Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Hot Peppers Are Enjoying The Day!

It is a beautiful day today albeit a bit on the hot side. We've been pampered with very few days in the 90s although today indicates 88 degrees and certainly feels in the 90s. Our hot peppers have needed days like this in July/August and hopefully will continue to develop and mature with this late season heat. Next Saturday (Sept. 6) is the Garden Festival that will feature this collection as well as many other vegetables, food and activities.
To the left is a neat hanging basket that we have in a shady location under our back porch. The intent here is to offer some "illumination" to a dark spot with bright gold coloration. The fern is a golden Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Rita's Gold') and the trailer is golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Goldilocks'). These baskets literally glow, particularly when they get hit with the last rays of the late afternoon sun. The creeping Jenny is a hardy perennial and can be planted as a groundcover. However, it is very vigorous and seems prone to earwhig and/or slug damage if used in that fashion. Our specimens at ground level have extreme damage but those in containers and hanging baskets are doing fine. We have a late summer "round" of hanging baskets that will soon replace the tired summer baskets with the intent of extending color. To the right is a shot taken in our shade garden. Note the colorful wax begonias in the back and the bold, tropical leaves of the caladium in the foreground. For a "grassy look", we've used the annual sedge (Carex comans 'Amazon Mist') for a nice, fine textured clump of color. Look to both perennial and annual sedges for a grassy look in your shadier areas. However, always (emphasis on ALWAYS) determine whether your perennial sedges are clumpers or non-clumpers. Many sedges are considered aggressive runners and will quickly overtake a garden and may take years to eradicate. I'm speaking from experience here. If you can contain a running sedge, that's great but realize that plant descriptions for some of these aggressive sedges use word and terms like "vigorous", "fills space quickly", "hearty growing", etc. In fact, these deceptive descriptions should read, "if planted, this sedge will make you regret your decision for the next 10 years as you attempt to eradicate your mistake while slowly going insane...."
Nice black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm') below in our sunken garden. This was the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999 (selected by the Perennial Plant Association) and has a long bloom window. Be wary in damper soils as it does spread and essentially double in size every year. It's easily divided though and indispensable in the mid-summer garden.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Didn't Realize It Was A Workday!?

Nice caladium above in our shade garden. I'm not sure of the variety; maybe 'Scarlet Pimpernel'. I was off today but stopped by work briefly with my younger daughter. I was surprised to see over a dozen cars at the hort center with all sorts of volunteers in action. It was sunny and very hot today. We've been relying on volunteers to help water our burgeoning plant sale. The mums dry out quickly and need to be watered twice daily. Larry had everything well in hand and I'm sure there was lots of progress around the gardens. I counted 12 volunteers today, not including Jim and the RECAP guys he brought down. Next week will be crunch time with the combination of short week and looming plant sale. Good year thus far though.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Super Productive Friday

We accomplished much today. Neat celosia above (Celosia hybrida 'Bombay Purple') in our Fleuroselect bed. Greg and Rick continued to clear downed trees along our previously flooded shoreline. Justin was off replacing gravel paths that needed freshening. Marv was the irrigation/sprinkler king and kept the gardens nice and damp. It truly is an art form keeping our beds watered while avoiding visitors. Marianne planted another 130+ irises today, watered them in and cataloged them. She also was a whirlwind at myriad other tasks. Janice and I mowed and Janice prepped the sunken garden for weekend weddings and watered a good portion of the yard. Dr. Gredler was also busy mowing and keeping our lawns looking nice. He has also been hauling all of our significant debris to the dump on a regular basis. Kay was in her normal mode of "perpetual motion" and continues to be one of our most dedicated, motivated and energetic volunteer gardeners. She mentored our new volunteer Sara and I am continually amazed by how much she accomplishes and all with a smile (even after I sent her in to the thorny rose beds today....). Shade garden below as pictured today.The celosia above (top picture) is in what I called our Fleuroselect bed. Fleuroselect (founded in 1970 and based in the Netherlands) is (from their website) "the international organization for the ornamental plants industry" that tests and promotes new bedding plants. They are similar in their mission to All-America Selections (founded in 1933 and based out of Downers Grove, IL). Each year we display many of their past and current award winners. What is really neat is that Rotary Gardens is one of only six gardens in North America that are approved to have a Fleuroselect Display. Aside from the lone Canadian garden, other American gardens with Fleuroselect displays include Michigan State, Penn State, University of Illinois, University of Tennessee and Walt Disney World. I think we're in good company and duly proud of our displays. We actually grew 200 Fleuroselect winners in a huge layout in 2005 and they were very pleased with the pictures we sent them.

Very interesting tropical seen below. This is a copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana) called 'Sizzle Scissors'. Note the interesting leaf shape with hints of pink along the maroon margin. I think half the fun in having this in the garden is to be able to tell people that you are growing 'Sizzle Scissors!' What?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where's The Rain?

We had some nice mist this morning and the sky looked like it was ready to unleash torrential rains. Despite the fact that we still had a lot of gardening to do, I really hoped for some decent rain. Well, it held off and actually got sunny later in the day. We were wise enough to continue running irrigation zones despite the promise of rain. I like this sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Sweet Caroline Bronze') seen above in combination with a dwarf blue spruce. The sweet potato vines tend to get a little vigorous this time of year but can be downsized easily with some judicious trimming. Still lots of visitors coming thru the gardens and we're hoping for a busy September in terms of visitation and support.

We've received many comments of support regarding possible admissions. We've also received plenty of criticism and negative comments. We hope to iron out details regarding the future of the gardens and are trying to deal with questions and comments as they arise. Below is a nice assortment of some of our hot peppers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

October Mornings, July Afternoons...

The mornings have been unseasonably cool (sweatshirt weather) but the afternoons still warm up nicely. Today was really nice weather and we accomplished much. We had more mums come in for the plant sale and Larry and Bill went to pick up dwarf New England asters as well. Jerry kept the irrigation zones going and is doing a nice job pruning in the Japanese garden. The flood workers were productive and were removing downed trees today which was brutal work. Many of these had fallen in to our pond and they were damp and hard to maneuver. Kudos to the fellas who are getting a good work out every day. Marv and Marianne were a blessing today and sunk their teeth in to adjusting and labeling our iris collection to date. I believe we have about half (250) of the total varieties (500) that we'll be displaying and had to make some minor shifting today for spacing issues and are really trying to keep up with the labeling. See below.We've been meeting regularly at the gardens to decide what we'll do next year to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. We will have some beautiful new garden signs (very professional) installed in 20 of the gardens. In addition, donors have given a generous sum for a nice spring tulip display. Target Mother's Day to see most of these in bloom next May. While we don't have any money budgeted for this celebration, we do hope to enhance our current events and really invite the public to come celebrate our 20 years of providing "horticultural education and appreciation" for everyone. The flowers below are Chinese asters (Callistephus chinensis) that are in full bloom right now. This annual doesn't look like much until August but has a long-lived bloom that is excellent for cutting. We plant lots of this annual and have learned to be patient and enjoy the late summer rewards. At the far bottom is a nice image of the front of the Parker Education Center.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to Business

A nice coral bells (Heuchera 'Cathedral Windows') peeking out (or absorbed!) by the golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') can be seen above. Nice color combination for sure. With all the preparations for the plant sale, flood remediation activities and other tasks, it's important not to forget all the gardening that still needs to occur. We had Kay and Laura weeding today. Janice, Larry and Jerry kept busy and we were pleasantly surprised with Marv and Marianne coming in as volunteers to do some plant preparation and work with the new iris collection. Dr. Gredler and Bill were also very active outside. We had a delivery of bagged mushroom compost early this morning and our first load of mums has rolled in. It's that time of year!

One of my favorite perennials can be seen to the right. This is turtlehead (Chelone obliqua) which is a hardy, mid-summer blooming perennial (native to the Eastern U.S.) that tolerates full or part sun and is very tolerant of damp soils (in fact, they are preferred). This picture is catching the tail end of the blooms which actually started in late July. There are a couple different species and varieties, all of which have the interesting flower forms. The glossy foliage is rarely affected by insects or disease and will spread to form a good clump in time at a height of 30" or so. This colorful perennial fills that slight "color void" in mid-summer as early summer perennials finish and late summer perennials are just starting to bloom. Look for it! One of our neat ornamental peppers (Capsicum) is below. This, 'Sweet Pickle' has very little heat and is very ornamental with colorful fruit in all different shades. This might be one of the few varieties in our collection (of 232) that I could actually eat!

Monday, August 25, 2008

At Least A Step

Tonight the City Council unanimously voted in support of our request to have the ability to implement an entrance fee at the gardens. The meeting was full of many staff and volunteers of Rotary Gardens and the support was evident. I was surprised that no one spoke against this decision. We understand that there are still some "bugs" to work out with this change but we hope the community understands that we still have their best interests in mind. Our mission "to promote horticultural education and appreciation to all people" is what we continue to pursue in service to this community and beyond Janesville. Enjoy some pictures I took of the gardens today. Note the shot that finally answers the question of "How many Grumpies does it take to fix a utility cart? (7 apparently....).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Plant Sale Looms!

Early fall color on this Japanese maple? I sure wish that was the case. This is one of many trees that have died as a result of the flooding. The high water has receded below our lowest paths, making them passable for the first time since June. Unfortunately, there will be more losses of trees next spring as many times, the damage isn't seen until the following season. Our flood workers (Greg, Rick and Justin) will continue to replace paths this week and we'll start cutting down dead trees as well. The image to the left shows some of our last "damp" paths as the water recedes further. Our shorelines are in need of serious attention. There are some large ones on our north path to take care of as well. We're finding that many of the flood remediation costs will have to be covered internally. Ugh.

Our fall plant sale is coming up in less than two weeks. The mum deliveries this week will keep us hopping, that's for sure. We'll have to make some trips to pick up various plants and other supplies this week. Marianne has always been instrumental in getting this sale organized and running smoothly. She has a superior talent for organization and definitely has an eye for retail set-up and presentation. We hope to have lots of people patronize our sale in the hopes of a successful (and profitable) event.

Our hot pepper (Capsicum sp.) collection is looking really nice. This collection will be featured as part of the Garden Festival on September 6th. I've been taking pictures of some of the really neat ornamental peppers, like 'Marbles' below. We have had a young Hispanic volunteer recently that was working in the collections and was doing a little tasting. He ran in to a couple that made him breathe fire but he said they "were all good!". Next year we'll go back to heirloom tomatoes in this space.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Precipitation Teaser

The dark, looming clouds this morning looked promising for much needed rain. Aside from a little mist, we didn't get much at all. It was a nice although a bit muggy. It was nice having Larry back from his much-needed vacation as he ran irrigation zones and checked the gardens prior to weddings as per our normal Saturday routine. I've been following some more of the blogs from the community regarding our request to charge admissions at the gardens. I am staggered by the number of inferences that we're doing this to make a profit. I sympathize with comments that a fee-based entry system might affect the ability of potential visitors to enjoy the gardens. That is something we would hope to address. However the comments that this decision is simply to "turn a buck" are ludicrous. First of all, we are a non-profit that is struggling day by day. Second of all, we've seen the gardens continually supported by the few and enjoyed by many. We welcome all visitors, however, there needs to be the understanding that a botanic garden of this caliber has expenses. There are utility bills, payroll, new plants, equipment repairs, rising fuel costs, flood damage expenses, etc. This is not the first time admissions has been considered. Every year we've pinched pennies and begged for support. We've managed to keep the gardens "admission by donation" which has encouraged some visitors to thankfully support us with a donation of their choice, however, it has also given the green light to many to utilize the gardens for free which has unfortunately perpetuated the notion that Rotary Gardens is a place that will always exist regardless of their individual lack of financial support. We appreciate all our volunteers and donors, in particular, the people and businesses that have helped us out regularly. We understand that not everyone can contribute financially to the gardens and many have no interest. But we hope everyone will come to the understanding that the future of this community garden rests in the hands of the community (regardless of admissions). Some comments have indicated that Rotary Gardens is just a mediocre garden around a muddy pond. Others have said that the gardens should be removed for various reasons. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but for those community members that harbor various resentments towards the gardens (whether its the admission thing or other reasons), understand that every child that has walked thru these gardens has benefited by their existence and Rotary Gardens has consistently improved each year to become a botanic garden of significant caliber and is recognized nationally for its plant collections and continued commitment to excellence. We are committed to our mission and if we've even averaged 10,000 volunteer hours here every year since our existence (conservative estimate in my mind), this garden is headed towards 200,000 hours of volunteer input and nurturing. This doesn't even take in to account the monetary support that has continued to make this institution available to everyone. Unfortunately many misconceptions continue to exist regarding our funding and financial status. The City Council meeting on Monday will be interesting and a recent public poll by the Janesville Gazette has indicated essentially a 50/50 split on whether we should be allowed to charge admissions. As we prepare our 2009 budget in the coming months, some very important decisions will have to be made and for the first time in 19 years, we may have to sacrifice the quality of the gardens. There is no more "fat to trim off" folks. However, thank you to everyone that supports the gardens and our mission (regardless of your personal feelings on admissions).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Perennial Plant Conference

I went to work briefly to get our "flood crew" going and touch base with Marv, Marianne and Terry. Janice was to come in later. I attended an all day conference in Madison, WI hosted by the Perennial Plant Association. It was a great conference and I did some nice networking. The flood crew is doing a great job and has accomplished a lot in just 4 short days. It looked like potential rain when I left Janesville so I came up with some indoor projects. It didn't rain although we sure could have used it! It was overcast most of the day and I hope we get some rain on Saturday. Nice annual hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella 'Maple Sugar') below with gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer'). You can't beat the maroon and yellow combination.
Janice and Marv were to give the tour today with the Ball Seed visitors. I'm sure it went well and in that regard, I'm glad it wasn't pouring rain. I talked with Jim from Ball Seed at the conference and had a great time networking with lots of old friends. I hung out with Ed Lyon, our past Executive Director too! Glad to have the weekend off to finally do my spring weeding. Yes, spring weeding (4 months late!).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The "Word" Is Out

WCLO (radio station) and the Janesville Gazette released information today regarding our (Rotary Gardens) desire to charge admissions next year. The reason for this request is because we are in serious financial difficulty. This will require City Council approval and has already elicited a fiery debate in the community regarding this possibility. It's important to note that in our 19 year history, we did accept some funding from the City of Janesville for three years (which essentially supplied less than 5% of our operational budget each year). The other sixteen years had no taxpayer support and we've struggled to raise operational income (particularly in the past five years) to simply maintain the status quo. It has been tough for all non-profits, no doubt, however, based on some of the comments I've read or heard today, we have a serious identity crisis. There seems to be an assumption by many that we should be free even though the vast majority of visitors are not part of our membership program and don't put any money in our donation tubes. We rely on donations and support from the community and visitors from abroad. This support may be in the form of volunteerism, donated materials/services and/or of course monetary donations. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the public will be able to comment on this proposal at the next City Council meeting. I wont address all the recent, negative comments regarding this proposal from the Rotary Gardens' Board of Directors but do want to make any readers of this blog aware of some of the neat things about their garden that they may not know. Please see below.

  1. The American Horticultural Society listed Rotary Gardens as one of the best (and least known) botanic gardens in the Midwest
  2. Rotary Gardens has provided environmental education for tens of thousands of school children of all ages and provides adult education and courses as well
  3. Disabled and special needs groups consistently utilize the gardens and consider it a great resource
  4. Rotary Gardens has been featured in nine episodes of The Wisconsin Gardener, was featured on the HGTV show Great American Gardens and was also featured on the PBS show GardenSMART to a national audience in 2007.
  5. The Japanese garden at Rotary Gardens has consistently been ranked one of the top 25 in North America.
  6. Rotary Gardens won a national award from All-America Selections (AAS) for our collection of historical AAS winners. Subsequent AAS displays at Rotary Gardens have been featured in national gardening magazines
  7. Rotary Gardens in one of only six institutions in the United States that is privileged to feature Fleuroselect award winning plants from Europe
  8. Rotary Gardens is a national display garden for the American Hosta Society and the American Hemerocallis (daylily) Society. Rotary Gardens will be featured in 2010 as part of the American Iris Society national convention for displaying 500 new varieties.
  9. The fern collection at Rotary Gardens is recognized as one of the best in the country and Rotary Gardens is one of very few gardens in the Midwest working with the Hardy Fern Foundation
  10. Rotary Gardens is trialing plants for Bailey Nursery, Ball Seed Company and PanAmerican Seed Company
  11. Rotary Gardens solicits considerable donations of both plants and other gardening materials, however, our budget is dependent on goodwill donations, user fees, special events, grants and other revenue sources
  12. The beauty of Rotary Gardens is a direct result of a team effort involving a small, paid staff and a very large, dedicated corp of volunteers
Having listed just some of the interesting things about Rotary Gardens, in my tenure here (I'm the veteran paid staff), I've seen an alarming assumption or misunderstanding by many visitors that we are funded by the City of Janesville or Rotary International or possibly the Rotary clubs in town. We have been "admission by donation" for 19 years and have cut expenses, minimized the grounds budget, streamlined events, maximized fundraising, begged and borrowed and in other words, done everything we can to make ends meet and keep the gardens "free". We realize that people visit Rotary Gardens for various reasons. Perhaps they just want to wander and relax, maybe they're interested in seeing plants or getting landscape ideas, maybe they're a child, learning about vegetables and insects, perhaps a photographer, wedding guest, new visitor in town, etc... These are all valid reasons for visiting but true supporters of the existence of Rotary Gardens should get all the facts regarding our sources of revenue, our expenses and our goals. Over my ten years here, I have heard the comment that we are one of the best botanical gardens in the country at least 50 times by visitors that have travelled extensively and do visit other gardens. We are more than a glorified park as many assume, "gem of the Janesville Park system" (not a City park), showy wedding site, photography backdrop, etc. We are a mission-based non-profit that is desperately concerned about our financial future and continued existence. We hope to maintain the same level of service and commitment to this wonderful community and are exploring one of our last options to do so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Significant Visitor Traffic Today

The past couple of weeks have seen significant visitation at the gardens. As our seasonal displays peak and the weather stays nice, we traditionally see more visitors. However, I can't say that I've seen more people coming thru on a day to day basis. We accomplished a lot today and the three "flood workers" replaced gravel paths that were affected by the flooding. Marv, Marianne, Terry and Jerry kept busy out in the gardens and we'll have to shift to more watering soon if we don't get some rain. The plant above is an interesting Chinese aster (Callistephus chinensis) called 'Hulk'. The actual flower is the white with yellow center with the green "petals" being bracts (modified leaves). This annual gets 24" tall with 4" wide blooms and is a wonderful, long-lasting cut flower. Who says beauty can't be subtle like this!?

Next week will see 2,000 mums, 1500 asters and 20,000 bulbs rolling in for our fall plant sale. The following week will include deliveries of perennials, roses and shrubs. It's hard to believe that this will be our 10th Fall Plant Sale. With our current financial situation (yes, please send a donation, patronize the plant sale, purchase a membership or all of the above!), we really need a successful event. The plant to the right is an interesting annual called 'Fat Spike' amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus) that certainly has an interesting flower form. Reaching 36" in height, this plant should be mass planted and is easy to grow from seed. The orange and blue theme was a rousing success and I already have the color scheme figured out for next year...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some New Faces Today

Above are the beautiful resurrection lilies (Lycoris squamigera). These are also called magic lilies, August lilies and sometimes the "un-pc" term of naked ladies. These hardy (to zone 5) bulbs are in the amaryllis family and appear like clock work this time of year. The foliage emerges in spring and looks a lot like daffodil (Narcissus) foliage. Once the foliage goes dormant in late spring, nothing happens until the stalks zoom out of the ground in August and flowers emerge 24-30" above ground. These wonderful blooms are slightly fragrant and last about two weeks. We have a couple thousand of them peaking right now (see the grouping below too).
We had three new faces today; Greg, Rick and Justin. These guys are helping work on flood clean-up for us and while we supervise their activities, they are being paid thru a federal grant. This is a great situation for both of us and I'm very impressed with their first day of work. These guys are getting some major exercise (gravel hauling today) and seem to thrive on it. Some of their handiwork can be seen below. They had to excavate out 4" of crud before replacing it with fresh, clean gravel.Otherwise it was a smaller crew today with Janice and Jerry on grounds, Dr. Gredler, Bill and the Hunts here for awhile and our great weeding crew of Geesje, Kay and Heidi. Lots accomplished and the gardens look great. We have some visitors coming from Ball Seed Company to tour the gardens on Friday. Marv and Marianne will give them the tour as I'm at a conference in Madison, WI. This is a very important visit and our guests will be viewing the trial plants that they sent for us to evaluate. They're looking pretty good though so nothing to worry about. Sweet shot of our "blue wall" below...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Juggling

What is this plant to the left with beautiful white, dense apical umbels you might ask? Native Americans called it rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) because the root was used to treat rattlesnake bites. This native perennial can take poor soils and lots of sun. It has yucca-like foliage and tops out around 48" or so. I love the rigidity of this plant and the interesting flower spheres (or apical umbel if you prefer). We have a couple of nice specimens out in the gardens and I would speculate that these would not thrive in overly rich, amended soils. It's a great perennial and very long-lived when placed in a happy spot.

Today was a bit crazy with lots of Grumpy projects going on and various other tasks. The storage shed continues to evolve. We're also getting set for the fall plant sale. Marv and Terry planted 65+? roses while Marianne went on her "tidying tear" throughout the gardens. I never have to double check any of the grounds people as they are so thorough. Little Jerry repaired path washouts and did his early week mowing. It's nice to look around our break room table at the Horticulture Center at 10 am and see four great groundspeople (minus Janice and Larry today) and 14 volunteers. Mondays are very productive but it's a scramble and shuffle to allocate carts, materials and to prioritize jobs. We have a pretty comfortable system that works well and I think the analogy to a "well oiled machine" fits. Just as the blooms peak around the wishing well, we'll be yanking them out soon to put in the new irises...

Below is an image of our koi swirling with anticipation as they are about to be fed. We had a concerned visitor mention that our koi looked severely underfed this year. This gentleman definitely knew his fish and we took his recommendation very seriously. We've increased our feeding schedule and purchased better food and the fish seem to be thriving. I'll be the first to admit that our forte' is flowers, not fish. Hopefully we're doing better. Unfortunately, the koi also swirl and nibble at all the garbage (cheetoes, bread, etc.) tossed at them despite signs to the contrary and they have been caught and removed at night by evil fisherjerks. We now have large, colorful koi in our 6 acre pond around the gardens....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August Heat

It was pretty close to 90 degrees today although we had an unexpected minor shower in the afternoon that cooled things down a bit. The plant above is a neat coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) called 'Lancelot'. It is a very unique amber/maroon as you can see above. We've had lots of comments about this great foliage annual. Another one of our ornamental hot peppers is below. This is 'Blanca-Rose' and has a very interesting early color of creamy sherbert. It will be interesting to see the peppers change color. I'll keep an eye on this one. Lots coming up this week!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mini-Drought Ahead?

With Larry gone on vacation, Janice and I watered this morning between 7 am and 9 am. She prepped wedding sites and watered containers (no small job) while I ran some irrigation zones and watered the yard. We are sure in need of a good soaking rain. I hope this isn't the start of a late summer drought. I'm glad I was there as we had a gravel delivery and we had another iris that had come in the mail that needed immediate attention. Above is a neat annual, gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta 'Autumn Colors') that has a great combination of rustic colors on large daisies. Unless its a volunteer workday or other special event, I tend to avoid Saturdays. They can get very congested and busy. Larry (and frequently Janice) do a great job dealing with their duties and the "Saturday stress." I did enjoy the garden this morning and wished I had my camera with me. Unfortunately, scenes like that below of a dead tree (dissected Japanese maple, very expensive $$$) are becoming more prevalent as the water continues to drop. Our lowest paths are almost open although are in need of a "freshening up." Federal grants have allowed for three workers to come next week and help with flood remediation efforts. We'll have these fellas for a couple of weeks or so to do odds and ends. Our "to do" list is significant.
Below is our alpine garden. The section shown is of our new dwarf and miniature conifer collection. We're demonstrating some nice little gems that could fit in smaller, urban environments (granted, some are very slow growing). We were awarded with a grant from the American Conifer Society this winter and spent grant monies towards new plants and extensive new labeling for these hardy woody plants. I'm not sure many visitors are aware of this collection.