Monday, December 5, 2011

The Inside Is So Delightful

This week, although clear of rain and snow, will get colder and while we'll still be out in the gardens pruning, the indoor work becomes increasingly more appealing. The top picture is one of our bear cubs on the bronze sculpture in the woodland walk garden. Directly above is some burlap surrounding a tender conifer (Korean fir?) in the Japanese garden. While the burlap does discourage deer, the primary intent here is to give some wind protection. Last week, Jumbo Jim pounded stakes around 20 or so choice woodies (coniferous and deciduous) in the Japanese garden and made these burlap "protective screens." To the right is some foliar color offered by the 'Angelina' sedum (Sedum rupestre) and deadnettle (Lamium maculatum, unknown variety). Both of these plants are spreaders to a certain degree but look good together here in the shade garden. To the left is the increasingly golden winter color of the 'Hillside Gold' white pine (Pinus strobus) that is only truly "greenish" in July, August and September. Some say this color is sickly...I think it at least offers something during the drab winter months.

We had a good crop of Grumpies this morning although Urban was the only one that did any gardening. To the lower right is Urban (and his pet ladder) working on more crabapples (Malus sp.) near the Horticulture Center. Del and Ron W. worked on cutting more plywood to create deer displays for the gift shop. Recent demand has exceeded supply. Dick H. was in later in the afternoon with Del working on the same project. The carpenters (Dave, Jim, Vern and Bob A.) worked on some other projects which included more work on the oak leaf project and some additional shelving for the office area. Maury ran out for supplies throughout the morning. We also saw Dr. Gredler, Tom C., Rollie, Mary W. and many others this morning. Gary came in and started work on our new woody plant labels based on Luis' recently completed inventory. Bill O. was in this afternoon to clean-up after Urban and work on some other projects. Directly below is some of our additional deer protection out in the gardens. As we had run out of burlap, the guys started using some green mesh bird netting that goes on very easily and should deter serious browsing on these yews (Taxus sp.).

Larry was out in the gardens this morning tweaking some of our Holiday Lights Show (HLS) cords and luminaries to make it easier for snow removal. We do have some cords under mats and in areas where they could be damaged or sheared by a snowblower so we are careful to make sure we don't have that nightmarish issue. Our Grasshopper mower will have the snowblower attachment put on shortly and our other snowblower and shovels are ready to go. It is quite a chore to keep the paths clear for the HLS although we get quite a few volunteers in to help "spot shovel" the tough spots. Larry worked on indoor projects this afternoon including getting our trail packs ready for the HLS volunteers that help us monitor the pathways and change out luminary bulbs (C7s) as needed. To the right is another (1 of 5) bear cub in the woodland walk garden. This sculpture was donated over 12 years ago and collected dust in storage until we brought it out when that woodland walk garden was replanted back in 2008. To the left is one of many gingerbread houses (or barns!) that were featured up at the Overture Center in Madison, WI this weekend. I was up there this weekend and saw some really creative displays. My daughter tried to convince me that they wouldn't miss a couple of the Andes mint chocolate "shingles" on that roof.....We'll have gingerbread houses as part of the decorations for the indoor train display of the HLS. I believe that interested parties will be able to get involved with this very shortly.

I worked on a nice hodge podge of activities today which included a presentation (coming up on January 15th), seed ordering, labels, etc. It's nice to have such a varied pile of duties to juggle although prioritization will shift shortly as we need to get seeds ordered right after 2012 begins. We're also not that far away from our involvement at the 2012 Wisconsin Public Television / UW-Extension Garden Expo up at the Alliant Center (February 10, 11, 12). We have had a booth at this event for the last 14 years and have seen the attendance for this event go from 10,000 or so to a record 20,000+ last February. It is always great exposure for the gardens and I'll be doing four talks and am involved in a panel discussion that will help recognize and celebrate 20 years of The Wisconsin Gardener program with Shelley Ryan. I believe we'll also be selling advance tickets for this event out of our gift shop in January. To the right is the 'Blondo' Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) in the parking lot. It sure looks awesome with the late afternoon light coming thru! Below are the persistent blooms of the witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) in the shade garden and at the bottom is the winter coloration of the 'Flame' willows (Salix hybrida) along the west bank near Lion's Beach.

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