• A Summer Pursuit of Plants

    I’m back!  After a long absence, it’s a pleasure to return to they keyboard and share with you the inklings of tentative plans for the future and a summary of the path I’ve just traced to get to this point.  2011 will go down as a full year in my book.

    In the months since my last post (January), I’ve finished the manuscript for my forthcoming book Bearded Irises, due out from Timber Press in 2012.  More details on that, of course, as the release date nears.  I’ve also managed to finish my M.S. degree here at Iowa State University in horticulture, bringing the count of degrees in horticulture to two from this phenomenal institution of agricultural leadership.  My research has focused on the obscure and underappreciated genus Dirca, and I wrote this post about my work a while back.

    But the purpose of this little note is to let you know about what I’ll be doing this week.  I’m going to be afield in northwestern Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota, pursuing plants heralded by the late plantsman Claude Barr–Great Plains natives that know how to take the heat, stick out a drought, and thrive in what many of us would consider the worst of gardening conditions.  Leaving Tuesday, I’ll be joined in this pursuit by two esteemed colleagues–Dr. Jim Ault from Chicago Botanic Garden and Winston Beck, an up-and-coming horticulture student here at Iowa State.  We’ll be blogging along the way, just as my team and I did back in 2009 when we trekked to the Ozarks.  Expect daily video entries too!  This is going to be a great trip–stay tuned!

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