Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seed Sorting Begins

With about 90% of our seeds having arrived, Marianne and I took a big dent out of the pile above. What you can't see are the ones she put on adjacent chairs and look at the couch in the back left of the image. These are seeds for our plant sale vegetables, Smelly Garden plants, All-America Selections (AAS) collection, Fleuroselect collection, ornamental edibles and trial program (Ball Seed, PanAmerican Seed, Takii Seed). As I went thru these packets, I sorted them by collection as each collection will have corresponding color labels. For instance, any flat of plants that comes back from the nursery with a yellow label will be part our AAS collection and can be grouped, hauled and planted accordingly. This has streamlined the process as we previously just used white labels which then necessitated more sorting in the yard as we looked for various varieties and tried to group them by collection after they arrived. After collections of seeds are grouped, I write a number on each packet that corresponds to the number of flats (48 plants per flat) that will be grown for that variety. We then write that many labels and attach them to the seed packet. These seeds/flats will result in about 75,000 of our annuals out in the gardens this year. Marianne already took a batch to work on and we'll get thru the rest next week with the help of Kay and a new volunteer, Pat. I had three meetings at the Parker Education Center today so snapped some photos out front including the golden needles of the 'Skyline' Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis). This conifer gets the best gold coloration in winter and ours has a nice protected spot near the main building that helps block the dessicating winter winds. The picture to the left is a bit "artsy" but shows the shadow silhouette of the contorted European filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') which is also called Harry Lauder's walking stick. Dick H. was walking by me when I took the photo of the brick wall and just shook his head. I also finalized some preparations for the WPT Garden Expo (starts tomorrow) and finished another presentation. This morning, I was invited to the Morning Rotary meeting which is held at the gardens. Gary, Maury and Polly were also there representing the gardens as we wanted to thank them for the awesome donation of the new digital sign that was installed about a month ago. It was nice to see Kelli and other supporters of the gardens. The Morning Rotary has been a staunch supporter of the gardens over the years. The two photos at the bottom show the dedication ceremony this morning. To the right and directly below is a picture of an "onion hoe" which I recently saw in a catalog. I thought it looked sturdy and ordered one to try out in the gardens. It really is nicely made and we'll see if the volunteers approve of its performance. The "proof is in the pudding" as they say, although I never figured out what that meant anyway.We had a nice turnout of volunteers throughout the day. Aside from organizing and labeling seeds, Marianne also processed our remaining orders and has done a nice job keeping things organized for my sake. Janice was in to work on plant sale duties and our new volunteers, Pete and Pat, showed up to meet our Grumpies. Marv and Terry (to the right) cleaned up fifteen of our older, 8" diameter PVC pipes that we'll be using to support our new containers. The guys did a nice job. These were formerly used as upright planters when we had the blue/yellow theme and the red/maroon theme. Marv had devised securing 8" mum pots about 15" down from the top of the pipes that were then set vertically out in the garden. We typically planted plants that would then spill down the pipes. The watering was a challenge and it has been pointed out that my new idea (pots on pipes) wont be much easier. Del and Dick W. continued their work on the reindeer and sleigh cutouts (see to the left and lower right). Vern, Dave T. and Bob A. continued working on the repair of our garbage and recycling bins. They have quite a list of projects to tackle in the coming months. Dr. Gredler continued painting obelisks and Maury was around to run out for supplies. Dick H. worked on some repairs at the other building and helped Larry load up our Garden Expo materials this morning. Bill O. tidied up in the Horticulture Center and went out pruning with Larry this afternoon. Urban was also in to continue pruning in the woodland walk garden. We also saw Chuck S., Polly, Gary, Dave G. and many others today.

I may not be blogging tomorrow as I'll be at the Garden Expo all day with Big John. It's always quite interesting to set-up as there are a limited number of carts for hauling in supplies to the Exhibition Hall (Alliant Energy Center). It is quite a frantic pace as various booths get ready for the 4 pm start of the event although some of the more elaborate displays started with set-up today. While our booth set-up is fairly simple, it is comfortable for our staff and volunteers and allows visitors to duck out of the crazy herd of traffic. I'll take some pictures at the Expo and try to keep everyone updated. Tomorrow night is my talk on "Annuals of Interest" (6 pm).

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