With the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) ready for the public opening a week from today (December 16th), I've already shifted my focus almost entirely to 2012 plans and preparations. Although we're over five months from planting our annuals for next year, the progression of events leading up to planting need to follow a tight timeline. The first stage is perusing catalogs (over 80) and cross referencing availability and price. The next step is ordering. Once we receive the seeds, we organize them by collection, write color-coded tags to go with the seeds and separate them by desired grower. After the seeds are delivered to our four growers (by mid-March), we then don't worry about them until we pick up the final product (flats) in May. The images here are all moss roses (Portulaca grandiflora) which will be part of our big collection for 2012. I've already found about 50 varieties and we'll put them side by side like we did the marigolds (Tagetes) this year. The variety to the left is 'Happy Hour Orange', to the right is 'Happy Hour Coconut'. To the lower left, the yellow variety is 'Happy Hour Banana' and the white/pink variegated variety is 'Happy Hour Peppermint' (lower right). At the bottom is 'Sundial Peach', an old favorite and All-America Selections winner (1999) too. In regards to having seed varieties grown, we'll really be tweaking and augmenting the varieties that we grow both in the Smelly Garden (year 2) and the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable collection. Last year we had a record 150,000 annuals grown representing 900 varieties for display.
Today was fairly quiet. I didn't make it out in the gardens yet but will be turning on the HLS lights for a private event tonight. HLS always looks better with some snow but I'm ok with not having to deal with snow removal issues quite yet. Del popped in this morning to take more deer cutouts to the gift shop and Janice was in this afternoon to go thru seed catalogs. Janice is selecting varieties of heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers and basils while I'll be selecting eggplants and compact varieties (good for containers too) of all sorts of veggies. All of these will be grown at RBG but will also be available at our spring plant sale (Mother's Day weekend). Maury was in to help receive a delivery of 8" diameter PVC pipe which will be converted in to some really cool garden features in 2012 (details later). Bill O. was in too and brought in a bunch of pine cones that will be used for a children's activity at the HLS. Next week will entirely involve 2012 plans and I'll continue to work on woody plant information for sign production this winter. It's nice to see so many volunteers coming in and hopefully we'll have plenty of help taking down the HLS which will start (weather depending) in early January.