It was a ghost town at the Horticulture Center today. Dr. Gredler (above) was in for his daily dose of painting tasks. Here, he's putting a fresh coat on our cucumber supports. We use short-vining varieties like 'Patio Snacker' for these trellises which help keep the cucumbers off the ground and allow better air circulation. We've also planted compact squash and melons on these as well. We have a winter weather advisory late this afternoon with a blizzard warning for tomorrow. The good news is that the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) will get some of the "white stuff" but we'll see how well we can keep up with snow removal tomorrow afternoon before the next lighting of the HLS (Thursday night). Urban came in to size up some pruning and he and I looked at some options out in the gardens. He later came back and pruned out in the gardens after lunch. While out with Urban earlier, I photographed this Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) below starting to bloom in the gazebo garden. There are many buds on our hellebores but upcoming weather should help resolve their "seasonal confusion". Janice was also here most of the day and continued her vegetable research and variety selections for 2013.
I continued with seed ordering and presentation preparations today. I was working on a presentation regarding new annuals and tropicals and kept coming back to many of my 2012 photos of elephant ears (Colocasia and Alocasia) that I took this past summer. With all the heat, our elephant ears, like the 'Thailand Giant' (Colocasia gigantea) below, did very well with ample moisture and fertilizer provided. The shot below gives an idea of leaf size for that variety but these specimens ended up close to 10' tall by the end of the season. Some of the other favorites that I saw are seen below with their identification directly under the photograph. Some of the photos are from last year too. Note that most of these can only be obtained as plants as they are propagated vegetatively. You'll note many varieties from the Royal Hawaiian breeding series (PlantHaven) of Dr. John Cho, plant pathologist from the University of Hawaii.
Colocasia gigantea 'Thailand Giant' above
Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito' above (Chicago Botanic Garden)
Colocasia esculenta 'Midori Sour' above
Colocasia esculenta 'Elena' above
Colocasia esculenta 'Diamond Head' above
Colocasia esculenta 'Coffee Cups' above
Colocasia esculenta Royal Hawaiian 'Hawaiian Eye' above
Colocasia esculenta Royal Hawaiian 'Blue Hawaii' above
Colocasia esculenta Royal Hawaiian 'Maui Gold' above
Colocasia esculenta Royal Hawaiian 'Hawaiian Punch' above
Colocasia esculenta Royal Hawaiian 'Black Coral' above (2 photos)
Alocasia hybrida 'Sting Ray' above
Colocasia (unknown variegated variety)