Next Generation 2.0

The American garden scene is blooming.

By Ken Druse


Jared Barnes

Jared BarnesJared Barnes rushed into a classroom where the North Carolina State University Horticulture Club was meeting. He was wearing a big round suit with mask and green cape. “I am Superseed,” he proclaimed, before explaining why seeds are super to a crowd of howling, learning attendees. “I have radicle powers,” he claimed. The radicle is the first root a germinating seed produces.

“My first superpower is my impenetrable seed coat.”

He went on to reveal more forces for good in the abilities of a seed, leading to the cotyledons, the first leaves to emerge: “They harness the power of the sun!”

It is this kind of demonstration that will make this new Ph.D., at 28, a super teacher who will bring excitement to horticulture in new and modern ways. (His presentation “Superseed Grows to NC State” can be viewed on YouTube.)

Jared BarnesJared shares knowledge whenever possible as a familiar presence at symposia and a popular speaker. He appears on all manner of digital media, including his website, Harvest & Snow (where he claims to satisfy his “two greatest passions in life...plants and people”); and his blog called Meristem. His fans follow his posts on the Emergent Facebook page inspired by last year’s Organic Gardening article on next-generation horticulturists.

Jared is also known for his curiosity. He’s learned from gardens he has visited in England, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, and of course all over the United States. He says the way to cultivate future gardeners and reach out to new students is to expose them to the wonders of horticulture and botany. “Plants and gardens offer people something tangible, something that is real, something they can touch, something they can smell, something they can taste—something they can even eat!”

Photos: DL Anderson