Friday, February 24, 2012

Let It Snow

Our promised couple inches of snow over night ended up being 6-7" of the wet stuff. The gardens were sure beautiful this morning though. In between my earlier shoveling efforts this morning, I took all these garden photos today. It is so nice to have the snow and associated moisture for the gardens. Carl Reiner once said "A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water." I disagree as it sure created some picturesque images of our arched bridge above, the Parker Education Center and yet another shot of the contorted European filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') which is also called Harry Lauder's walking stick.

Early road conditions were poor but improved quickly as it warmed up. I was scheduled to travel up to the Wisconsin Public Radio studio on the UW-Madison campus to be a guest on Garden Talk with Larry Meiller ( Larry is a great guy and I think he's had me on his show 7 or 8 times at this point. I opted to do the show by phone because of travel and the start of some sort of nasty cold. The show went great and has always been a nice way to create awareness about the gardens. Larry has a huge following and his program is quite popular.

I also finished up some orders for our spring sale (details at and am trying to finish some additional presentations that are looming in March. Next Tuesday evening, February 28th (5 pm) is our next Volunteer Soup Dinner for current, past and potential volunteers. It's not too late to RSVP at (608) 752-3885 (extension 0) if you are interested in attending. The event is free and I'll be doing a presentation on the Gardens of Philadelphia Revisited that will highlight my trip out there last summer. I'll also talk about collections, events and opportunities for 2012. To the right are Rose and Urban starting to convert our culvert pipe planters from their 2011 sky blue color to the new, semi-gloss white for 2012. These are two of five of these giants that will be nice verticals out in our entrance garden as part of that silver/white/light blue theme this year.We did have some additional volunteer help today. Above are Dr. Gredler on our CASE endloader and Bill on our Grasshopper snowblower clearing our Horticulture Center lot. I really appreciate these guys helping out as it freed me up to focus on some other projects. Bill went on to clear snow from around the visitors center and the primary paths in the gardens. Dr. Gredler quickly transitioned to repainting more obelisks (blue to green) in the Horticulture Center. Aside from those mentioned, we also saw Maury, Bill O. (there are two Bill O. volunteers!), Mary W., Bree and some others. To the right is a nice snowy shot of the Ma Chii' (resting structure) in the fern & moss garden. I enjoyed tromping thru the virgin snow this morning to catch some photos and was also pleased to note the least amount of deer damage that I've seen in a decade at RBG. We're not in the clear yet though! The weather has been a factor of course as has our more aggressive approach to fencing and netting of tastier specimens. To the left is a prime example of what wet snow can do to an arborvitae (Thuja sp.). This is the narrow variety 'DeGroot's Spire' and it should spring back in to form as the snow melts. I never advocate knocking off the snow unless there is imminent "breakage". In fact, if you do remove any snow, you brush upwards (minimal stress) instead of downwards (which just adds more weight).

I finally have all of my seed orders completed, organized and processed. It looks like we'll have 59 varieties of moss roses (Portulaca) grown from seed and displayed in our trial area. Kelley F. did a nice job researching this annual and we'll prepare some nice handouts listing these varieties and describing the history and uses of this neat annual. We're on track to have over 700 varieties of annuals this year and I'm also very excited about what we'll be planting in our Smelly Garden (fragrant plants in the children's garden) and all of our neat edibles. Our "Grains of the World" collection is coming along nicely and there will be no shortage of interesting plants and interpretation out in the gardens this year. Don't forget to mark March 7th on your calendar for our Hostalicious! talk by Jeff Miller of Land of the Giants Hosta Farm (6:30 pm - 8 pm). For details, see Our March 24th symposium, Create an Engaging Garden, is 2/3 full so check it out if you're interested! More snowy shots below.


Colleen said...

Some beautiful pictures today! :)

Mark Dwyer, Director of Horticulture, Rotary Botanical Gardens said...

I'm glad I had my camera as it melted off quickly. Mother Nature, as always, does most of the work anyway!