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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.

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poinsettias at kpl

Greenhouse field trip

Students in Horticultural Science and Systems (PLHRT 1101)  got a glimpse of what’s going on in the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, Plant Science Greenhouses, and Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouse Complex on a walking tour led by Neil Mattson, associate professor in the Horticulture Section last Friday.

Highlights included viewing what Cornell’s first-to-flower titan arum ‘Wee Stinky’ looks like during its vegetative stage, with its single leaf pressing the rafters (below).

PLHRT 1101 students view 'Wee Stinky' in its vegetative stage.

PLHRT 1101 students view ‘Wee Stinky’ in its vegetative stage.

McLoughlin awarded LIFGA scholarship

Patrick McLoughlin

Patrick McLoughlin

Patrick McLoughlin ’16 was one of 17 students nationwide awarded scholarships from the American Floral Endowment. The senior Plant Sciences major received the Long Island Flower Growers Association (LIFGA) Scholarship.

McLoughlin is interested in the application of tissue culture for ornamental production, specifically in Impatiens. He plans to start his own business in the future. “I would also like to use local farmers to start a hops breeding program to find novel forms of disease resistance to mildew,” McLoughlin said.

The LIFGA Scholarship was established in 2010. LIFGA members represent growers and retailers promoting research, education and sales of ornamentals in the local market. The scholarship is intended for students in the Long Island/New York area studying ornamental horticulture at a community college or a four-year institution.

Fall 2015 issue of periodiCALS

Larry Smart examines a willow seedling from his breeding program. Photo: Robyn Wishna

Larry Smart examines a willow seedling from his breeding program. Photo: Robyn Wishna

The Fall 2015 issue of periodiCALS. Some of the articles of horticultural interest include:

Dreer Award offers opportunities to pursue interests abroad

Plant breeding graduate James Keach, one of three 2015 Dreer Award winners, will study impatiens Thailand.

Plant breeding graduate student James Keach, one of three 2015 Dreer Award winners, is studying impatiens Thailand.

From Nina Bassuk:

The Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science offers a wonderful opportunity once a year, the Frederick Dreer Award, that allows one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture.

See the application and instructions that spells out the procedure for applying. Basically it is quite simple. Submit a written proposal to the Dreer Committee by the deadline (March 1, 2016 in this cycle), which is followed by an informal interview, generally in a week or two. The faculty receives the recommendation of the Dreer Committee and votes on the nominee.

The only obligation of the Dreer award winner is to write to the Dreer Committee monthly while overseas, and upon return to the United States, give a presentation about their time abroad to students and faculty.

Please look into this opportunity seriously. It can be taken as a summer and a semester’s leave or a year’s leave of absence during school or upon graduation. If you would like to talk over a potential idea for the Dreer with a member of the Committee (and we encourage you to do so), please contact Nina Bassuk (Horticulture) Josh Cerra (Landscape Architecture) or Marvin Pritts. (Horticulture).

New class: Wine Culture

wine-cultureComing Spring 2016:

Wine Culture
2 credits
TR 3:35-4:25


An informative and entertaining look at the complex interactions between wine and culture:

  • What role does wine play in the creation of culture, from ancient times to the world of today?
  • How has culture influenced wine production and appreciation?

Includes wine tastings. No minimum age for enrollment.

Help crowdfund ‘Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them’ class


For millennia, plants have been used for healing.

As older generations of traditional healers pass away, much of their knowledge of medicinal plants and their uses is in danger of disappearing. Even as these practices ebb in indigenous communities around the globe, there is a growing interest in reconnecting with the natural world, as well as an appreciation of the breadth and depth of these traditional bodies of knowledge.

At Cornell, students will be exploring the relationship between plants, healing, and the community elders who use plants to heal in an exciting spring semester class, PLHRT 4940: Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them.

View video, read more, and support the effort on the crowdfunding site.

Urban soils ‘field trip’

Students in Horticultural Science and Systems (PLHRT 1101) got a glimpse of what’s going on underground Friday when instructor Frank Rossi, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, took them on a whirlwind tour of urban soils on the Cornell campus, including these highlights …

Succulents grow in ultra-light container soil mixes on Fernow Hall’s green roof:


Soils amended with compost using the ‘scoop and dump’  technique support shrubs in the bio-swales east of Rice Hall:


Sand-based soils keep the soccer field well-drained but require regular irrigation:


Unirrigated sand-based soils support tall fescue turf on living roof courtyard between Weill Hall and Biotechnology Building:


Compost-amended soils support turf in the ILR School courtyard despite wear and tear from tents and traffic. Rossi uses a penetrometer to measure soil compaction:


Turf planted on CU-Structural Soil helped us learn about why turf dies in winter along Tower Road:


Join the Dilmun Hill student farm steering committee (Deadline: October 14)

Dilmun Hill — recently named one of the Top 10 College Farms in the U.S. — is looking for students to join our steering committee.


We are a student-run farm that has been practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell’s campus since 1996. Our community is the backbone of the farm – it makes it all work, and it makes it fun. Running a student farm is as much about organizing, budgeting, and growing vegetables as it is about working jointly as a team.

The Steering Committee is in charge of planning and implementing policy and aiding the managers in the operation of the farm. The committee meets about every other week during the school year, and consists of the current farm managers, the student researchers, the organic farm coordinator, and a group of student volunteers who apply for the position. Committee members also help with field work and are eligible for independent study credits. Interested? Apply now. Questions? Contact the managers at


SWAT team tackles tree inventory

Horticulture graduate student Emily Detrick puts a tape measure to the rest of the Jordan SWAT team, Kyle Sitzman, Daniel Lambert, Sabrina Miller, Nina Bassuk, Alice Sturm, Quinn Uesugi and Fred Cowett.

Horticulture graduate student Emily Detrick puts a tape measure to the rest of the Jordan SWAT team, Kyle Sitzman, Daniel Lambert, Sabrina Miller, Nina Bassuk, Alice Sturm, Quinn Uesugi and Fred Cowett.

Six students, along with Urban Horticulture Institute director Nina Bassuk and post-doctoral associate Fred Cowett, braved the heat Sunday to complete a street tree inventory for the Village of Jordan, 20 miles west of Syracuse, N.Y.

Bassuk and Cowett have been organizing these SWAT teams (Student Weekend Arborist Teams) of trained students since 2002 to give municipalities an affordable option for inventorying their street trees. “Inventories are the first step to help towns and villages across the state better manage their street tree resources,” says Bassuk.

Taken together, these smaller communities comprise a significant portion of New York State’s street trees.  But they often lack the resources to gather the information they need to keep their street trees healthy.

Ithaca-based Central New York SWAT Teams have inventoried 36 communities. Hudson River Valley SWAT Teams based in Dutchess County and composed of Master Gardeners have inventoried 12 additional communities.

In addition to putting what they’ve learned in class to work in the real world, SWAT team students deliver:

  • A complete inventory of all community trees in the public right-of-way of the municipality.
  • The species distribution, condition, and maintenance needs of these trees.
  • The location of existing planting spaces available for future plantings and list of recommended species.
  • An analysis of the ecosystem benefits provided by community trees.
  • A spreadsheet of inventory data local staff can keep the inventory up to date.
  • A report and presentation of inventory data.

For more information, visit the Urban Horticulture Institute’s Community Forestry website.