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Species used to develop interspecific hybrid populations: (A) Asclepias tuberosa (mother), (B) A. curassavica, (C) A. fascicularis, (D) A. incarnata, (E) A. hirtella, (F) A. purpurascens, (G) A. syriaca, and (H) A. speciosa. (HortScience horts 56, 7) CAES News
Milkweed Hybridization
The research, led by College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences doctoral candidate Mary Lewis and horticulture professor Matthew Chappell, focused on breeding a milkweed plant with commercially desirable traits that would support pollinators.
After molting into adults, periodical cicadas will move or fly to nearby vertical structures, especially shrubs and trees. The females will eventually lay their eggs on the ends of tree branches. CAES News
Tree Flagging
The emergence of Brood X exceeded expectations in north Georgia, as those of us who happen to reside in the “cicada zone” observed droves of periodical cicadas during the peak of the event. Over the past weeks, the song of the male periodical cicada has faded and fewer of these fascinating insects remain, but a sign of their passing is still evident.
Athens brewery Creature Comforts creates a saison beer that contains tulsi, also known as holy basil, a Southeast Asian herb grown at student-run farm UGArden. CAES News
Community Connection
Athens, Georgia, is known for three things — University of Georgia football, music, and food. Food is as much a part of the Athenian identity as the Bulldogs. Every weekend, football or not, restaurants around Athens are filled with both locals and students enjoying the communal environment a good local dish or beverage can offer.
The 2021 CAES Ratcliffe Scholars (clockwise from top left) are Amaja Andrews, Ashley Dombrowski, Zaharia Selman and Sofia Franzluebbers. CAES News
2021 Ratcliffe Scholars
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) offers an exceptional array of courses taught by world-renowned professors — but it is often experiences beyond the walls of the classroom that truly set students apart.  
John Ruter, Allan M. Armitage Professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was named UGA’s 2021 Inventor of the Year, recognizing his many years of work developing and testing new ornamental plant cultivars, many of which are sold commercially and adorn landscapes around the country. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski) CAES News
Master Gardener
John Ruter realized at a young age that he belonged in a garden. He came to UGA in 1990 to serve as the nursery crop research specialist at the Tifton Campus after earning bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in horticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida, respectively. He now serves as the Allan M. Armitage Professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, specializing in ornamental plant breeding and production.
UGA Extension consumer horticulturist Bob Westerfield checks bean plants for signs of disease and insects on the UGA campus in Griffin. Westerfield grows vegetables at work to be prepared to answer home gardener questions. He grows them at home for his dinner table. CAES News
Spring Vegetable Gardening
To call this past spring in Georgia normal would be a mischaracterization. Typical springs in Georgia seem to last about three days — and then we hit the hot weather. This spring, the cooler temperatures were most pleasant and hung on through the middle of May. Rainfall has also been feast or famine, and wind patterns have been higher than normal. Together, these conditions have made for a challenging time in the vegetable garden.
On May 10, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the fiscal year 2022 state budget that designated $26.1 million for capital projects at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. CAES News
Capital Gains
Gov. Brian Kemp signed the fiscal year 2022 budget for the state of Georgia on Monday, May 10, securing $21.7 million for the construction of phase one of a new Poultry Science Complex on the University of Georgia’s Athens campus.
The Passion hibiscus, developed by UGA plant breeder John Ruter, has burgundy and red leaves and bright-green flower buds that bloom into massive pink flowers. CAES News
Mother's Day Gifts
Plants and flowers are popular choices for Mother’s Day gifts each year and University of Georgia plant breeders are responsible for many beautiful varieties available in garden stores.
CAES Dean and Director Nick Place (left) and UGA blueberry entomologist Ashfaq Sial ceremonially plant the first blueberry bush in the new research orchard at UGA's Durham Horticulture Farm in Watkinsville, Georgia. CAES News
Blueberry Research
Native to North America, blueberries are the most-recently commercially domesticated fruit in the U.S. Just a little over a century ago researchers began studying this wild berry with an intent to develop improved varieties for commercial cultivation.