Today has been mostly rainy which turned our slushy 3" of snow from last night to mega-slush. Above are Dick H.'s tracks from plowing our Horticulture Center parking lot this morning (thanks Dick!). The snow was as heavy and saturated as you can imagine and I saw many struggling with shovels and snow blowers as I came to work. No doubt we need the moisture but I would have preferred the format of snow as opposed to this drizzle that has gone on all day, sometimes quite heavily. With a winter storm warning in effect and a blizzard warning this evening, we've cancelled the Holiday Lights Show (HLS)for tonight. Travel conditions will continue to worsen and the HLS itself would have many electrical issues due to the moisture and path safety is a major concern as well. We feel we should be fine for the upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and will focus on path clearing/maintenance tomorrow morning. I shoveled a bit this morning and it was some heavy stuff to move around, most of which has now melted with temperatures in the upper 30 degrees F. Tomorrow and hopefully beyond should be colder and more conducive and safe for having the HLS.
Well, I can't say it wasn't a productive day though! I have started my data entry (seen above) for our 2013 seed order. All of our items are entered and ultimately these listings help us create labels, sort seeds by grower and by collection as well. While laborious, this data entry saves us lots of time later on in the process as we approach spring. With the poor weather, we didn't see too many volunteers today. Bob A. (below) came in for some painting and Jim D. was in to do some carpentry early this morning. Dr. Gredler continued painting cucumber trellises and we also saw Maury and Dr. Yahr. The next photo down shows our Christmas cactus (Schlumbergia sp.) at the Horticulture Center starting to bloom. This specimen was donated many years ago and has been a reliable bloomer despite us not doing much for it. Christmas cacti are originally native to the coastal mountains of Brazil and have no actual foliage. The segemented stems acutally photosynthesize and are relatively easy to propagate. Blooms (pollinated natively by hummingbirds) can be encouraged by increased darkness later in the year and watering should be monitored closely. For a long-lived houseplant, consider these as a fun gift but do some research on their proper care. What's that at the bottom you might ask? Oh.. just a photo of Great Dixter, home and garden of the late Christopher Lloyd, in East Sussex near the south coast of England. This garden will be one of many that we see during our May trip to England. See www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org for more information.
I am the Director of Horticulture at Rotary Gardens (Janesville, WI). Along with a talented grounds staff and dedicated volunteers, I enjoy being involved with this wonderful botanical resource. My educational background is in landscape architecture and urban forestry but it didn't take long to become a plant enthusiast and find a lifelong career.