Sunday, February 3, 2013

A visit with Flo and Joe Chafin of Specialty Ornaments January 22, 2013

On a beautiful but slightly cold Tuesday, 13 SAPS members drove to Watkinsville, Georgia for a program on Conifers.  The Chafins nursery specializes in conifers although not exclusively.  Our day started with a brief walk through the nursery and then we went into their beautifully designed custom-built house.  Flo had prepared handouts for her review of conifers species and how to identify them.  Cuttings were also passed around for close inspection.  We all agreed that we have not had enough experience with conifers to get adept at identification.  This review was just perfect.  Joe then did a graft demonstration for us. After a fabulous home made lunch we went back outside to the nursery and to try our newly acquired identification skills.  What helped make this so special was the warmth and generosity of the Chafins.

If that was not enough, we went down the road to visit Piccadilly Farms;  a nursery owned by retired UGA botany professor Sam Jones.  We had a private tour of the grounds getting to see conifers that were 10-25 years old.  The only disappointment of the day was having to leave Sam Jones and the Chafins.  We were all slightly overwhelmed but what we had learned and what we had seen.  There are few conifer collections and even fewer nurseries devoted to these plants.  To see the nursery and then witness the collection was almost too good to bear.  

Bob Gilbert

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pigeon Mountain Field Trip with Dan Pittillo--March 16, 2013

 "March 16, 2013 ‘Pigeon Mountain Field Trip with Dan Pittillo’
The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain in Walker County, Georgia is considered to be among the finest areas for wildflowers in Georgia.  It is a part of the Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and is home to the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail.   Pigeon Mountain is really a good area in mid March.  Wildflowers are peaking at that time, many rare.  The variety of Trillium is outstanding.  Many of the early species such as trout lily will still be seen and the later wild hyacinth will begin to open by this time.  I recommend everyone go to this site and review before we go:   Many Georgians will wish to go from their home directly to the Pocket, given in the directions.  Those needing to leave sooner certainly could while the rest of us climb out of The Pocket to see some of the upland areas, probably not as showy as the ravine below but offering other possibilities.
Dr. Dan Pittillo
taught plant science at Western Carolina University for over three decades, directing the WCU Herbarium from 1970 to his retirement in 2005. For many years, Dr. Pittillo served as the fall color prognosticator for the Asheville Citizen-Times and many other local and regional publications. His knowledge of local plants and trees is the result of both academic training and many years of observation in the Western Carolina mountains."

“Introduction to Soils and Plant Nutrition” With Paul Pugliese

February 19, 2013
“Introduction to Soils and Plant Nutrition”
With Paul Pugliese
 As plant lovers, we know soil is an essential component to growing things.  This program will cover the following aspects of this important topic.  
•          Importance of Soil Conservation
•          Soil components and their relative proportion in soils
•          Texture of a soil & influence of texture on plant growth
•          Soil compaction, how to alleviate it, & how compaction affects plant growth.
•          Importance of soil organic matter
•          How different soil amendments affect the structure, texture, and pH of soils
•          Colloids, CEC, cations, and anions and how they affect plant nutrition (briefly)
•          Why pH is such an important factor in nutrient uptake and plant nutrition and how changing pH affects different soil properties
         Essential elements required for plant growth and the different inorganic and organic fertilizer sources of each.

10am to 12 Noon
$10 Donation
Ga Mtn Research Center-Blairsville

The recent interest in locally grown foods has also spurred interest in starting small farms. Paul helps new farmers search for funds, develop business plans and learn about regulations.  The demand for basic farming information was so high that Pugliese created a beginners school for small farmers. 
Pugliese received his undergraduate degree in horticulture at Berry College. He then went on to pursue a master's degree in plant protection and pest management at the University of Georgia.
He worked for the Georgia Department of Agriculture for three years before becoming a county agent in 2006.
Now his daily office routine includes identifying several insect,disease, weed, and turfgrass samples every day. He uses his training in plant pathology, entomology and weed science to solve the majority of his client's problems. 
Interning in Madison, Cobb and Gordon Counties also helped prepare him for his job as an agent.
An avid gardener, he has a 2,500 square foot vegetable garden and a small fruit orchard. Two years ago, he and his wife built a home on the family's farm in Kingston, Ga. They enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking and being outdoors.

“Conifers with Flo Chaffin”

January 22, 2013
“Conifers with Flo Chaffin”

This field trip will take us to Watkinsville, GA where Flo Chaffin, the co-owner of Specialty Ornamentals will provide us with an informative program on woody plants PLUS a gourmet lunch!    
What are woody plants? How would we organize and be able to learn them? This course is designed to give a basic review of woody plant structure, and characteristics, and to organize them in a way that will help lead to an ability to identify a large range of woody plants. This 
class will deal with conifers in general, and move to specifics of the major genera and some of the species that are suitable for use in the Southeast.
Most all of what we do will be hands on, standing in front of the plant touching, smelling, comparing, etc. Goals for this conifer segment should cover the major genera of Abies, Chamaecyparis, Cryptomeria, Juniperus, Pinus, Podocarpus, and Thuja, and some of their 
major species and cultivars. This should point the way to the next 1000 plants easily incorporated into the memory bank.  After Lunch we will visit Piccadilly Farms nearby --another conifer display garden.

Keeping a Nature Journal with Elizabeth Ellison

January 7, 2013
“Keeping a Nature Journal with Elizabeth Ellison”

A journal is a wonderful place to keep a record of things in the natural world which bring meaning into our lives. It can be a record of birds seen on any particular day, wildflowers observed, wild animals seen, etc., or it can be a more elaborate companion in which notes on natural observation may be made either in prose or in poetry. If you have the ability to enhance your journal with drawings and/or watercolor the pleasure in returning to read your nature notes will be that much greater and the act of drawing and painting itself teaches one to be a closer observer of the natural world. It teaches you to SEE.
In my nature journaling workshops I endeavor to teach people to observe and to record both with words and watercolor what they encounter in the natural world--what they would like to keep a record of--perhaps for future reference (for instance, to compare what they observe on a particular day each year) and as a means of identification and a way of remembering what they have identified. The journal can also be a place to keep a record of your gardening endeavors.  
I do not teach writing but only the act of combining it with your drawing/painting enhancements which I do teach. In the workshop we will work a bit with the use and mixing of color, the importance of paying attention to detail in our observations and then some of the many techniques for recording an impression of what we are actually seeing.

2013 SAPS-NCGA Schedule in Brief

2013 SAPS-NCGA Schedule 

January 7--Nature Journaling with Elizabeth Ellison
January 22--“Conifers and Piccadilly” with Flo Chaffin
February 19--”Introduction to Soils and Plant Nutrition” with Paul Pugliese
March 16--“Pigeon Mountain Field Trip” with Dan Pittillo
April 13--"Ramp Cove and Kelly Ridge Field Trip” with Dan Rawlings
April 27-28--"Snowbird Lodge” with Simon Thompson
May 4--"Hike of Balsam Mountain” with Michael Skinner of BMT
May 9--"Cedar Glade Outing” with Ed Schwartzman & Brent Martin
May 15--"Trip to Smith-Gilbert Gardens” with Robert Gilbert
June 20--"Fires Creek Stewartia Walk” with Jack Johnston 
July 9--"Wolf Mountain Field Trip” with Newcomb Wildflower Guide
August 8--"Terrestrial Orchids” with Don Fisher
August 27--"Plant Propagation and Tour” with Tom Ranney & Jeff Chandler
September 12--"Buck Creek Serpentine Barrens” with Gary Kauffman 
October 5--“Hiking, Harvesting and Medicine Making” with Lorna Mauney-Brodek
Nov 8--"The Principal People and Edible, Medicinal, and Utilitarian Plants of the Cherokee and Early Settlers" with George Ellison