Once upon a time there was a Japanese beer company who decided to dabble in the flower business. It’s natural for a beer company to develop a flower, right? I don’t know about you, but the more beer I drink, the more I feel like tiptoeing through the tulips. I perfectly understand the correlation.

Well, as the story goes, this beer company developed the modern day petunia. For years, countries all over the world grew petunias, developing new colors, growth habits and disease resistance, trying to create the latest and greatest jaw-dropping breakthroughs. From Helsinki to Havana to Honolulu and Portland, Oregon, petunias are the most popular annual.

I suspect that the beer company started developing a new line of hops. That makes a lot more sense and somehow stumbled upon the modern day petunia. Life was so simple back in the early 1900’s. We could walk by a flower back then and go, “Hmm, nice flower.” But if you ask me the world has finally run amok. Nuts. I think the world is simply nuts. I know what’s going through your mind right now. You’re thinking of all the stupid crap going on in the world. I mean, seriously, we have real problems to deal with in this world and for some reason the petunia has arrived front and center onto the world’s stage of controversy. Let the petunia carnage of 2017 begin.

Let’s go back to Helsinki because it started there. A dude was walking along near a train station in Helsinki. We’re going to call him “Dude” to protect his identity because quite frankly “Dude” has too much time on his hands.

It just so happened that Dude studied plant pigments, i.e., flower colors at the University of Helsinki thirty years ago. Who knew that flower colors were worth going to college for? The flower he came across was a vivid orange petunia in a planter. The same one pictured above. Dude being the plant geek he was knew that no orange color that he had worked on ever made it to market. Dude was curious, so he stole a stem and put it into his backpack. Dude took this evidence and did some studies. Evidently, Dude is a smart dude. He was flummoxed. Flummoxed by the orange blooms he saw in the Helsinki train station. He decided to test the plant to figure out why the sight of the flower was cheating him, fooling his eyes. The flower has a yellow pigment on top because Dude studied pigments. So he tested it and it revealed a DNA insert. (Menacing music in the background.) The petunia had been GMO’d, genetically modified. OMG.

Now, here’s where it gets really stupid. Who cares? I get it. We don’t want dogs having cats and we certainly don’t want to genetically modify a man to have a baby. Frankly, I don’t think men could stand the pain anyway so they would not be a good baby host.

The DNA was corn. Doesn’t that mean the world is changing and isn’t that evolution? Isn’t evolution, evolution and it is what it is? I’m not going to roll into DNA, GMO or Crisper for that matter. But evidently, Dude was a little bit perplexed about how corn got into his flower. We have a lot of problems in this world. Some times the problems are small. Some times the problems are big. But I have faith that no matter how complex the problem may be, humanity will ultimately win out.

So, check this out. You can no longer buy petunias you have been buying for years. This year, all the growers in the United States and in Europe have been instructed to start the carnage and destroy all orange petunias and some red. This is all because petunias had sex with corn. (Mic drop.) You heard it. Dude said too much. Finland’s Food and Safety Body called for the destruction of eight varieties of petunias. Other European nations followed suit. The USDA went on full alert and searched out suspect petunias and now here we are today. Instead of protecting endangered species, we are destroying them. I’m sorry, but unless I’m missing something here, I think this is freakin’ stupid.

So, there you go. Just a little inside info into the nursery world.

Let’s move onto train day.

Trains will be coming to Maple Rock, September 9th. I keep telling you this because I don’t want you to get caught on the train tracks.

You can:

  • Tour the garden
  • Listen to live music
  • Enjoy lunch from High-Hand Cafe and, of course
  • Enjoy the garden railroad
  • Free parking

G-scale trains and live steam trains will be on display. Click here to purchase your tickets.

Farmer Ryan is back at High-Hand Nursery this weekend with the almighty musk melon. Come sample. Meet Farmer Ryan. Take home a melon. Our Maple Rock heirloom melons keep coming. Stop in throughout the coming weeks and see what other varieties pop up.

Good news, you will not be asked to rip out your orange petunias. Chances are, the petunias being annuals, will not survive North America’s winters and by Spring of next year they will most likely be history anyway. I’m bummed.

See you at High-Hand Nursery, where there will be no orange petunia carnage.


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