Monday, September 1, 2014

Just keep growing!


Well here we are at the end up Summer and the beginning of Fall semester. As of August 28th I have successfully finished all the JMG Kid Zone projects and they are now open for the public! The past 9 weeks have really tested me. I have pushed myself further than I ever expected and got out of my comfort zone. The work I have done with JMG has definitely opened my eyes to future careers paths, such as teaching. I will meet with Randy and Lisa to fill out my evaluation and discuss what some of my strengths and weaknesses are. I am curious to see their opinions and suggestions. Overall I am not particularly worried because they seem very satisfied with the work that I have done but I guess we shall see.

 I am looking forward to continued contact to see how the students and teachers interact with the programs and how well they will go over with each grade level.  Please check out the "Kid Zone" button the JMG website to see all my hard work, you can even do the activities yourself and learn some Horticulture.

Thank you all for sticking with me throughout this experience and I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have!

For one last time, Thanks & Dig 'Em

Hallie Morrison

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I can't be leaf it!


 What a whirlwind this summer has been. I feel like it has flown right over my head. I can't believe today is the last day of my internship. I am so grateful for all the kindness and support I have had from my supervisors Randy and Lisa. I finished 18/25 programs in the 9 weeks I was here and have been granted permission to finish the rest before school starts even though my internship is over. The programs I have completed will be released to some JMG instructors for a test run before they go public on the the JMG website as of September 1st. I still don't think I have fully wrapped my head around the fact that children all over the country in grades 3-5 will be doing activities that I created to get an education about Horticulture. It's a really amazing feeling. I hope that in years to come, many children will use the activities I have created to learn something new or develop of love of Horticulture. That was the main goal when I started 9 weeks ago and it hasn't changed.

Not only will I be able to complete the other 7 programs this coming semester but I have also been asked to do some part time work on special projects for the website. I am so excited and glad that I was persistent about figuring out the odds and ends of how Word Press works and I am looking forward to what Randy and Lisa have in store for me. 

As a going away present, I received a beautiful set of 4 letter tiles that spell out the word "GROW!" They will fit perfectly in my room or my garden, and remind me everyday to continue to grow as a individual! Lisa had this quote written in the card so I decided to make a sign from it. 

Soon I will write my final blog piece about my everything I learned in my internship, so stay tuned!

Until next thyme!

Thanks and Dig'Em,


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

West-ward Ho!


Well here we are, my internship is almost over! To tell you the truth, the past few weeks have been super stressful as far as intern work goes but it is no ones fault. Just purely the great dance of life always keeping me on my toes! :) This past month has truly reinforced the fact that life moves really fast sometimes and if you blink you might miss something important. I missed about 3 weeks of internship work this month, due to getting sick and traveling which really set me back. I have been trying to play catch up this week and thankfully I have gotten a lot done! However, I'm wanted to talk about the trip I took that caused me to miss a few days of work because it really impacted me and has added a great deal to my internship!

Hallie goes West!

I recently went to visit my sister in California, it was my first time in a plane or that far west ever! 

Northern California blew my mind, it is absolutely beautiful. I mean for Pete sakes there were Hydrangea growing in the MIDDLE OF SUMMER, that is completely unheard of in ever. The weather there is perfect to grow almost anything it seems. It was interesting to see how much the weather can affect the growth of something and how abundantly things strive in an environment like California!

My sister had a full blown garden with tomatoes growing in wine barrels that she started from seed. She also had lettuce growing on her porch and a peach and walnut tree in her back yard. I have never in my life picked a piece of fruit from a tree, washed it off and eaten it! It was awesome! I took lots of pictures of both to use in my lesson on Fruits and Nuts in Chapter 6 of the JMG Manual! 
There were Agapanthus (African Lily as most people know it) in every corner you turned, in the medians of all the roads; it was amazing! My sister have patches and patches growing around her house! I had way more Horticulture nerd moments then I really want to admit! In fact I probably took more pictures of the amazing gardens areas in California than anything else! 

They have hanging pots full of flowers hanging from the light poles in San Francisco. By the bay there was a crab which had succulents growing out of its body! Do you see why I was so excited?! What I thought was truly interesting was the condition of all of the plants, because they were all in wonderful condition. I grew curious about what kind of maintenance has to be done, if any, to those gardens. I think it would be interesting to work for a city and be able to design new gardens and areas like this! It was truly interesting to experience a different type of Horticulture and different type of landscape design which will help me a lot in my up coming chapter on Landscape Horticulture!

Super Cool California Things: 

Sequoia sempervirens

Another really amazing thing that you don't see in Texas are Redwood Trees. In Northern California the species Sequoia sempervirens grows! Some have been there for almost 2,000 years. They are breath taking and obviously huge. The bark alone is almost a foot thick! I learned that people used to log these by hand saw!!! WHAT?! How crazy is that! I even got to look at one of the saws they used, it was the biggest one I have ever seen! 

I am planning on using the pictures and information I will research about Redwoods in a program I am creating about the installation of trees into gardens and home landscape for Chapter 5 of the JMG Manual. I will also be incorporating the Survivor Tree from the memorial site of 9/11! 

Air Plants: 

Possibly the coolest souvenir I could get were Air Plants. Air Plants are a type of Bromeliad plant that do not need soil to grow. All you have to do is soak them in water for 30 minutes once or twice a week. 

My sister had given me one for Christmas and I forgot to water it. The only plant I killed all semester would be the one I can't go to the local nursery to get! Well needless to say...I kind of ended up buying 4 (totally worth it),  they are so cool and there were tones of  different species that I cannot recall the names of! One of them was even blooming purple flowers. It is truly amazing what plants are capable of doing!

Plants would be great for children in low income housing that don't have a plot of ground to grow anything. In California they just place them in a small mouth vase or a piece of drift wood. 

Although this trip was not directly connected with my internship, I think it was very important that I had an experience like this during this time. Being that JMG is a national program, it is important to understand the different environments that the students are in and how I can relate these lesson plans to all states! I am thankful to be able to travel and create new connections with my internship!  Now that I am back into the swing of things I have created 3 more programs this week. I even got to find my inner child and do some tracing and coloring for a tessellation activity on the use of repetition! I also used a picture of some grape vines I took in the Russian River Valley in California to represent repetition! 

Ready for some more awesome stuff (as if this internship wasn't already awesome)! Today I met with my supervisors and went over the programs I created and I got some exciting news! My instructor let me now that he is very interested in keeping me on for some contractual work because of how comfortable I have become with the Word Press site. I believe I briefly mentioned something about this in a previous post but this seems to be the real deal now! I would be working a few hours a week with miscellaneous projects for the JMG office as they continue to transfer their old website to the new one! The potential of this offer really happening is very good and I am beyond ecstatic! I am crossing my fingers that I can continue my work with JMG past my internship and see where all these programs I have created go! 

Anywho, Thank you for reading. I only have a few more posts before my internship is done! Peas stick around for them!

Have a grape day! Also, someone please take be back to Cali!?

Thanks & Dig'Em, 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teahing the Teachers


Last week was week 5 of my internship and I got to spend part of it traveling. On Tuesday, Lisa and I traveled to Brenham ISD to do a training with some of the teachers across the school district.

This was a really great learning and teaching experience. Not only did I get to learn more about JMG but I also got to communicate with the teachers and share my opinions with them. The group we had at this training was very small with only about 5 teachers, but they all wanted to be there. It was truly amazing to see teachers so hungry for the knowledge about JMG and how they could intertwine it into their school curriculum.  Not only did we share ideas with them, but we showed them how easily these activates could be done so they could see how non-threatening the activities really were.  I could just tell that the teachers were thinking "I can do this, I don't know anything about gardening but I can do this!"  That is what training is all about, right? Giving people the tools to accomplish something they may not have been able to do before. 

I learned during this training that a lot of times the teachers simply do not think they are knowledgeable enough to teach children about gardening. The activities in the Teacher/Leader guide of the JMG Handbook not only allows the teacher to teach the student but teach themselves as well. The concern of funding for the actual handbooks and the teacher guide or having access to materials to do activities came up in conversation. This prompted us to have a discussion on how JMG can get the whole community involved in projects. Teachers are always searching for parental support, but a program like this could allow companies around town to donate supplies or even allow the school district to develop a relationship with their county extension office.

During the training Lisa spoke to them about all the different aspects of JMG. Not only does JMG cover gardening but there is a curriculum for Wildlife, Nutrition, and even a second level for kids in grades 6-8. My favorite part was seeing the teachers get involved in the activities that we brought as examples.

Here are some of the activities we did:

Know and Show Sombero 

For this activity, the teachers had to create a hat out of newspaper and decorate it with all the things a plant needs to grow without discussing it with anyone else. They then had to share what was on their hat with the rest of the group. They all got really creative and made some really great hats to share. 

Another activity we did was called a "Grow Card"

This is an activity that allows teachers to use all those left over construction paper scarps that kids love to throw away. They do this be blending the paper with water till it is soupy, then pour it out over mesh to squeeze the water out. All you have to do after that is sprinkle any kind of flat seed on top and set it out to dry. You can then cut it into any shape you want and give it to someone, all they have to do is bury it in the soil and water it. How cool is that? Recycling, showing someone you care, and growing a plant all at the same time. If that doesn't preach how much of a plant nerd I am, then I don't know what does! 

During the training we even traveled outside, in the blazing Texas heat, to an outdoor learning center. Here the teachers learned to make their own bug aspirators and measure a tree using only a pencil, a person, and a measuring tape.I spoke a little in one of my first posts about how the lack of teacher participation and how it has caused a decline in horticulture education in my very own community. This training was a real booster of hope and I am so excited to see how JMG in Brenham schools takes off. The teachers even offered to let me come back and use them for trail runs of any future activities we create! Talk about great participation!

In other news: 

I am so excited to announce that I FINALLY finished editing the video of Mr. Cain singing a really awesome gardening song.  Check it out here: 

AND, Mr. Cain has officially started blogging for the JMG website which you can find here:

Hopefully you get inspired by one of his posts, and please share it with all of your friends with children or teachers to know!  

Before I go: 
I'd like to again thank all the people who have taken the time to read this blog and laugh out all of my terrible plant puns! I get a lot of really great compliments on everything I've said which makes me very happy. Also, a big shout out to the teachers of Brenham ISD for baring the heat and being such wonderful examples of teachers who truly want to teach their children! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! Don't forget to wear sunscreen, because I will not be held parsley responsible for your sunburn! 

Thanks & Dig'Em, 



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A picture is worth a thousand words!


My oh my, it has been a crazy week! I am slowly wrapping up the Chapter 1 lessons so they can be posted to the website. Thank you to all those poor kids waiting for web activities to complete their manual, I promise your wait is well worth it!!! I've been noticing how deep I have been in the weeds this past week, not really paying attention to anything. This weekend was a nice reminder of how blessed I am, and I got to spend a lot a quality time with my family! I even got a new car:) Thanks Mom & Dad!!  Today was another time to reflect on all things beautiful in life! I got to step out of the office today and snap some pictures for some of our activities. Its true what they say, sometimes you really do need to stop and smell the roses.

Not that I didn't already think A&M campus was beautiful, today just cemented it. It was pouring down rain this morning but as soon as the sun came out I grabbed my camera and took a stroll around our greenhouses. The activities we are doing require the differentiation between monocot and dicot plants so I was on a hunt to find some really clear examples of the two and boy did I!

I will be using the picture about as an example of a Dicot. Dicots can be identified by flowers with parts that are in multiples of 4 or 5!! 

This flower is an example of a Monocot, they are identified by flowers with part in multiples of 3! I am so excited to see my photography published on the JMG website, and I hope that my pictures provide a very clear understanding between the different types of plants!!!

Here a few more picture from around the greenhouses that I took!

This flower is called a Passion Flower and I was just recently introduced to it when I went on a backroad drive on Memorial Day! I think it is absolutely breath taking and quite a bizarre looking flower but it is beautiful, there is no question!! 

It's awesome to be able to use all different kinds of skills for this internship, and I am grateful to be getting to do things I enjoy! With all the hustle and bustle through out my week I can honestly say that today has been my favorite of all the days here! 

What is to come?

Next week I will be traveling to Brenham with Lisa to record some JMG training, I am super excited to see what goes into teaching people the aspects of JMG! I will also be finally publishing Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 activites on the web as well as Mr. Cain's sing-a-long video. 

For all those who are interested Mr. Cain will be blogging for JMG starting this week! You can find his blog posts on the website along with my posts!! Take a look if you have thyme ;) He is a man full of knowledge and he is excited to share ideas with anyone interested in gardening!

Thanks & Gig' Em, 


SeeD case


So this past week I created a really awesome Father's Day project for kids that we posted on the JMG website!! 

It's called a SeeD Case, and it's a really awesome viewing window for kids to see plants grow from a seed! I will also be using a similar activity for one of the JMG web lessons I am creating on propagation! This was one of the first activities that I got to get my hands a little dirty and I had so much fun! 

Here is the link to the actual post:

I have some difficulties with getting mine to grow so I am hoping that no one else did. My squash seeds grew the best and I am going to replant them into a larger pot! 

I am still working on the video of Mr. Cain and his garden song but I can't wait to post it! I have another post that I will be publishing later this afternoon so I am making this post a little shorter than the normal ones!! 

Before I go I'd like to give a big shoutout to all the Fathers out there, thanks for being you! But most of all a big shout out to my dad for loving me and supporting me through everything I do!!

Thanks & Dig' Em, 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rock Prairie boys and girls, oooohhh, we know that school is cool!


Well I have officially completed my first and second week as an intern and it was busy, but amazing! I am sorry it took so long for me to update everyone. Working 8-5 for TEEX on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays then working on internship activities for Tuesdays and Wednesday was an adjustment but I am loving it! 

Week One

On my first day of my internship I had the privilege of traveling back to the place where it all began, Rock Prairie Elementary! 

It's funny how much can change in almost 12 years, I almost didn't recognize the inside of the school at all. We visited Mrs. Gardener's 4th grade class and recorded a lesson plan about following directions when planting a seed. It was very interesting to watch the kids try to write down all the steps to planting a seed then sharing them with their fellow students. The students then demonstrated their directions and the kids were so great at following exactly what the other student said! The lesson we recorded will be part of a online educational moodle (same as eCampus or Blackboard) that JMG is creating for teachers! I hope that the videos and lessons they create in the moodle will provide good examples of the proper way to teach children about gardening!

After we finished in class I got to take a walk down memory lane, one of the cool things about Rock Prairie is the indoor courtyards they have between the hallways. These courtyards were designed into gardens where JMG classes could grow different plants and vegetables! Randy informed me that after my JMG instructor Mr. Cain left, the gardening program dwindled and the schools garden ended up being ripped out and replaced with stone pavers. This news hit me pretty hard, I remember my mother buying me a rosemary plant to plant in one of the courtyards and how proud I was that I planted it all by myself. When I traveled back to the school a few years ago that rosemary plant was still there, along with the rest of the garden. However, now it's just a flat piece of ground with a picnic table on it. This was a truly saddening things to hear about, and witness.

Most people don't realize the importance of programs such as JMG or Horticulture in general. The creator of JMG, Mrs. Lisa Whittlesey worked for a prison creating a horticulture program for the inmates. These programs provide not only education but a respect for other living things. The gears are turning in my head on how I can contribute to gaining more involvement from other teachers at the school. It's sad to think that the younger generations may not get to experience a gardening program because of possible lack of participation by the teachers. 

Online Programs 

Part of completion of the JMG handbook are the web activities that prompt children to do gardening at home. So far I have created ideas for Chapters 1 & 2 of the JMG Level One online activities. These activities include lessons on Propagation and Classification of plants for Chapter 1 and lessons on soil structure and soil improvement for Chapter 2. Randy and Lisa have been super helpful in the creations of these programs and I am excited to see what else we come up with for the other online lessons we have to create. I am also learning how to use Word Press which is a webpage software that can be a little confusing. I am learning lots of html coding thanks to the IT guy, which could come in handy some day!


I also had the privilege of going to Greens Prairie Elementary to record my JMG instructor Mr. Cain in his last sing-a-long. Mr. Cain used to do the sing-a-longs at Rock Prairie and my favorite was "Rock Prairie boys and girls, ooohhh, we know that school is cool!" (Hence the title of this post) Mr. Cain retired this year so this was a wonderful opportunity to see him bringing music to students even after 12 years. I am currently learning how to use a video editing software called Camtasia and once I figure it out I will post the video of the kids singing the most adorable garden song ever!!!

Also, look out for a super awesome Father's Day gift for to help the kiddos with this week, Ill be posting it tomorrow!

I recently gave my boss an Ivy plant I grew in my HORT 202 lab and it got infested with mealybugs! Mealybugs are a soft-bodied insect with a fuzzy white residue, they are very common in house plants! Mealy bugs cause Chlorosis(yellowing) and leaf drop of plants by sucking out their juices. In the case that your house plant does in fact have Mealybugs, give your plant a good shower with a water hose to knock them off! Its best to use pesticides as a last resort, some have chemicals in them that clog the stoma(breathing holes) of a plant and they will die!

I hope that helps:) Thanks so much for reading, your guys are so RAD(ish) that I found garden joke for you! 


Q: What do you call the worm that ate Mozart? 
             (Guess a while before you go searching for the answer!)

Thanks & Dig' Em, 



A: A decomposer!