Wednesday September 18th

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Hey everyone! Sorry it's been a while since our last post, we've just been so busy! A lot has been happening here in Kensington. Last week we finished demography (the first run though) with a visit to Krusemarks. Unfortunately the GPS would not cooperate and we couldn't actually map out the plants there. The walk there and back however, was quite exciting as we waded through stinging nettle and poison ivy and even decided to take a short cut through the corn. We also have begun collecting sideoats grama grass and little blue stem seeds that we'll plant in the new common garden. Ilse and I have been hard at work hauling trees from new common garden site (photos to come) and today (after 3 attempts) we got the tractor going and dragged a ton of trees out from the field and into massive burn piles.

We've also been harvesting Echinacea heads like crazy! Nearly all the heads in the qGen2 crossing experiment have been harvested and today we did our first dissections. I would also estimate we've harvested roughly half of all the other heads in the common garden. This stack of bags in Hjelm House just keeps growing.

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In other news, the last head in the common garden was done flowering today! Unfortunately its flowering period was prematurely cut short due to grasshopper herbivory. Apparently the immature florets and anthers looked pretty tasty. Grasshoppers have also taken a liking to the heads from the crossing experiment. Much to our dismay, we've returned to a couple heads that look like this:

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This is quite frustrating since many times the grasshoppers have chewed the bracts down so much that it's impossible to tell what color the head was painted and therefore some of the of crosses are going to lose a fair number of achenes. Alas, we've stopped de-bagging the heads in hopes of combating this issue.

Well I think that's all the news for now. Have a good rest of the week!

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