Longer-lasting flowers, International Garden Festival: Newsy Notes

20080306_62 Hmmmm … I wonder if we will someday have lilacs blooming for more than the usual couple of weeks in early spring or cut roses that last longer in a vase. We just might if virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) research continues to progress at the Agricultural Research Service. Scientists there are investigating how VIGS might slow senescence – in other words plant aging. By inserting a specific virus into specific plant genes they have reduced ethylene production in the altered gene. Ethylene gas causes plant material to age or ripen. You know how placing an apple, which gives off a good amount of ethylene, in a bag with avocados makes the avocados ripen faster? Well apples, and other fruit will do the same to cut flowers. ARS researchers figure if they can stop or minimize ethylene production at the gene level then plants and/or cut flowers might last longer. Could be a real boon for the cut flower industry. I could get used to having a rose such as this last a good two weeks in a vase. Now you can only reach the two week mark by getting really, really fresh flowers that have been handled correctly from cut to florist to you … and you must give them fresh preservative and water daily.

If you live in or near Quebec … or plan a visit there soon … you could plan to visit the International Garden Festival. The New York Times reports this year’s festival will include a number of avant-garde landscape installations – always an interesting view. Unable to get to Quebec between June 26 and October 3, 2010? Take a virtual tour, and while your at it tour the other sites at Reford Gardens. A warning though … the virtual tours might only wet your appetite. Visiting the International Garden Festival is now on my list of travel wanna-dos.

Anyone visiting this festival, please take lots of photos and share, share, share.

2 comments for “Longer-lasting flowers, International Garden Festival: Newsy Notes

  1. June 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Joene,

    There already is a lilac that blooms for longer than a few weeks…supposedly. It’s new to the mass market this year and is called bloomerang. I’m just starting to see it at the nurseries here but haven’t bought one yet. I’ve read mixed reviews with some people saying it reblooms well over the course of the summer and others calling the rebloom sporadic at best. I guess only time will tell.

  2. joenesgarden
    June 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Nice to know, Debbie. Now that I reread my first sentence I can see it is somewhat misleading. The point of the research noted above is not to have a specific plant bloom later into the growing season but to create individual blossoms that last longer. Hence we may someday have one lilac blossom, for example, that lasts longer in a vase or on a shrub than they currently do which would extend their bloom time. I think that creating a cultivar that blooms later or reblooms works on a different set of genes.

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