax–infested Siberia.

Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson.

Wulf also argues that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature. In The Invention of Nature, Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.

Humboldt was, after all, as one contemporary said, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’.

Biotechnology Benefits webinar series starts today

Kenong Xu (Photo: Robyn Wishna/Cornell University)

Kenong Xu will speak on Getting Ready for the Coming Arctic Apples in Part 3 of the webinar. (Photo: Robyn Wishna/Cornell University)

From Lori Brewer:

Webinars are open to all. We hope we are joined by youth, classrooms, educators, volunteers, gardeners, growers and other interested citizens from throughout our communities.

Three Part Webinar Series:
Biotechnology Benefits in Food Production Systems

Turn to your favorite news outlet and chances are you will hear biotechnology mentioned. Just what is biotech? Have you ever eaten genetically engineered food? How will biotechnology affect the environment?

In this three-part webinar series a panel of six university researchers share perspectives about the application of biotechnology in our food production systems. Each session will end with an audience Q & A. Join our conversations. Be inspired to move beyond denial or unquestioning acceptance to meaningfully participate in discussions where science is key source of knowledge in decision-making.

Part 1: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

  • Resistance to Viruses in Plants: A Successful Application of Biotechnology Dr. Marc Fuchs – Associate Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY
  • Breeding: Workhorse of Agriculture Sustainability Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam – Cooperative Extension Specialist, Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, Department of Animal Science, UCDavis, Davis, CA

Join this session via:
Use password: Cce2015!

Part 2: Wednesday September 30, 2015 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

  • What is GMO Anyway? Dr. Peggy G. Lemaux – Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • What Would Rachel Carson Say About Biotechnology? Dr. Tony Shelton – International Professor, Department of Entomology, Assoc. Director of International Programs, Cornell University, NYSAES, Geneva, NY

Join this session via:
Use password: Cce2015!

Part 3: Monday, October 5, 2015 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

  • How the Trees got their Shape Dr. Chris Dardick – Plant Molecular Biologist/Pathologist, USDA ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, WV
  • Getting Ready for the Coming Arctic Apples Dr. Kenong Xu – Assistant Professor of Tree Fruit Genomics, Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY

Join this session via:
Use password: Cce2015!

This series of webinars is organized by Lori Brewer and Kenong Xu with funding support from an NSF-Plant Genome Research Program grant award (IOS-1339211).

Ecological design seminar Sept. 23

From Nina Bassuk:

Department of Landscape Architecture Lecture Series
Integrating Design, Ecology, and Human Cultural Needs in Naturalistic Urban Planning
James Hitchmough, Horticultural Ecology, University of Sheffield
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm
Kennedy Hall, 461

seminar poster




Registration now open for online permaculture design course

Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.

Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.

From Lori Brewer:

Registration is now open for the online course Permaculture: Fundamentals of Ecological Design, offered October 26 to December 10, 2015 through the Horticulture section’s distance learning program. Space is limited to 20 participants. Registration closes when limit is reached. Registration fee is $600 and to be paid via credit card at registration. See registration link at course info website.

The study of permaculture helps gardeners, landowners, and farmers combine knowledge of ecology combined with its application to supporting healthy soil, water conservation, and biodiversity. Permaculture systems meet human needs while restoring ecosystem health. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry.

The course is 6.5 weeks long and provides an opportunity for you to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of a design for a site of their choosing.

While the course is online, the format is designed for consistent interaction between instructors and students through forums and live video conferences. Readings and presentations will be directly applied through hands-on activities students will engage with at home.

View the full syllabus for the course and find registration information at the course info website.

Horticulture’s distance learning program offers two other online permaculture design courses:

Completion of a single class gives students a certificate of completion from the Horticulture Section and continuing education units*. Completion of all three courses gives students the portfolio necessary to apply for an internationally recognized certification in Permaculture Design though the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. Registration opens about six weeks before adult education courses begins.

*Most of our participants take our distance courses for life enrichment or professional development. Participants do not receive Cornell University credit for taking any of the courses. Rather, for each course you will receive a certificate of participation from our Office of Continuing Education and Continuing Education Units. People have tried to use the educational award through Americorps Vista Program and it does not work. No financial aid awards are given or discounts to CCE staff or volunteers.

Tour USDA apple and grape collections in Geneva Sept. 23 and 26

apples, USDA-ARS photo

USDA-ARS photo

From Thomas Chao and Gan-Yuan Zhong, USDA-ARS  Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Geneva, N.Y.

The Plant Genetic Resources Unit of USDA-ARS at Geneva, NY is excited to announce two public germplasm tours of the USDA-ARS clonal Apple and Grape collections on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, and Saturday, September 26, 2015.

Tours will be conducted at the McCarthy Farm, located on 2865 County Road 6 (Pre-emption road) in the town of Geneva (across from the St. Mary Cemetery). Both tours will start at 9:00 am. Please park your car on the gravel parking area near the equipment barn once you enter the McCarthy Farm.

The Wednesday tour (September 23rd, 2015) will feature the world renowned apple (Malus spp.) collection. The total tour is expected to take up to 2.5 hours and will be conducted as a walking tour through the orchard grounds. This year will be the last chance to see the wild Malus sieversii seedling block from Kazakhstan, also known as the “Botany of Desire Wild Apple” block. While these trees are important to the USDA’s mission to preserve important apple germplasm, this block of seedlings must be removed by the end of 2015 to make room for future evaluation and selection of wild collected material from North America and elsewhere.

The Saturday tour (September 26th, 2015) will be a combined tour to see and taste the apple collection and also to tour the USDA-ARS cold hardy grapevine germplasm (Vitis spp.) The cold hardy grapevine germplasm is an important resource of wild North American grapevine species. These species play an integral role in the development of many of the hybrid grapevine varieties grown in the Finger Lakes wine region and also across the Midwest and Northeast. As this tour includes both the apple and grape germplasms, it is expected to take about 4 hours to complete (9 am to 11:30 am for apple and 11:30 am to 12:30 pm for grape).

Because the orchard and vineyard are planted on gently rolling ground, please note that uneven footing is possible and appropriate footwear is recommended. We request that all minors must be accompanied by an adult and all visitors should be responsible for their own safety. It is recommended that all visitors bring along appropriate sunscreen, bug spray, hats, and water bottles in order to enjoy the germplasm fully. Rustic restroom facilities (porta-potties) will be available. We will provide the tours rain or shine, except in the case of severe weather.

If you have any questions regarding the tours, please don’t hesitate to contact me through email:

Protecting Pollinators Conference September 22

Syrphid Fly. Photo courtesy of David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

Syrphid Fly. Photo courtesy of David
Cappaert, Michigan State University,

Protecting Pollinators: The New York Pollinator Conference

September 22, 2015
Register by September 18, 2015
$25 each – includes breaks, lunch, and handouts
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County
24 Martin Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186

Program includes presentations on state of pollinators in New York and practical applications for pollinator protection and conservation, including options of ornamental production, wild apple pollinators, using mason bees and more.

View full program and registration information.

Infographic: How indoor agriculture is a boon to NY’s foodies

As part of the lead-up to the Indoor Ag-Con New York conference October 15 in New York City, featured speaker and Cornell greenhouse horticulture specialist Neil Mattson  co-created the infographic below. Mattson will be part of a panel addressing What do scientists view as the ‘next big thing’ in indoor agriculture? The one-day event features 12 keynotes, curated lunchtime discussion tables, and a drinks party. More info.

Download poster-sized infographic  .pdf.