Many of the daffodils (Narcissus) have begun blooming and will continue to peak over the next two weeks or so. We have thousands of daffodils in our woodland areas and they sure offer some nice color before other perennials steal the show. Tuesdays are productive around here but we typically have a smaller crew overall. Janice is out tidying up the Japanese garden with Kristine while Jenny is working on new labels for the Scottish garden. Larry spent the morning moving things out of our maintenance building so we can put some tender plants in there. We are receiving a delivery from Bluebird Nursery (Nebraska) today but many of the plants are tropical and will have to be kept away from cool temperatures and frost. Bob is working on re-mulching the arboretum while Bill is out tidying up various gardens. Dr. Gredler is out working on turf issues and we had a garden development committee meeting this morning as well.
Tomorrow is the beginning of admissions-based entry at Rotary Gardens. Visitors can become Friends Members and receive free admission as well as many other benefits. Volunteers can also earn free admission with a certain amount of volunteer hours worked at the gardens. There will be various free days and other opportunities for reduced or free admission. Despite some of the criticism regarding admissions here at the gardens, the financial reality is sobering and we all feel there is "value" in visiting the gardens. Most botanic gardens of our size/stature that don't receive tax-dollar support already charge admissions. This will be the year to streamline the process and "iron out the bugs" regarding this new entry policy. Our east gate now has the sign to the right which will direct visitors to the primary entry point. Visitors would historically have access from this end but not any more (with few exceptions). We hope the adjustment period for staff, volunteers and the visiting public will be minimal.
I was reading an interesting article on the increased popularity of home vegetable gardening this year and it's estimated that 7 million more Americans plan on growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in 2009. This figure is up 19% from last year. Sales in vegetable seeds are up over 40% this year and some of the reasons for growing food went beyond the recession. They included "wanted better tasting food", "to save money on food bills", "for better quality food" and "to grow food they know is safe". This is a good bandwagon to jump on! See some of our produce from a couple years ago below.