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May 16, 2017


May 17, 2017

“Never plant anything until after Memorial Day.” I can still hear my grandmother’s voice every time spring arrives and I start looking at all the beautiful plants I want in my yard. I also hear my mother’s voice repeating my grandmother’s advice. They were both incredible women and wonderful gardeners and I miss them both dearly, but especially this time of year. With Mother's Day, my mom’s birthday, my birthday and the arrival of summer gardens, it’s impossible not to stumble back into memories.

While I haven’t planted any annuals yet, I simply couldn’t ignore the beautiful reddish orange blooms in a pot just begging me to take them home. Instantly, they made me happy. So even while shushing my grandmother’s voice in my head, I bought them and put them on my deck a few weeks ago. And two days later a frost hit in the night. Lesson learned. Don’t ignore those voices from the past. Or at least pay attention to the weather report. I did neither and ended up with a frostbitten plant that now just makes me sad. Call it my spring fail…or even my face plant.

Advice from your grandma is good, but solid scientific research is even better. Plant researcher David Kramer and his team are doing some really cool work to collaborate and connect with researchers, farmers and plant experts all over the world. Check out the short video in the MSUToday FEATURE: Power plants, to learn more about this inexpensive and creative approach to studying plants.

Andre Velasquez is a research associate in the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory who is also devoting his expertise to the study of plants. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Plants on the defensive, to learn more about how plants defend themselves from bacteria. (Is it weird I’m picturing plants with boxing gloves?)

Plants are absolutely essential to our survival. They feed the world, clean the air, provide sources for alternative energy and more. MSU is a proven leader in all sorts of research in this area. This week, we sent out a research story about plants competing against each other and doing better because of it. (Is it weird that I think of plants running in a race and standing on a podium with medals?)

Anyway, even if you’re not a brilliant researcher like the ones you find in labs all over campus, there’s still plenty to learn about plants. This Saturday, May 20, MSU is hosting its first “Fascination of Plants Day: From Seed to Fruit” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Molecular Plant Sciences Building. If you want to explore greenery, enjoy some fun hands-on activities and meet some of those wicked-smart researchers, you should check it out. Find out more in the MSUToday article.

Recent graduate Stephanie Saba is planting different kinds of seeds. She’s finishing up a one-year language intensive program in Meknes, Morocco this weekend. While there, she discovered the lack of a children’s section in the local library. This determined Spartan, knowing that planting the seeds of literacy is key to future education, set out to create one on her own. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Foundations of education, to learn more about the project she took on in addition to her studies.

Spartans are constantly planting the seeds that are the foundations of our future. Whether it’s literally planting seeds, or figuratively doing so, the knowledge that grows from Spartans has the ability to change the world. Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Jordan Noble


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