The Tragedy of (the other) Prometheus

In August of 1964, a graduate student hiked off the trails on Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada to conduct research and killed one of the old organisms ever discovered.

Let’s back up.

Donald Currey was a graduate student of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill,studying the climatology of the Little Ice Age. He wanted to study rings of very old trees using dendrochronology. Dendrochronology can help scientists determine the calendar year a tree formed, determine important information about the ecologies it’s lived through, and most importantly to Currey, the climates.

Around this time, the leading minds of Forestry were excitedly dating very old trees in the United States, spurred on by the discovery of bristlecone pines in the White Mountains in California that were over 4000 years old. Currey had heard that there were bristlecones in White Pine county and on Wheeler Peak specifically and wanted to see if he could further his research by taking some samples.

He hiked out to the grove, and found a large specimen to take sample of. Currey attempted several samples with his long borer tool. After a few attempts, his tool broke leaving him without a means to achieve his intended sample. Here is where the details start to get blurry. Some accounts say that Currey was working with some Forest Service personnel and some say he was working alone. In any case, the decision was made to simply cut down the tree to get a full cross-section of the tree. The tree, which Currey had identified as WPN-114, was later dated at over 4800 years old. That makes WPN-114 the oldest living organism ever discovered — that is, until Donald Currey found it. The dead tree was nicknamed Prometheus and the  incident ruined his career as a Geomorphologist.

However, let’s not jump to villainize Currey. Imagine being a young graduate student, your advisor is telling you to get a sample and sends you off with little guidance. You find a tree that looks like all the other trees in a grove and fail to get the sample you’ve been tasked to collect. The Forest Service guy you’re working with suggests that you just cut it down — after all, there are lots of similar trees in the same grove. The next thing you know, you’ve destroyed a global wonder. You’re demonized by the community you are trying to be a part of and your reputation is destroyed.

Currey changed academic fields and ended up a successful Geographer, earning Professor Emeritus status at the University of Utah. He passed away in 2004.

In 2012, researchers identified a tree in California aged over 5000 years. So let’s give Don a break.

Planting Bulbs In Containers

growing plant southeastern growers

Container gardening can start with transferring your favorite plants into your choice of pot or container and maintaining it as necessary. OR, you can grow a plant by cultivating a bulb, growing your own flower, herb, fern, etc. from bulb to bloom – start to finish!

When considering planting bulbs, there are a few things to keep in mind: when, where, and how to plant the bulbs…


Since you are planting indoors and in a container, you have ultimate flexibility when it comes to when you can plant and grow. Usually, when planting bulbs outdoors, you should be considering when those plants will be blooming. You do not have this concern with indoor growing, however, some bulbs do require chilling before planting in order to properly sprout and grow. Make sure you find out the necessary course of action with whatever bulb you plan on growing indoors.


While planting bulbs in containers adds convenience to your gardening, there are still some stipulations you must adhere to. Some bulbs thrive in warm, sunny areas with great drainage; other bulbs may require cooler, more moist soil. So, while you can basically plant any time of the year with indoor container gardening, it is recommended to provide your plants with their ideal growing environment.


The majority of bulbs grow perfectly in containers, but there are some things you should keep in mind when cultivating your indoor garden.

  • Plant the bulbs deep enough (three times the bulb’s size) and one bulb (width) apart
  • Once your plant has grown, water it regularly (or as directed). Once the plant begins to wilt and enter dormant season, you can decrease watering (not entirely), but not enough to let it dry out completely.
  • Feed your bulbs with a liquid tomato feed (high-potassium) to ensure good blooms year after year, season after season.

The Pros Of Container Gardening

container garden southeastern growers

Not sure that container gardening is the thing for you? Well, here are a few reasons why you should be planting your garden in containers!

  • Versatility: planting in containers or pots can allow you to plant on a patio, in a courtyard, inside, on a windowsill, on a balcony, even on the deck of a boat!
  • Weed-Free: while it’s still possible to get weeds in your potted plants, it’s very unlikely due to the low surface area.
  • No Heavy-Duty: due to the small amount of space, you do not need any large or complicated tools to tend your plants.
  • Mobile: since your plants are in a pot or container, you can easily move them around without having to uproot them!
  • Control: plants that grow quickly, like mint and bamboo, may not be the best to plant in the ground with other plants. In a pot, they stay by themselves and do not disturb the other foliage.
  • Healthy Plants: plants grown and maintained in post or containers are less likely to have diseases.
  • Easy Fertilizing: plants in containers are easily fertilized and maintained because the nutrients you put into their pots aren’t absorbed by the surrounding plants.
  • Theft Be Gone: planting in pots reduces the risk of animals nibbling at your garden.
  • Kitchen Convenience: growing herbs and veggies in a pot can aid in the convenience and safety of your edible plants.
  • Shielded Leisure: use potted plants on a windowsill or around a door to add a layer of privacy from the outdoors.
  • Indoor Oxygen-Boost: by keeping plants potted indoors, the indoor air quality is improved.
  • Ornamental: plants offer a nice alternative for decor around your home, both inside and out.
  • Longer Harvests: the warmer soil that is in pots (as opposed to the ground) may lead to earlier harvest time for some crops.