Monday, January 30, 2012

Great Teamwork!

We has another great turnout of volunteers today and the weather was nice enough for some guys to get out in the gardens as well. There was lots of activity going on at the Horticulture Center as evidenced in the photo above. Can you spot the five Grumpies!? Del to the lower right continued to work on reindeer with Dick W., who can be seen in the distance wearing the ball cap. To the far left is Maury continuing to paint our pvc planters. Bob A. in the center is priming and repainting the recently repaired garbage and recycling bins. In the far distance is Dave T. (bending over) who, along with Jim D. (not in above photo, probably napping), continued repairing more of those same bins. Dr. Gredler was also in continuing to repaint our next batch of obelisks (red becoming orange). To the right is evidence of some wildlife out in the gardens. Hopefully there is still enough available foraging material and the bunnies aren't girdling any of our trees or shrubs!

I spent the morning catching up on bills, paperwork and some other odds and ends. I also put some time in to my "Eat Your Landscape" talk that I'll give at the WPT Garden Expo at 12 noon on Saturday, February 11th. I'll also give this talk at the Chicago Flower Show on March 15th. I've done this topic a couple times in the past but wanted to create a new presentation as I've amassed lots of photos over the past year that are perfect for an improved discussion. I'll certainly be including plants like the 'Magenta Sunset' Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) to the left and the red-ribbed, dandelion-leaved chicory (Cichorium intybus 'Red Ribbed') to the right. Both have very nutritious greens that will regenerate after numerous cuttings. The chicory (photo from Ron & Bev's garden) sure looks like a dandelion but it's important to mention that dandelion greens are hightly nutritious as well. The intent of this program (in my mind) is to get people motivated about growing their own produce in ways that don't require a large garden space. I'll emphasize smaller stature, ornamental options that can be incorporated in to garden beds, borders, containers, etc. The photo directly below shows the 'Soldier' beet (Beta vulgaris) that we incorporated throughout our reception garden last year. The maroon foliage worked well in our pink scheme and we had lots of questions on this ornamental edible that has not only the "beets" but nutritious foliage.Urban and Pat were out pruning in the arboretum today and helped clean-up some significant debris that Larry created with some chainsaw removals. Dick W. also helped with some of this clean-up and will be back tomorrow as well. Marv and Terry hauled over our oak leaf cutouts to the Parker Education Center as they will be available starting this Wednesday (February 1) for artists/sponsors to pick-up ($40 materials/registration fee). Check out our website at for more information on this program (and many others). The guys also helped haul debris from Larry's targeted removals. Dick H. was in working on one of our trucks too. Marianne (to the right) was in to process our biggest seed order and we talked about starting to sort these and label them next week. Marianne also worked on organizing some drawings and other projects. Luis was in to continue data entry for our woody plant label production with the new engraver. We also saw Bradford, Karen B., Bill O. and many others. Today was also the first meeting of the year for our Horticulture Therapy committee (Darcie, Janice, Mike M., Art, Dawn).

To the left is one of Marv's new gloves which he thought was blog worthy. I'll let you decide. At least his baby soft hands will be protected. To the lower right is Maury working on the pipe painting. I did mention that if he would set the cup of coffee down, he could paint twice as fast.....No luck. Those pipes can also be seen in the bottom photo. We're really making great progress with our winter projects and the pace has been record-setting thus far with the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) take down allowing more time for these traditional projects. We continue to check our deer protection out in the gardens and surprisingly have not only seen very little nibbling but not a lot of tracks either....Unfortunately, February has always been the "Severe Browsing Month" for us in the past so we'll keep attentive. I should be done ordering seeds yet this week as we locate the last of our plant sale varieties and focus on finalizing our collections.

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