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March 19, 2011- Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily Society Presentation
Not many people are aware that the USDA-ARS-Greenhouse Production Research Group (GPRG) leases greenhouse space at Toledo Botanical Gardens (TBG) to conduct ornamental plant research. Such was the case when two members of the Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily Society (BSHDS) stumbled upon the USDA-ARS logos on the TBG greenhouse door and wandered in to look around. The discovery of the research facilities sparked interest in the GPRG, and Dr. Jim Locke, Research Plant Pathologist, was invited to speak at the monthly BSHDS meeting, held on March 19 in TBG's Terrace Room.
Dr. Locke, along with GPRG technician, Deanna Bobak, shared a 45 minute presentation detailing the origins of the USDA presence in northwest Ohio, previous studies of the GPRG, and current projects being conducted, in part, at the TBG greenhouse. The focus of Dr. Locke and Ms. Bobak's talk centered on two on-going project areas of the GPRG. Dr. Locke explained his current experiments exploring locally available, sustainable materials for growing media replacement, noting that many of these materials also provide a beneficial supplement of silicon for enhanced plant protection and growth. Ms. Bobak spoke about nitrogen deficiency, concentrating on its effects on plant growth, and whether it can be fully corrected over time. The presenters displayed several of the raw materials that have been evaluated as substrate amendments and nutritional guides produced by the GPRG and its' collaborators. The presentation was well-received by the 30-person audience, and sparked several avenues for discussion after the lecture.