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‘Wicked’ plants focus of ISU Hort Center fundraiser

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‘Wicked’ plants focus of ISU Hort Center fundraiser

ISU Horticulture Center

A Sept. 7 fundraising event will focus on ‘wicked’ plants at the ISU Horticulture Center. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)

NORMAL – Visitors to the Illinois State University Horticulture Center this year can learn more about the dark side of plants in the center’s “Garden of Ill-Repute.”

The garden goes along with this year’s theme for the center, which is “Gardens of Ill-Repute: Showcasing Wicked Plants and the Vile Acts they Commit.” Inspired by a book on wicked plants by bestselling author Amy Stewart, a fundraising event on Sept. 7 will include three separate features at the Horticulture Center and ISU Alumni Center. Stewart will be present to share her knowledge about wicked bugs and plants during the events.

“It’s just a really interesting perspective on nature, and really that there are some nasty plants out there that have been used for really horrific things in the past,” said Jessica Chambers, director of the ISU Horticulture Center.

But even when plants are poisonous, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad. It may be important to have an awareness about the plants and their defense mechanisms.

“A lot of the plants in your yard are wicked in the sense that they are poisonous,” said Chambers. “We say they they’re wicked, but really plants aren’t bad. They use these as a survival technique or tactic to get from generation to generation. They’re really not bad, but they do have these parts to them that could be quite lethal to humans, or injure you, as well as even your pets.”

Chambers said the fundraising events are a great opportunity to see the Horticulture Center and better understand its purpose.

“The Horticulture Center is a laboratory. There’s research that takes place, and then several times a year we have outreach. We have several activities that we do for the public,” said Chambers. “We think it’s important that people have a place they can go to that they can be inspired. Whether it’s a new vegetable or a new flower, or just a walk through the prairie. A little time out from our craziness of our world.”

Every guest at the September 7 event gets an autographed copy of Stewart’s book, entitled Wicked Plants: The Weed that killed Lincoln’s Mother and other Botanical Atrocities, as well as a garden memento.

Another fundraiser is coming up Saturday, September 29. The annual Autumnal Festival includes Scarecrows on Parade, and volunteers to make scarecrows should be signing up now. The money raised in both fundraisers goes back to buy plants for the gardens for next year.

For more information or to register, visit the ISU Horticulture Center website.

To hear Patti Penn’s interview with Jessica Chambers, click here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Carrie Muehling can be reached at carrie.


Written by vaphc

September 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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