News From 2012
Home gardeners show a growing interest in using native plants in the landscape, as these have a high tolerance for local environmental conditions. While they have a better chance of survival, they are sometimes limited in their ability to create excitement in the landscape.
I want to introduce you to some native plants that have no problem adding pizazz to a landscape. Two you should consider are butterfly weed and Virginia sweetspire. Both have been named Mississippi Medallion winners for their superior garden and landscape performance.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A winter that quit before it got started challenged the state’s wheat crop, resulting in a below-average crop as it enters the homestretch.
Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said warm winter temperatures pushed the crop’s development ahead of schedule. Harvest could begin a few weeks early, in mid-May.
PHILADELPHIA -- Every community has different needs, but poverty weaves a common thread that organizations are uniting to unravel.
Turning the Tide on Poverty is a regional initiative of the Southern Rural Development Center that works in 13 Southern states and is headquartered at Mississippi State University. As part of that effort, government agencies, community leaders and religious groups recently met in Neshoba County to advance the Strengthening Families and Communities Coalition.
BROOKHAVEN -- Twelve Mississippi business women completed 18 hours of training through Annie’s Project, a national program designed for women interested in agriculture-based enterprises.
The training was held in late winter at the Lincoln County Extension office through Mississippi Women for Agriculture and the Mississippi State University Extension Service. The curriculum is designed to empower farm women of all ages to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information.
Many seniors can adopt technology to improve or enhance their quality of life.
Seniors (and others) can use an iPad to keep their minds sharp by playing Sudoko while waiting at the doctor’s office. Or iPads can be set up to remind them of scheduled activities or when to take medications. Home computers can be used to chat with grandchildren via Skype or to reconnect with old military buddies through Facebook or email.
A key barrier for many senior citizens wanting to use technology is the inability to see the monitor or smartphone display.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new smartphone application allows growers, gardeners and landowners to get quick information about soil types and determine what to plant or where to build.
Larry Oldham, Extension professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University, said helping clients in the field is easier than ever with the SoilWeb smartphone app developed by the Soil Resource Lab at the University of California-Davis.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dr. Mark Lawrence, associate dean and professor at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been honored for his efforts to increase diversity within the veterinary profession.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently presented Lawrence with the Black History Month Educator of the Year award for MSU’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine will open its doors from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. April 13 and 14 for its annual Open House at the Wise Center, located on the south side of campus off Spring Street.
The April 13 program is for pre-registered school groups, and the April 14 program is open to anyone in the community. School groups can register for this free event by contacting Brandi Van Ormer at (662) 325-0465. There is no cost to attend.
PITTSBORO -- The Calhoun County 4-H club will receive a $2,500 donation through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.
William “Rocky” Fleming registered for the program, which offered farmers a chance in a drawing to benefit their favorite community nonprofit organization. Fleming and his wife, Dot, selected the Calhoun County 4-H club based on their son’s active participation in 4-H, the youth development program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University is the result of historic legislation passed 150 years ago during the Civil War, and the state’s land-grant institution will mark the anniversary with activities throughout the year.
MSU assistant history professor James Giesen will present “History of the Morrill Act: The Mississippi Perspective” during a March 29 public event at the university. To begin at 3 p.m. in Thompson Hall’s Tully Auditorium, the program is the inaugural spring seminar of Gamma Sigma Delta. A reception follows at the location.
BILOXI -- An eight-week Mississippi Master Naturalist course will educate citizens about local natural resources and promote environmental stewardship.
Offered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the class will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. every Thursday from April 26 to June 14. Classes take place at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. Field trips are also planned.
Every spring, I look forward to seeing wisterias bloom. It’s incredible how high these vines can climb into trees. They are a familiar sight along roadsides, and I really enjoy the 55-mile-per-hour flower show I get as I drive along the highways in Mississippi.
In this setting, these vigorous and aggressive vines seem to be out of reach for the ordinary home landscape. But wisteria vines can actually be used in a more confined space, assuming you are committed to keeping the vine in place through training and pruning.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Local municipal governments are providing insight into their use of the Internet so the Extension Broadband Education and Adoption Team can develop recommendations to improve services to residents and businesses.
Roberto Gallardo, assistant Extension professor at Mississippi State University’s Southern Rural Development Center, said the survey results are a gold mine of helpful information about the state’s municipalities, one of e-BEAT’s core audiences.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parental monitoring is critical to the health and well-being of adolescents, whether the issue is Internet use or behavior in general.
Tommy Phillips, assistant professor in Mississippi State University’s School of Human Sciences, said although parents do not want to look over their teen’s shoulders constantly, a reasonable level of supervision is essential.
The fastest-growing segment of Facebook users in the United States is senior citizens. Unfortunately, many seniors feel lost when it comes to Facebook and other social media.
A common refrain I hear from many seniors is that social media is something that has passed them by or they just aren’t sharp enough to keep up with all this new-fangled technology. This is regrettable because our seniors have a great deal to offer. In fact, most of the information younger generations are looking up on sites like Google, YouTube and Pinterest are things most seniors already know.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian is not only the final resting place of the renowned Gypsy Queen, it is also the first site in North America where a particular type of sedge from Eurasia was found.
A four-man team spent five years gathering data for a floristic survey of Lauderdale County. They discovered the sedge during the study, and now, anyone wanting to know if a certain plant is found in the Meridian area can get their answer in the current issue of the journal Rhodora.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi Horse Park at Mississippi State University hosted nearly double the number of last year’s contestants at the American Quarter Horse Association’s Quarter Horse show March 10 and 11.
The oldest Quarter Horse show in the state of Mississippi has grown quickly over the past two years. In its 53rd year, the AQHA is still going strong, and contestants have been reaping the benefits of the new, more affordable flat entry fee.
JACKSON -- The Crosby Arboretum Foundation will host authors Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown beginning at noon on March 31 to discuss the restoration of the Eudora Welty garden.
Haltom and Brown co-authored “One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Home Place” in which they discuss the restoration of the garden at Welty’s home and the garden’s historic importance to landscaping. They will speak as part of the Jean Chisholm Lindsey Lecture in Landscape Design.
If there’s a single shrub that could be called a staple in the Southern landscape, it has to be the azalea. Its spectacular flowering has made the azalea one of the all-time most popular landscape shrubs.
Here on the coast, azaleas have been putting on a show since they began blooming in early March. The progression of blooms will continue to north Mississippi by early April. One of the earliest-blooming varieties is the Southern Indica azalea. Whether used as specimen plants, hedges or backgrounds, the Southern Indica has to be my favorite azalea.