Friday, October 18, 2013

An Experiment

I'm not really into science. Never have been, probably never will be - but I do occasionally take interest in "how things work". I've also noticed that I have a growing desire to learn about stuff, maybe its because no one is forcing education down my throat anymore. Maybe its because I'm finally an adult? Whatever the case may be, I am conducting a botany experiment.

Growing up, I had a friend whose father was a Botanist at ECSU. I remember thinking to myself, "does it get more boring than the science of plants?" The answer is an unequivocal "yes." There are a ton of things far less interesting than plants. My desire to learn about plants is a fairly recent one - I'll credit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and their Orchid Daze. A young guy who was at the exhibit the same time as my friend Dr. Amy and I, mentioned the book "The Orchid Thief". I read it and suddenly found myself interested in this wild world of plants.

Around the same time, we moved to our new place where I discovered a beautiful magnolia tree. I don't know anything about magnolias, so it really astonished me that this thing had so many different stages of pods and seeds and flowers. After the big, floppy flowers came and went, I began to notice the sprouting of pickle-like pods. Green and bumpy, the pickle pods began to turn pink, then red in late August/early September. A few days ago, I walked by to check on the pods and they had started to open, revealing orange red seeds.

Floppy Flowers
Pickle pod (not exactly the same as mine, but you get the idea)
Pink/Red Pickle Pod (also not an Elizabeth)
After some serious googling this morning, I have learned a lot about magnolias, including the fact that my "yellow magnolia" is actually called a Magnolia 'Elizabeth' and was created in Brooklyn in 1967. I also stumbled upon a page about growing magnolias from seed. Hence the big experiment.

So I've harvested my seeds, and am soaking them now. Then I will have to "winter" them over and plant next spring. What do you think, can I do it? Can I keep them alive? Anyone want to take bets?

my pods and seeds

soaking the seeds

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