The Book of Mormon View Comments from $69.00 Related Shows Star Files Stephen Ashfield photographed at Dream Midtown(Photo: Caitlin McNaney) Stephen Ashfield Age: 36Hometown: Glasgow, ScotlandCurrent Role: Stephen Ashfield plays Elder McKinley, the tap-dancing, lightswitch-turning Mormon district leader in Uganda, in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon.Stage & Screen Cred: The Book of Mormon marks Ashfield’s Broadway debut; he received an Olivier Award for his performance as Elder McKinley in the original London production. His other West End credits include Jersey Boys, Boy Meets Boy, Legally Blonde, Imagine This, Tomorrow Morning, Fame and Taboo. Onscreen, Ashfield has appeared in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, Distinguished Ladies, Call the Midwife and Everybody Knows My Name.
By David BerleUniversity of GeorgiaCreating a functional and attractive landscape can be rewardingin many ways. Unfortunately, so many landscape design articlesand books abound that the task can be daunting.Simply choosing which information source to follow can drive youto hire a professional to make all the decisions. Somewherebetween the glossy magazine pictures and a hired professional isthe well-informed, creative homeowner: you.An old saying, “there is no such thing as a bad plant, only onethat is misplaced,” is true to a large extent. No matter how badthe overall design, it will look good if the plants are happy.Another old expression is, “I never met a plant I didn’t like.”Everyone has his own preferences for colors, shapes and texture.It’s easyGiven the diversity in the plant world, it’s not hard to findhome landscape plants that suit anyone’s tastes, no matter whatthe trends are in California.The best place to start is your neighborhood. Drive around andlook for both good and bad examples of your ideal landscape.Visit some of the many public gardens and displays, too,throughout Georgia and the Southeast. Make a trip to localnurseries and garden centers to see what’s available. Make afolder that includes pictures and articles that describe a lookthat suits both your location and your own taste.With some idea of how you want your landscape to look, theseplant-selection guidelines will help ensure your landscape ishappy.Plant the right stuffFirst, always use plants suited to the local environment. Thatincludes concerns about cold hardiness, frost dates, soildrainage, rainfall and even site-specific problems like deer andsalt water. Having locally adapted plants is better than anyplant guarantee the nursery can offer.Second, become familiar with the site and the individualrequirements of your favorite plants. Observe the pattern of thesun and the movement of water during a heavy rain. Locating aplant in the wrong light or drainage situation can be the kiss ofdeath and ruin any good landscape design.A plant requiring full sun means at least six hours of directsunlight per day. A shade-loving plant can tolerate no more thanfour hours of direct sunlight. A plant that is tolerant of “wetfeet” may not like growing on a dry hillside.How big will they grow?Third, consider the mature size of the plants you’re using andlocate them accordingly.One of the biggest mistakes in landscape design comes when it’stime to place the plants in the ground. Every landscape plantlooks small in a tiny nursery pot. Sometimes that little roundshrub in the pot turns into a giant beanstalk, growing tallerthan a two-story house.There’s always a temptation to bunch small container plants closetogether or up close to a house to make it look fuller in thebeginning. But the result is overcrowding and serious maintenanceconcerns down the road.Knowing how tall and wide a plant will grow must be coupled witha willingness to give the plant time to reach that size. Someplants grow so fast they must be pruned constantly. Others takeyears to grow a few inches.Trust your instinctsIf any landscape design trend were ever worth following, it wouldbe the trend toward personalized gardens. Your landscape shouldbe a reflection of what you like and how you want to expressyourself.The landscape is an open palette, waiting to be filled with yourfavorite plants and landscape features. As long as the plants youuse thrive where you place them, you alone can decide what looksbest.You can find more information about locally adapted plants andguidelines for plant selection at your county University ofGeorgia Extension Service office.(David Berle is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.) Volume XXIXNumber 1Page 19
By William Terry KelleyUniversity of GeorgiaIn the garden, you see the perfect shape of a red-ripe tomato, and your mouth starts to water. But your feathers fall when you see its blackened, sunken bottom.You’ve been the victim of blossom end rot on tomatoes. And while it happens to some degree almost every year, the extended drought and now hot weather complete a recipe for an avalanche of blossom end rot this summer.Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency in the fruit. There’s usually plenty of calcium in the soil. A tissue analysis would probably show that there’s ample calcium in the leaves, too.The lack of calcium that causes BER is actually in the fruit itself. And by the time you see it on the tomato, it’s too late to do anything for it. What’s even worse is that it’s also hard to correct the problem on the developing fruit, too.Tomatoes are predisposed to BER very early in their development. When they’re hardly visible, they have a critical need for calcium. If the calcium doesn’t get to the fruit at that critical stage, the die has been cast for BER.Calcium is an immobile element in plants. Once it becomes part of the leaves or stems, it isn’t going to move to newly developing parts of the plant, such as the fruit.As it takes up water, the plant takes up calcium from the soil. Under hot, dry conditions, the plant is taking up great amounts of water, which is quickly transpired through the leaves to keep the plant alive.The plant is acting almost like a chimney as it sucks water from the soil and moves it through the plant and out through pore-like structures in the leaves. Unfortunately, this doesn’t allow for a lot of lateral flow of calcium to the developing fruit. And they can become deficient.So, what can you do?Sometimes there isn’t much that will actually help. The biggest factor is moisture. It’s hard to keep the soil moist when it’s this hot and this dry. And too much water can be just as bad for BER as too little.A consistent supply of moisture is the best course of action. Avoid cycles of very wet followed by excessive drying. This will help keep calcium flowing into the plant.Many people try foliar calcium sprays to help reduce blossom end rot. But there’s little evidence that these applications help.Some people add gypsum to the soil at the start of the season, too, to make sure there’s enough calcium. This, along with maintaining the proper soil pH, can ensure that calcium is in the soil, but the problem remains getting it to the fruit.BER is very hard to control and very frustrating if you get it. In some years, you almost just have to live with it and hope you’ll get enough good fruit to make it worth it.
Over the last three decades, the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia have introduced home gardeners and landscape designers to thousands of new plant varieties. Every year at the Trial Gardens’ open house, visitors have the chance to get an up-close look at a new class of vetted ornamentals ranging from gorgeous flowers and spectacular roses to hardy bulbs. As the gardens’ staff prepares to welcome the public to the 30th annual open house on July 14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., hundreds of new plants will be on display, and a special wine and cheese preview event from 7 to 9 p.m. on July 13. “We enjoy sharing the beauty of the garden and highlighting some of the new plants that people can plant in their gardens,” said Allan Armitage, a UGA horticulture professor and the gardens’ founder. “After all, where is it written that research has to be ugly?” Located on the UGA campus in Athens between Snelling Dining Hall and the pharmacy building, the gardens display hundreds of annuals and perennials from plant breeders around the world. The garden is always open to the public free of charge, but the open house gives visitors a chance to learn inside knowledge about this year’s most promising plant varieties. Dozens of new rose varieties that will hit the market next year will be on display. Vegetables designed for the patio and porch will also be highlighted and include squash, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. Armitage, who directs the gardens, will give tours throughout the day. He will also hold a book signing, and his recent titles will be on sale. The open house will include an heirloom tomato tasting, featuring 17 varieties of tomatoes grown in the trial gardens this summer. This year the staff ran trials on heirloom and new patio variety tomatoes, said B.J. Garrett, open house coordinator and garden volunteer. The tomato tasting, she said, is really the best way to let gardeners get to know a tomato variety and decide whether they want to plant it next year. Planters designed by the gardens’ staff will also be available for sale. The open house will be held rain or shine, and a donation of $5 is requested. The preview event, a Summer Evening in the Gardens, will feature wine and cheese, tours of the garden with Armitage, first pick of plants that are available for sale and cooler weather. Admission to this event is $5, and there are a limited number of spaces available. A space can be reserved by emailing email@example.com or by calling Brooke Pridemore at 770-364-3089.Parking is available in the South Campus parking deck. The Trial Gardens are located at 220 W. Green St., Athens, Ga. 30602. For more information, see ugatrial.hort.uga.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new soil-testing lab at the Zanmi Agricol Learning Center Fritz Lafontant in Corporant, Haiti isn’t sophisticated. But it works, and that’s enough to change the lives of many Haitian farmers. Recently, University of Georgia soil scientists David Kissel and Leticia Sonon traveled to Corporant, located in the country’s Central Plateau region, to install the new soil-testing lab. They gave lectures on the importance of soil testing and trained a handful of teachers and other officials on how to manage and operate the laboratory. “This is the beginning of farmers being able to assess the fertility of Haitian soils and determine how much and which fertilizers their crops need,” said Kissel, who is director of the Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The lab, created by a partnership between the college and Atlanta-based nonprofit League of Hope, opened at the end of June as the only working soil lab in Haiti. Kissel identified the soil lab as a need in the country when he traveled to Haiti on a fact-finding tour in 2010. He and Sonon, the coordinator for the college’s Soil, Plant and Water Analysis Lab, identified practical testing methods appropriate for Haiti’s soils and conditions. They installed low-cost instruments that are compact, tough and inexpensive to operate. The new lab is basically a scaled-down version of the CAES Extension soil-testing lab in Athens, GA. It took Sonon and Kissel about a year to design the steamlined lab and develop procedures that would work in Haiti. The information provided by the soil tests performed in the lab — including nutrient contents and pH levels — can help farmers choose the most appropriate crop varieties for their fields and fertilizers. The goal is to provide Haitian farmers with the information they need to increase their crop yields and feed their families. The lab — with its cement floors, folding work tables and rugged, energy efficient equipment — is located inside a new trade school that has opened to serve the Central Plateau region in the northeastern corner of the island. In addition to electrical, plumbing and carpentry training, the school will offer agricultural and environmental stewardship courses to farmers. The lab technicians who were trained by Sonon and Kissel will serve as part-time agricultural advisers to local farmers. They will run the lab, teach others to use the equipment and start demonstration test plots to show Haitian farmers that their yields can be increased with the right soil additives and fertilizers. “The idea was for us to go down and train the teachers, and the teachers would train their students, who could then spread the word about the lab,” Kissel said.Soil testing was a critical part of the success of American agriculture throughout the 20th century and one of the most common services provided by Extension agents across the U.S. Haitian farmers produce only 40 percent of the food the country needs. Food supplies in Haiti have never been abundant, but they have gotten worse since the 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the infrastructure around Port-au-Prince. This one soil lab is not going to solve that problem, but it’s a big step towards increasing the ability of Haitian farmers to feed their country, Sonon said.
Hydrangea paniculatas must be the showiest plant in the summer garden, and I have affection for all of them. ‘Chantilly Lace’ and ‘Pinky Winky,’ however, have captured my heart, not only in terms of their beauty, but also because of their proclivity to attract pollinators. Here at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, we have several of the leading varieties of what we call the “panicled hydrangeas.” With 51 acres and the hydrangeas spread out, I have not paid that that much attention to any visiting pollinators. Everyone loves them against a backdrop of deep green garden foliage or combined with cottage garden plants like rudbeckias. Bees, butterflies, wasps and giant flies, however, will make you consider adding a little dazzle from ‘Chantilly Lace’ or ‘Pinky Winky’ to the backyard wildlife habitat. If you are not using the panicle hydrangea, why not? They are cold-hardy and recommended from zones 3 through 8 (9). In Savannah, where we push zone 9, they do superbly. This means just about the whole country can grow them.The Hydrangea paniculata, or panicle varieties, are different than the mophead, or French, hydrangea. The leaves are smaller and the quantity of flowers is incredible. The flowers may be 6 to 15 inches long and most are held upright on the plant. You now have a staggering list of choices as far as the size, from those that are diminutive or dwarf to those reaching 10 feet.It seems not one nursery or catalog description mentions pollinators in association with the Hydrangea paniculata. Perhaps this is because most have sterile flowers. If you look at internet images, you will see that there are selections that do seem to attract pollinators. This is an important criterion with many gardeners. These selections, like ‘Chantilly Lace’ or ‘Pinky Winky,’ seem to have an ample quantity of both sterile and fertile blossoms. Though the fertile blossoms are not near as showy, they make up for it in honeybees and other pollinators.Ideal growing conditions include fertile, well-drained soil with morning sun and afternoon shade. In the landscape, plant the hydrangea among other shrubs 72 to 80 inches apart in odd-numbered clusters for a terrific, eye-catching display. To plant your hydrangea, dig the hole two to three times as wide as the rootball, but no deeper, so you can plant it at the same depth it is growing in the container. Apply a good layer of mulch to conserve moisture. Once established, you’ll find your panicle selection is less dependent on water than its big-leafed cousins.Soil pH does not affect the color of the flowers like it does with the blue or pink big-leafed hydrangeas. Any flowers left on the plant do provide winter texture and interest. ‘Chantilly Lace,’ ‘Pinky Winky’ and the other panicle varieties bloom on new wood, so prune in late fall or early spring. A medium pruning that removes one-third to half of the plant size gives a better structure for large blossoms and the new season ahead. Feed your hydrangea in early spring as new growth resumes.Everyone loves hydrangeas, bees and butterflies. Now, with varieties of Hydrangea paniculatas like ‘Chantilly Lace’ and ‘Pinky Winky,’ you can have them all.Follow me on Twitter @CGBGgardenguru. Learn more about the CGBG at www.coastalGeorgiabg.org.
This fall has been amazing for those of us who have been growing the Bouquet series of dianthus. The flower power of this dianthus is really unmatched in the gardening world, and I admit that there was a little anxiety with the recent winter storm called “Benji.” ‘Bouquet Purple’ was a Minnesota Select Perennial Plant of the Year, so we know it has great cold hardiness.You see, our Bouquet dianthus was in full glorious bloom, which is one of the reasons we plant them in the fall as pansy pals. This bloom, however, was beyond our wildest expectations. As the snows came, the sleet fell and the temperatures plunged to the mid-20s (Fahrenheit), Bouquet dianthus didn’t even seem to lose a flower. It performed like the champion it is.Many of us find ourselves in the midst of our cool season garden landscape. If you procrastinated because of the busy fall season, you may be looking for some flowers that will carry you into summer. The Bouquet series offers color, fragrance and a bounty of cuts for the vase.You have to admit that there is something special about cutting from your own garden and sharing. It might be as simple as giving a bouquet of cut flowers from the garden to your neighbors or a Sunday school member that needs a little blessing. For cut flowers, it is recommended that stems be cut when three flowers are fully open.If you are looking for a pansy companion, cut flower or even a perennial performance, then the Bouquet dianthus series is my first choice of dianthus. For years it was a series of one, ‘Bouquet Purple.’ This was like an electrifying shot of energy to the pansy pal market. Forget the color purple, it is really a shocking, iridescent hot pink that will dazzle in any landscape.Next in the series came ‘Bouquet Rose Magic’ followed by ‘Bouquet Rose,’ all equally good performers. The blooms of ‘Bouquet Rose Magic’ open white and mature to light pink, then a deep rose color. Most flower stalks contain all of these colors at once.The Bouquet series of dianthus is vigorous, reaching 18 to 24 inches in height and born to bloom. Although I am touting them as a pansy partner, they will bloom for much of the summer in the hot, humid South before going into a rest, ready to start again in the fall.The Bouquet series grows best in well-worked beds that are loose, rich in organic matter and well-drained. When preparing a bed, incorporate two pounds of a slow-release fertilizer with minor nutrients per 100 square feet of bed space. They will need plenty of sun to really bloom to their potential.For the prettiest display, set the dianthus out in drifts of three to four plants per square foot. The colors allow them to combine nicely with blue and purple pansies, pink petunias and dusty miller, and by all means, consider interplanting with spring daffodils. One last attribute that you will be delighted about is their ability to bring in butterflies. Most gardeners don’t think about the dianthus as being part of a pollinator project. Here in Savannah, Georgia, as our blooms opened up, we found gulf fritillaries, zebra heliconians, various swallowtails and sulphurs, all participating in what seem to be a feast of the nectar du jour.Follow me on Facebook under “Norman Winter ‘The Garden Guy.’” Learn more about the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at www.coastalgeorgiabg.org/.
Regularly scheduled 4-H programming across the state has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several Georgia counties have now moved their programming online to allow youth to still participate in valued 4-H learning experiences.To date, seven other states have shared this series for 4-H or Parks and Recreation online programming.“Because of the social distancing and the shelter-in-place ordinances, Pulaski 4-H had to do more to interact and engage our audiences,” said Sonya Jones, UGA county Extension coordinator and 4-H agent. “We wanted to continue to do something virtually for the youth and families to stay involved.”Pulaski County is offering lessons focusing on Healthy Living, STEM and nontraditional learning throughout the week. The daily activities can be completed at home with common household items. The free lessons are designed for youth ages five to 18 and 4-H membership is not required. Extension 4-H staff plan to send out the lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until school resumes in the fall.The lessons focus on a variety of healthy living topics such as the MyPlate curriculum, mental health, outdoor activities for families and exercise challenges, as well as offering additional resources. The R.E.A.L. STEM (Ready to Engage Actively in Learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sessions focus on a variety of STEM topics, include experiential activities and are offered every Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesdays, the WILD (Willingly Initiates Learning Differently) Wednesdays program highlights nontraditional learning, focusing on how youth are learning differently during school closures.The lessons are currently hosted on Facebook, facebook.com/pulaski.fourh, however Pulaski County is looking into new and innovative ways to share content and engage with participants live while maintaining a safe environment.If you have questions, contact Jones at email@example.com.Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 242,000 people annually through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org.
All indications point to an excellent foliage season in Vermont this year. Vermont has the characteristics needed for great foliage. Weather and forest health conditions thus far have been ideal and should produce a colorful autumn show.According to M. Brian Stone, Vermont’s Chief of Forest Management, “Vermont has all the conditions required to consistently produce excellent fall foliage. With a diverse combination of tree species, generally highquality soils and topography, which allows good moisture retention, Vermont can regularly count on beautiful foliage. Tree health is alsocrucial. Leaf cover and tree color in Vermont’s forests have all been very good this year and pest evidence is minimal.”Vermont state foresters track many aspects of forest growth and health throughout the year. Ample early summer rainfall led to a great growingseason. There is a lot of green and abundant chlorophyll was produced. Both are key to good fall color display.In addition to spring forest health and moisture, late summer variables, particularly temperature and sunlight, affect timing of color change.Cooler nights just prior to foliage season usually mean timely arrival and more brilliant foliage colors. A lot of sun during the period when leaves are turning generally increases the brilliance, as well as the viewing pleasure.The variety in Vermont’s forest species and in Vermont’s topography help create a relatively long foliage season. Typically, in early to midSeptember the color change begins in northern Vermont at high elevations and in areas where trees are stressed by normal conditions, such asswamps, roadside or city areas. Tree species change at different times and provide an enormous range of colors. Swamp maples are one of thefirst tree species to turn. Oak, poplar and tamarack are often the last trees to turn from green to fall hues.Complete foliage change in a locale typically occurs over several weeks. Northeast Kingdom foliage begins color change early to mid-September and generally peaks near the end of September or beginning of October. Progression of color change moves steadily southward and down in elevation until mid to late October.Higher elevation spots, even in southern Vermont, may have some trees with peak color in mid to late September. Low elevation areas in the LakeChamplain Basin in western Vermont and the Connecticut River Basin on Vermont’s eastern border may not begin color change until a week or two later than high elevations at the same latitude. These areas may have some color through the season but do not reach peak color until early to mid-October, at nearly the same time that many low to mid elevation southern Vermont areas attain full color.Determining when to visit a specific part of the state is not an exact science, but Vermont provides regularly updated information and an online map for tracking color progression. Vermont’s small size makes it easy for travelers to move around from town to town and experience every color stage.But why hurry? Traveling the back roads and enjoying a wholly new view around the next corner or at the crest of the hill is part of the mysteryand magic of fall foliage. Vermont’s picturesque villages, agricultural landscapes and scenic vistas all add to the contrast and beauty of foliage season.The splendor of foliage is highly subjective. Brilliance of foliage is often proclaimed as an indicator of the quality of a foliage season, butanyone who has witnessed the softer hues displayed in a pastel fall scene knows they can be breathtaking as well.Foliage conditions reports are distributed on Mondays and Thursdays during September and October from information provided by state foresters twice weekly.The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing advises making advance reservations as some of the most popular lodgings may fill on early on busy weekends in late September and the first two weekends in October. Some innkeepers may also require a minimum two-night stay, especially on these weekends. Foliage viewers can avoid the reservations’ squeeze by visiting mid-week, coming earlier in September or by researching other lodging options. Availability and other information about specific lodging properties, restaurants, attractions and events may be found in the online Vermont Travel Planner at www.vermontvacation.com(link is external) .
Bankruptcy judge approves sale of hydro plant to RockinghamOfficials in Rockingham hope that a $72.4 million purchase of the hydro electric facility on the Connecticut River in Bellows Falls will lower electric rates to the community. A US Bankruptcy Court judge has approved the sale from USGen New England. The deal must be completed by December 1, although the actual closing probably would not occur until October 2005. If the town failed to finalize financing by December 1, the town would forfeit its right to take the dam by eminent domain for 10 years.Rockingham first proposed buying the 48-megawatt facility four years ago when USGen, then a subsidiary of Pacific Gas & Electric, started contesting its tax bill.