the show

Lessons From Monticello

air date: May 11, 2013

Peter J. Hatch, Retired Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, connects Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary gardens to our gardens of today in his book, A Rich Spot of Earth. On tour, visit another botanical explorer, John G. Fairey, at Peckerwood Garden. Daphne explains how horticulture and botany intersect. Her pick of the week is native chile pequin, a favorite for spicy recipes and for birds who dine on the fruits. Jeff Pavlat from the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society demonstrates his tool kit for spiky and spiny plants.

Question of the Week

How do botany and horticulture intersect?

Briefly, botany is the study of plant biology, and would include subjects such as plant anatomy and physiology, and taxonomy, also known as systematics, which is the study of plant classification: in other words, plant names.

Horticulture is study of plant “culture,” or, how to GROW plants. A good botanical training helps with understanding how to grow and cultivate plants, so both fields are important to plant-lovers.

But gardening enthusiasts usually choose to focus on horticultural aspects of plant growth, learning about botany as they go.

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Plant of the Week

Chile Pequin and Chiltepin

Chile Pequin and Chiltepin

Texas designated the chiltepin (chile tepin) as the official state native pepper in 1997. This native plant includes Chile pequin (and it's confusing!) but the ones you'll find in your nurseries will most likely be called Chile pequin. Chiletepins are small and round, while pequins are slightly larger and pointed. Adaptable to sun, shade, or part shade, it can be a perennial in many gardens. In coldest winters, it may be an annual, but birds may seed its fruits that they love. If it freezes back, its roots may still be alive, so cut back the brown top growth and it will sprout again. The chile pequin in our demonstration garden at the Extension office is about four feet tall and two feet wide and is covered in tiny, flaming-hot peppers all summer long. Ours is growing in full sun, where it produces lots of fruit. It also does well in part-shady situations. It's very drought tough, though in dry hot summers, it welcomes supplemental water. As with most fruiting plants, a little fertilizer will help with production, but this plant doesn't need much to be prolific. Whichever version you're growing, here's a delicious salsa recipe from JJ Weber, KLRU's Production & Operations Director, and supreme appetizer meister! JJ Weber's Simple Sonoran salsa recipe with chile tepins