KAI VICTOR: I'm located in New York City right now. So definitely, my amount of nature has decreased exponentially. That is why I have plenty of time to spend with my baby amaryllises, which I brought to this meeting. They're still going pretty well.
Amaryllises are a really cool plant because it takes so long to grow. The process of sprouting them takes many weeks. Breeding them took a while. And then raising these to maturity is going to take around three or six years. So I really can't think of a better project to do in quarantine than raise amaryllises.
MARVIN PRITTS: I have a student in Kansas who'll be able to describe the tall grass prairie, a student in Southern California who'll able to describe the desert environment, students in the Midwest, the Northeast, who will be able to describe old growth forests. So that is a dimension that I haven't had in the class before.
MAISIE OSWALD: I kind of wanted a project that I could work with plants on a smaller scale, that I didn't have to be outside for and was in-- that was a quarantine-friendly project. And so I decided to build a little terrarium, which is a closed-off jar of-- a self-sustaining plant system.
MARVIN PRITTS: And when we talk about some of the foods, and we've talked about foods that come from grasses, they could go into their kitchens and make a list of the products that are produced from grass.
LINDSEY LUO: At the bottom down here, there's some flour. Does seaweed count as a grass?
MARVIN PRITTS: No.
LINDSEY LUO: OK. Well, in that case, there is also rice crisps and popcorn here.
MARVIN PRITTS: My goal is to instill a lifelong love of plants and horticulture in these students.
KAI VICTOR: I can learn about something in class and then immediately apply it to something I have right next to me in my home, in the city, where, although I can't go outside and look at trees and forests, I can look at these small little pots of plants.
MAISIE OSWALD: A cool thing with terrariums is that you can seal them off completely, and they will just live. It's kind of like an ecosphere. So the history is kind of related to that, and that people were making them to see how plants can survive in their own closed-off jars, which I'm excited about that aspect of making it a little-- like, it's own little world, for sure.
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Horticulture professor Marvin Pritts inspires a love of plants in his students in Hands-on Horticulture for Gardeners, PLHRT1102. Students rise to the challenges of online learning to complete the Spring 2020 semester.