Botany and Gardeners: How much is good enough for us to know ?

chaman(z7MD)July 16, 2004

Now that we have BOTANY Forum, I would like to suggest the extent to which we gardeners should consider the vast knowledge available in this branch of science.I beleive that we try to understand the seed germination,plant growth,regulators at different stages of plant life,effect of sun light on plant growth,need of fertilzers at different stages of plant life etc, plus any more aspects of plant life as considered by fellow gardeners.

chiman

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ecobotanist(Sierra Nevada)

Start with the basics: climate; soil and such. What's the NPK on a bag of fertilizer? Or, how to make your own and why even use it? Plant habits and life cycles. Bats, bees, birds and hummingbirds. After that, it becomes addictive and you are off and running for the rest of your natural life; which, however, will be longer and richer than if you did not garden or ask questions.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 1:07AM
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shelley_r(7b NC)

Ecobotanist, you said "it becomes addictive and you are off and running for the rest of your natural life" How true! I started just putting in a few new plants in my yard, then got really into gardening. That lead to an interest in native plants, how to id them, ecosystems, taxonomy, etc. I'm giving up all hope of ever getting my house clean. I just come inside to use the computer. I'm so glad to see people like you here, who are obviously more knowledgeable than me. I hope you like to answer lots of questions :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 7:56AM
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Cornus(z5-6 OH)

I hear you Shelley on the house issue. I'm only on here due to rain! Just moved into my house 2 months ago and have yet to unpack but the gardens look like I've been here for years!
Ecobotanist- If I put lime on my alkaline plants and coffee grounds on all my acidic plants, is that enough fertilizer? These are potted plants. How often do I do this? Once a month?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 10:24AM
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ingami(z3b AB)

This is going to be an enjoyable forum, I see- I have to admit my ignorance and didn't read the suggestions form so didn't know there was a call for one. Thanks to everyone who pushed for it--
I definitely agree that it is or will be a lifelong study/hobby- suddenly it becomes fascinating to read a book on botany-

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 11:01AM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

im sure this comment is going to come up often but everyone understands there is a diff between horticulture and botany?

botany is the study of the plant proper whereas horticulture is the study of growth for human sake.

as to the main question...u cannot get enough info. botanists and gardeners should hang out more often.

froggy

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 5:08PM
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chaman(z7MD)

Agreed, horticulture is the application of botanical science for the survival of humanbeings.In dealing with horticultural studies we will always need to understand the underlying botanical principles.

chiman

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 8:42PM
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The_Mohave__Kid(Nevada)

I agree with those above ... Horticulture is applied Botany ... Botany a science that is really focused on finding new knowledge about plants BUT indeed the intention to help / advance man ... Horticulture is the use of that knowlege for some practical end ... to make a profit and solve problems in the green industry and help man ect ... the researcher versus the technician type of analogy ...

It's quite possible for horticulture to exist without a botanical understanding of some aspect of it ... so "what came first the chicken or the egg" ?? ... and it's easy to imagine that in the practice of horticulture some botany is also discovered along the way and the reverse as well ... so it can become a matter of splitting hairs ??

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 8:02PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

I also agree that Horticulture is applied botany.
Mohave Kid raises a good question. Were our ancestors botanists, horticulturalists or agriculturalists when they cared for, cultivated, and bred certain plants for food, fiber, ceremony and pleasure??

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 10:43PM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

they were good horticulturists and great agriculturalists.
prolly didnt care much about botany.

u try breaking virgin soil and living off the fruits of ur labor...

froggy

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 8:38AM
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plantladyott(5)

I thought this forum was new! Having studied Horticulture, Botany is the first chapter in the courses I took. I found that understanding how a plant works at the cellular level helped me diagnose and solve plant problems. I wouldn't want one without the other.

Rolande

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 1:36PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

True froggy-they probably didn't much care about botany as we define it, but wouldn't plant breeding even without a complete understanding of it make them botanists of a sort?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 8:08PM
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The_Mohave__Kid(Nevada)

"but wouldn't plant breeding even without a complete understanding of it make them botanists of a sort? "

Yeah .. I guess your right Rosa ... but today we call them geneticist ...yukkkk ... plant geneticist if we like them LOL ....

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 9:18PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

LOL @ Mohave!! yes geneticist is the better term here....

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 9:30PM
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poppymiller(z8FL)

Interesting. I was drug kicking and screaming to this point in time. Botany, biology, Scientific Nomenclature were all things that bored me to tears. Ok, so what am I doing here? The beginning of the year I took the Florida Master Gardener program and I tried hard NOT to listen when we didn't talk about plants, taking care of plants, feeding, propagating, etc....that was all I wanted to know, all I thought I'd need to know to learn how to be a better gardener. Now I not only garden but have written a few gardening columns.

Alright, I've gotten to where I want to learn more and more and more. I've become an addict......Oh well, I could be in a rest home talking to the walls for excitement I guess.
Sure glad I found you all. Poppy

    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 10:53PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Welcome Poppy. Yes, an addiction for sure, and find that talking to plants beats talking to the walls anyday, lol!!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 11:16AM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

It's always the same....The more you learn, the more you want to know. LOL

I discovered a great book a few years ago called 'Botany for Gardeners'. Small paperback and not to "scientific" to get through. I highly recommend it.

wanda

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 11:20AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
Don't see how you could be one without the other lol
Also seems you must specialize.There are WAAAy too many kinds of plants.You could spend a lifetime on algae alone
For myself I find I'm like most gardeners.There is a direct correlation between my interest and how much I paid for the plant. My expensive plants get way more botany than my cheapies lol Another thing I find that pushes me in that direction is space.As the garden becomes more crowded
I need to change my culture methods.
I think I would find the multitude of restrictions on "Botany" boring where "Horticulture" is limitless.
Gary

    Bookmark   August 1, 2004 at 7:44AM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

I have to say, once you start learning, there is no 'enough' =)

A few years back, I started reading up on herbal medicine. Most of the books I was reading included scientific names for plants used in different remedies. At first it was all 'Greek' (or Latin, rather) to me, but I did slowly start to learn and memorize the proper scientific names for the plants in my herb garden. After that, I started ID'ing the various shrubs, trees, perenials, etc. that came with our house. When I would buy new plants or seeds, I would look for ones that had the latin name on the label. This is the 'off and running' part =)
I am also gradually learning different propogation methods. Before the last 3 or 4 years, propogation for me was buying four or five flats of annuals, herbs, and veggies, a few new perenials, a few packets of seeds, and planting them all around Memorial day. After a few years of reading and experimenting, I know that I can start seeds pretty much year round and not everything has to be planted out after the last frost date. I am still a bit of a novice at starting seeds indoors, but I don't really have much room for that anyway. So, I stick to special stuff, like my draceana draco that is now about 5-6 months old and about 8" tall =)

Ok, so maybe it is enough to know the basics of care for the particular plants you are growing. (did I say that? nah!) But it is so rewardeing to learn as much as you can =)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2004 at 8:32AM
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catalina_101(UK)

I guess this depends on where your boundaries of "botany" are. To me, genetics are naturally part of botany and I don't see how to separate the two. Botany incorporates all sorts of biological fields, and isn't limited to "traditional" "old school" botany, including nomenclature, identification, discovery, and taxonomy.

Some of the greatest botanists I know are geneticists, horticulturalists, agriculturalists, microbiologists, and biochemists ;o)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 8:54PM
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The_Mohave__Kid(Nevada)

Uhhh Ohhhh ... I knew you were a geneticist ... thats explains a lot LOL ...

I agree with you ... Botany is very broad term ... but there are many geneticist that would not call themselves Botanist ... to understand plants one really needs to understand many areas of science a broad or multi disciplanary approach... there is also an overuse of semantics in science it seems to me.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 9:50PM
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catalina_101(UK)

Why does that explain a lot? ;o)

So many of the classifications you use are based on rRNA data, and genetic data, so why is that so contrary to "botany"?

To me there is "traditional" botany (the fields I listed above) and a "new" botany: the genetic, physiological, biochemical, etc aspects of the plant, all of which are JUST as important to understanding how they work and what they're doing!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 11:12PM
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The_Mohave__Kid(Nevada)

Hello Catalina ...

You seem biased towards the "New" botany ... to me New or Old it's all botany ... together it all tells a story.

Geneticist just have a certain way of seeing the world ... maybe it comes out when you write your thoughts ... plus genetics gave me a headache in college LOL ... I'm just picking on you a bit ( smile ) ....

I hope you keep posting ... I can see you have lots of cool ideas ....

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 11:57PM
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catalina_101(UK)

Oh I'm not biased toward one or the other. My background is in both :)
They're both totally intertwined and you can't have one without the other.

Picking on moi doesn't scare me away, don't worry!

I'll admit though, I love genetics.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 12:00AM
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NOTHO__NANTUCKET

Let,s go back to Theophrastus or Pliny the Elder ,I hope Iput that right!!!! and start from there . N,N,

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 9:01AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Hi all, I'm into archeology as well as plants. Please don't take our ancient ancestors as dummies ;) they were as intelligent as we are. I think they looked, saw patterns, experimented,discussed,came to conclusions as well as we do.maybe more so as they lived among the plants and had they a written language I know they would spell better than i do.
I think you are all making this a great learning forem. thanks oakleif

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 10:16PM
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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

Who made our ancient ancestors out to be dummies? I think NOTHO was saying that is where we should start, in other words, lets cover it all...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 12:00AM
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yugoslava

I read something from Ecobotanist and he mentions making or mixing your own fertilizer. I'm curious about the process.
Liliana

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 6:22PM
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NOTHO__NANTUCKET

I think the only ancient dummies may have been the Mongoloids,when they put or should Isay took their two cents worth out and messed up a lot of info way back when but, I could be wrong. The more you go back in time I think the more fascinating this subject is , but to make it easy maybe we could just stick to Martha Stewart,s stories she has plenty of time now to discuss this and I am sure she would love to HEAR FROM ANYONE on this matter.N.N.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2004 at 2:23PM
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