Friday, January 20, 2012

More White Stuff

Today was quiet around the Horticulture Center although we did have some volunteers come in throughout the day. It started snowing around 9 am and is supposed to snow for the next 24 hours and deliver a good 6"-7" blanket. Larry and Bill will catch up with snow removal tomorrow as we have a morning event (Reinventing Comfort Foods) and there is a function later in the evening. The top image shows the blue obelisks (formerly pink) that Dr. Gredler and Pat have been working on recently. The finial tops (still pink) will be painted a shiny silver next week. Doc was here today and his next project will be converting those tall (9') yellow obelisks to a lime green. The process involves taking the slats off of one side first so you can get inside that structure. I like the birdhouses on top of those tall obelisks but have not seen them actively used (yet). The image directly above shows some of Dick W.'s handiwork today. He has been helping Del produce more plywood deer cutouts and they are making a couple more sleighs as well. in the back right of that image are some of the pvc pipe planters ready for painting next week. Maury was in for a bit and ran some timely errands for me (including keeping up with the next gallon of paint for Dr. Gredler!). Julie G. stopped by this morning to chat and we talked about some veggie garden ideas for kids. Janice was in most of the morning with her pup (Maggie, directly below). Janice is preparing the information sheets for our plants sale vegetables. These sheets will be what we use at the sale and we'll also include them on our website ( I spent most of the morning ordering seeds and am now dabbling with our moss rose (Portulaca) collection. To the the right is 'Happy Hour Orange' which will be just one of many varieties (60ish?) we'll feature. I also spent some time revising and finalizing Luis' woody plant inventory and have all the shade garden woody plants ready for label production. Sounds like we may see Luis on Monday. I also ordered a lot more pre-cut plant labels so we can keep up in terms of supply and production. Directly above are some of the Step 2 Garden Kneeler & Seats that were donated to us recently. Don't consider this an endorsement; just some observations as we haven't used this brand yet. However, I like the dual use of both a low seat for gardening (or a step stool!) and when flipped over, the kneeling pad is revealed and the legs are now handles for helping the gardener up and down. We have one or two items like this at the gardens and they are used (and preferred) by some of our volunteers. The seat can take 250 lbs. of weight and I was happy to see these are made in the good old U.S.A. To the right is the Step 2 Garden Hopper which also has value out in the garden, rolls and has a little storage area underneath the seat. We received a couple of these as well.

Yesterday afternoon I travelled to the WI DNR Service Center up in Fitchburg, WI to talk with Elizabeth and Jeff (WI DNR Urban Forestry) about a neat grant we received from them to plant some new trees in our parking lot islands. These trees are being selected for not only urban tolerance but as "ash alternatives" with the growing concern about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) arriving in our area (if it's not here already). The image to the left and directly below show the adult beetles and note the characteristic 'D' shaped exit hole in the picture to the left. We'll have some nice signage for the new trees that will also talk about EAB. We'll be working with the Janesville Shade Tree Advisory Council (JSTAC) on some other education components regarding this topic and hope to have some Arbor Day activities and education as well. Incidentally, check out the JSTAC website info on EAB at as it has oodles of info and other links regarding this important topic.

The bottom photo shows just some of the many seeds that were recently donated to the gardens by Doreen Howard, a prominent garden writer and tireless advocate for the Plant A Row for the Hungry (PAR) program that was started by the Garden Writers Assocation (GWA) back in 1995. For more information on this program, visit the GWA website at and see the link to PAR. The seeds were donated to Doreen for dispersal by Ferry Morse Seeds ( Nancy and Tom, two of our veteran volunteers, are currently organizing hundreds of seed packets and we'll make sure they get in the right hands (primarily children!).

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