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Flowers are University of Georgia horticulturist Paul Thomas’sspecialty. And, for holiday plant suggestions, they’re his toppick. But when asked, “What was the best plant you’ve ever gottenfor Christmas?” his answer is: “A ming aralia that I got from mymother-in-law. It’s strictly a foliage plant, and it looks like abonsai. It’s really awesome.”Ming aralias, specifically polyscias fruticosa ‘elegans’, havecarrot-like foliage and woody stems as they get older. A mingaralia was “the plant for kings and queens to have,” he said. “Itgrows slowly and beautifully.”While they are beautiful and do make good gifts, they’re also achallenge, he said. The biggest danger is overwatering andover-fertilizing. They only need a tiny bit of diluted fertilizerevery few months.When it comes to buying gift plants, the best place to purchasethem is at a local florist’s shop. “They have the best quality,and they’re grown by specialists for the highest quality,” he said.Thomas likes to give flowering plants as gifts. A deep basketfilled with a few pots of colored calla lilies or a basket with acluster of cyclamen topped with white or silver grass “makes astunning gift,” he said.For gift giving, Thomas suggests:• Calceolaria. The flowers look like a pocketbook, which gives itits common name of ‘pocketbook plant.’ “It’s just cool andunusual,” he said. Flower colors range from yellow to bright redwith polka dots. The flowers are delicate, so handle it carefully.The plants must be kept moist but not flooded with water. Theylike sunny windowsills that are cool but not freezing. There,they’ll last about a month. They can’t be saved and plantedoutside in Georgia, because they will die of plant diseases.• Cinerarias. These plants look like daisies, but their colorsare more intense, or, as Thomas puts it, they have “five timesthe impact” of daisy flowers. The blossom colors range frompurple to yellow.Like calceolaria, they need sunlight and water. “Don’t let eitherof these plants dry out ever,” he said. “I put them on my coffeetable during the day and on the windowsill at night.” They willlive about six weeks.• Cyclamen. These plants bloom white, pink or bright red. Theycan be found in grocery stores, aren’t expensive and are a greatsubstitute for poinsettias if someone is allergic to latex, whichis found in poinsettia plants. Kept cool and moist, cyclamenblooms will last three to four months. “Buy five or six plantsand put them in a big basket with white or silver grass, like thekind they sell at Easter,” Thomas said. “It makes a really niceChristmas gift.”They’re also a good gift plant if the holiday you celebrate isn’tChristmas. Because they are native in Israel, they are a goodchoice as a Hanukkah plant, he said.• Miniature roses. These tiny blooming beauties can do doubleduty as both a holiday plant and a garden attraction come spring.They prefer cool spots inside until all chance of frost haspassed. Then plant them near the foundation or in anotherprotected area of the yard.• Calla lilies. “Normally, people would buy bouquets of callalilies, but sometimes florists will sell calla lily bulbs inpots,” Thomas said. When growing calla lilies, their bulbs shouldbe kept moist and their flowers dry. The stems also need to bestaked so they won’t fall over and break.“Three to four pots in a deep basket are a really nice gift,” hesaid. “They’ll last a long time.”Before visiting a local florist, give them a call, Thomas said,especially if you have one type of plant you might want to giveto several different people. “Get your orders in now to get thebest quality for the Christmas season,” he said. read more
The Batesville Bulldogs Boys and Girls Soccer teams were victorious in their doubleheader battle against The Union County Patriots that was heard on The Sports Voice of Southeastern Indiana, 103.9 WRBI!The boys won 13-1 while the girls were 5-0 shutout winners.The Batesville Boys Soccer team had their first home match of the season against Union County Tuesday evening winning 13-1.The Bulldogs started off aggressive with the first goal just seconds into the match when Ian Powers sent a diagonal through ball into JJ Kuisel for a one time finish. In the next minute Ian Powers dribbled the defense down the left flank and shot one right into the side netting. 33:30 The third goal was assisted by JJ Kuisel and finished inside the box by Eli Pierson. 22:17 JJ Kuisel sent a through ball to freshman Ian Carpenter, who placed it into the back of the net. 18:07 Ian Carpenter played to Eli Pierson for a close finish placed around the keeper. 8:49 Sebbie Trainor took a shot which was deflected off the keepers gloves and followed up with one touch by sophomore Thomas Hartman. Thomas Harttman scored his second goal of the match which was assisted by Eli Pierson soon after cutting away from his defender and shooting to goal. First half ended with Batesville scoring 7 goals.The second half went on with the Bulldogs focused on possessing the ball. 31:09 Kuisel passed to Kent Meyers for a nice lofted shot over the keeper. 26:49 sophomore Willy Sherwood sent a long diagonal ball from the defense for Eli Pierson to run onto scoring a hat trick. 21:33 Kent Meyers laid the ball off to Ian Powers who ripped it low into the goal. 18:44 Kuisel had a breakaway finish assisted by Ian Powers. 13:49 Kent Meyers crossed the ball into freshman Owen Powers who tapped the ball into the net. 8:07 Freshman Ian Carpenter played a ball through the defensive line to Owen Powers who scored his second goal around the keeper. 6:59 on the clock the Bulldogs gave away a free kick outside the box when Union County played a lofted shot into the goal ending the shutout. The final score was 13-1 for the Batesville win.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Kyle Hunteman.The Jac-Cen-Del Boys Varsity Soccer beat Milan 4-1.For JCD, 3 goals 1 assist by Jacob Jines. Jordan Meyer 1 assist, Ryan Wilson 1 goal.Courtesy of Eagles Coach Derek Jones.The Batesville Lady Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season in dual matches at the hand of the 8th ranked Columbus North Bulldogs at The difficult Harrison Lakes CC by a score of 153 to 197.Nathaly Munica was the match medalist with a 3 under par 33. Batesville scores were Emma Weiler 40 Josie Meyer 49 Tori Harpring 55 Rhea Miller 60. Madelyn Pohlman 53 Chloe Murphy 60.The Bulldogs next match is the Connersville invitational on Saturday.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Tom Meyer.Greensburg Lady Pirates Soccer has started their season off strong. They traveled to Rising Sun to secure their second win 4-1.The defensive line led by Captains Hilary Ernstes and Katie Beam kept the pressure away from Keeper Ella Lowe, who is also a captain. Lowe had 9 saves.At the half, Greensburg led 2-1 and the lead never fell. The final score was Greensburg 4, Rising Sun 1. Captain Emily Rosales led the team in goals securing two. Emilee Ernstes and Natalie Kalinowski both contributed one goal each.The Lady Pirates travel to Oldenburg Thursday. Their record is 2-0.Courtesy of Pirates Coach Ryan Morlan.The Batesville High School girls’ varsity and junior varsity volleyball team increased their record to 2-0 Tuesday evening when they hosted the Madison Cubs,.The Junior Varsity team won in 2 sets. The scores were 25-21 and 25-21. Top server was Kaitlyn Sarringhaus. Maggie Wilson helped the team by dominating the backrow. Belle Westerfeld and Kaylie Raver were amazing up front and lead the team in kills.It was a late night for the varsity as they ended up having to play four sets. The score of the first set was 28-26 with Batesville pulling out the win. In game two, Batesville pulled through again with a score of 26-24. The third set ended with Madison on top 20-25. In the final set, Batesville came through with a score of 25-22. Kylie Laker had an amazing night! She was 20 for 20 serving with 2 aces. Kylie was not finished yet though as she led the team in assists and had 10 kills. Katherine Bedel followed with 9 kills.The undefeated Lady Bulldogs will travel to Shelbyville on Saturday for their next game.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Vickie Heil.The 7th grade Batesville Middle School Lady Bulldogs opened the season vs. Greensburg and suffered a 25-12; 25-19 loss despite demonstrating some good offensive play. Serving was inconsistent and prevented the team from gaining any significant momentum on the scoreboard. Highlights included Jade Martin scoring 4 points including 2 aces from the service line. Reesa Zimmerman and Grace Walter were aggressive at the net earning 3 and 2 kills respectively. The team will travel to play Jac-Cen-Del on Thursday.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Shelly Prickel.The BMS 8th grade Volleyball team opened their season with a win against Greensburg 25-23, 25-11. Top servers were Kate Bauer with 18 for 18 serving; earning 17 points including 7 aces. Molly Meer added 6 points with 1 ace. Sophie Gesell added 2 points. From the front line the team was strong. Aly Peters led with 4 kills, Meer added 3 kills. Lydia Haskamp and Kate Bauer contributed 2 kills each. While Ava Williamson, Ava Powner, and Eva Struewing each had a kill. The team plays Thursday at Jac-Cen-Del.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Angie Ehrman.The Franklin County Lady Wildcats Varsity Volleyball team won in 3 sets against Rushville 26-24, 25-13 and 25-23.Kim Settles had 1 kill and 6 digs. Jenna Bruns had 1 kill, 11 digs and 1 ace serve. Alex Gillman had 3 kills, 13 digs and 3 ace serves. Meredith Hoff had 4 kills, 2 digs and 1 ace serve. Saige Mergenthal had 3 kills. Rae Ertel had 2 kills and 1 dig. Makyah Richardson had 3 kills, 3 blocks and team high 4 ace serves. Kassidy Schell had 13 assists, 1 ace serve, 1 dig and 4 kills. Kacie Williams had 13 assists.Courtesy of Wildcats AD Denny Dorrel.The North Decatur Lady Chargers fought hard in sets 2 and 3 but couldn’t pull together to win the match against Union County 25-6, 25-23, 22-25, 25-8.ND Sophomore setter Sami Luttel led the team with 28 assists of 118 attempts; and hitters So. Caroline Stapp had 13 kills followed by So. Madelyn Bohman with 7 kills and Sr. Haley Gorrell with 5 kills. Stapp led digs with 23 and Seniors Anna Burkhart and Brittany Krieger, So. Luttel tied with 12 of 13 attempts.Courtesy of Chargers Coach Ashley Gauck. The JCD Eagles host the Shiners on the pitch in Middle School Soccer action. The Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead at half time but could not hold on to the lead. Shiners came back and took the lead 2-3. In the 50min mark JCD tied up to finish with a 3-3 tie. The Eagles travel to South Ripley on 8-19 for a 4:30 start.Scoring for the Eagles. Lane Carroll 2 Goals, 7 shots, Brody Huff 1 Goal, 3 shots, Kayden Vachet 1 Assist, 1 shot, Grant Rinear 1 assist, 4 shots. Carson Comer 2 shots, Bethany Ortman 1 shot. Defensive : Sam Simon 5 stops, Cole Patrick 2 stops, Berkley Williams 3 stops.PLAYER OF THE GAME BEN SCHOETTMER 15 saves!!Courtesy of Eagles Coach Larry Hammond. read more