Patty Bailey (photos above) did a superb job tonight presenting Holiday Plants - Past & Present for our 12th and final monthly lecture for 2011. Patty, of Patty's Plants Natural & Organic Garden Supply in Milton, WI, talked about a wide range of holiday plants (amaryllis, poinsettias, begonias, cyclamens, etc.) and had many live examples. I enjoyed her stories about the history of many of the plants as well. She also showed the crowd (16 attendees) some ideas for creating holiday gift baskets with a wide range of plants and other elements. Patty is so creative and had no problem mocking up some masterpieces like the basket below. The attendees seemed to enjoy the talk and both Kris and I were bummed that we didn't have more people show up for this popular topic. Regardless, this ends the 2011 season but Kris also handed out some "save the date" flyers that included four of our lectures after the New Year and gave more information on the spring symposium. For the March 2012 symposium, Kris rounded up four speakers and the line-up (sans me) looks top notch. The other three speakers have never spoken at RBG before and each has some national acclaim (not joking). Looking forward to education offerings next year and Kris is doing a nice job getting everything situated. There was another rental in the building tonight but we were all out of there by 8 pm.
Today was our last Story & Stroll program (graphic above was from our promotional flyers for the program) and we had about 20 attendees (adults and children) come this morning. The Story & Stroll program was extremely successful and exceeded our expectations for overall attendance. This year was really our "break out" year for education with successful spring and fall symposia (300 collective attendees), our lecture series (653 attendees), the Rock Prairie Master Gardener lecture series (183 attendees) as well as youth education opportunities, a full bus tour, workshops, etc. Kris K. is already making plans for our 2012 offerings and we look forward to really maximizing our mission of "providing horticultural education and appreciation for everyone." It is important (obviously) for us to plan well in advance for all our events here so we have them on the calendar and can start promoting them early (and often)!
Today was pretty much a ghost town over at the Horticulture Center. Pat M. came in early and was out in the gardens putting more protective netting on the yews (Taxus sp.) in the Japanese garden. He also collected leaves near the east gate and brought quite a few loads back. Del was in most of the day working on his deer cutout project and made great progress. I also saw Margo, Big John, Bill, Mary W. Dick H. and others today. Janice came in this afternoon and we came up with our goals for the vegetable collection in 2012. We're both pretty excited and have our own research duties. I also had a staff meeting. In organizing more photos today, I ran across an old (pre-1995) picture of one of our "environmental quote" benches. This is one of my favorites and certainly relates to many of our education goals here at RBG.