Plant preservationist ‘passes along’ knowledge

Published 9:20 pm Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Pike County Master Gardeners and the Troy Floribunda Club hosted Jason Powell from Petals from the Past in Jemison at noon Wednesday at the Colley Senior Complex.

Leigh Caulk, Master Gardeners communication chair, said, when it comes to plants and flowers and gardening in general, there is no better place for shopping or for knowledgeable advice than Petals from the Past.

“Petal from the Past specializes in antique roses, heirloom shrubs and hard to find perennial flowers and herbs,” Caulk said. “Most all Southern gardeners have an interest in pass-along plants, those that our grandmothers grew, so we were all anxious to hear Jason Powell talk about those plants and others that grow well in our area and those that are native to Alabama.”

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Caulk said the great turnout for Powell’s program was an indication of how well he is respected, not only as a grower, but also as an educator.

“Jason educates people about plants and about what plants will grow best in the different areas,” she said. “Education about plants is also a goal of Master Gardeners. We opened Jason Powell’s program to the public in order to better educate our community about what is available in our area and what grows best.”

Powell said there is a growing interest in the pass-along plants, some of which date back to the mid- to late-1800s.

“It is interesting that heirloom plants, many of them roses, continue to be found around old home places and especially in cemeteries,” Caulk said. “Those plants have withstood neglect and time so they are hardy, durable plants.”

Powell told his audience that now is a good time to plant.

“The temperature of the atmosphere might be cool but the soil temperature is around 74 to78,” he said. “The soil temperature is just right for planting.”

Powell shared information about planting and cutting back, about the plants in grandma’s garden and what’s new in the garden.

Master Gardener Vice President Neil Haigh said Powell is trained and educated in the field of plant preservation.

“He is one of the best in his field,” she said. “As a diverse group of master gardeners, we are always seeking information. Jason Powell is knowledgeable about what we, as gardeners, need and want to know about. Gardeners have a unique place in society so we should pass along our knowledge about the plants we treasure and those that we remember from people and places in our lives.”

Haigh said the one thing that Powell was not able to convey to her was how to keep deer from dining on her roses. Other than that, he is a master at gardening.

Those who are interested in the Master Gardener program in Troy are encouraged to call the Pike County Extension Office at 566-0985 for more information.