We had snow all morning but only accumulated about 3" of fluff. Larry and Bill kept up with snow removal around the main building but there was no activity out in the gardens. With dropping temperatures, I'm more worried about ice as things freeze up over the next few days. The image above of our Japanese garden is in reference to our first Volunteer Soup Social which is scheduled for January 24th from 5 pm until 7 pmish or so. We did three of these last winter and they were very well attended. I typically do a presentation at the each of these and will focus on Japanese gardens (including our own!) at this event. I've organized photos of many of the Japanese gardens I've seen around the country and am looking forward to presenting the topic. If you are a current, past or potential volunteer at RBG, consider joining us that evening. I'll also be talking about 2012 plans out in the gardens. You can call our gift shop at (608) 752-3885 (ext. 0) and RSVP. There is no charge for this event although donations are welcome. The pyramidal yew (Taxus sp.) to the left was taken today and gives a better indication of our current weather pattern. We'll start checking the gardens over tomorrow for deer tracks to see where they are coming in and nibbling. Larry and Bill put out some deer repellants this past week in the hopes of keeping them away from some of the tastier specimens. Below is a shot of my current project which is the continuation of major seed ordering. This is one of my larger seed orders which will include many of the specialty annuals, ornamental edibles and many of our plants for the Smelly Garden. The second photo down shows my spreadsheet which will also be utilized for organizing the seeds by grower, quantity, garden destination and also for label production. I used to write descriptions for all of the annuals but now that we have over 800 varieties each year, I just don't have the time. We had a couple volunteers trickle in today. Bill O. helped with snow removal but he and Larry also continued hauling processed Holiday Lights Show (HLS) items up to the garage for storage. Dr. Gredler was in to continue his painting conversion (pink to blue) of his first eight obelisks. Del was here to work on creating more plywood sleighs and deer for the HLS. We have more room this time of year in the Horticulture Center so he prepares many of these items early in the year. Janice came in briefly and we talked about our vegetable order for the spring plant sale. I hope to have all those seeds ordered in the next two weeks. If you want a 'Sweet Banana' bell pepper to go with your 'Hawaiian Pineapple' heirloom tomato, 'Bolivian Rainbow' hot pepper and 'Lemondrop' basil....we'll have what you need! We should have all the plant sale lists and descriptions up on our website (www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org) by the end of February. I still need to order our additional herbs but we'll have no trouble offering a wide selection. To the right is snow on a dwarf concolor fir (Abies concolor 'Compacta') in front of the Parker Education Center this morning.
At the bottom is a bonsai specimen that I photographed at The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanic Gardens in San Marino, CA. Tomorrow evening, January 18th, is the Bonsai Basics talk by Karl Bethke of the Badger Bonsai Society (6:30 pm - 8 pm). RBG Members are $5, all others are $10. We hope for a great showing at this lecture and all our educational events at RBG. Check out our website for additional information on our spring symposium which is themed as "Create An Engaging Garden".