Today was quite mild with temperatures ultimately in the mid 30 degrees F. It was a nice day for a walk and some fresh air. My tour of the gardens was my first of the year and while I thought things looked pretty good, I was amazed at all the deer prints and poop throughout the gardens. They are certainly combing the gardens for snacking materials and I'm glad we did as much protective fencing and netting in December as we did. Above is the south entrance structure to the Japanese garden. Below is the 'Cinnamon Snow' hellebore (Helleborus) opening up by slow increments. I first photographed the buds back in November and have been keeping track of this one. This variety seems aptly named in this shot! I spent most of the day progressing with my seed orders and other time sensitive desk work. We also had a Garden Development Committee Meeting which included Dr. Gredler, Big John, Gary, Joanne, Hal, Maury, Christine and myself. We talked about our many 2013 plans and goals. Larry was here all day and focused on more Holiday Lights Show (HLS) takedown efforts.
We had some helpful volunteers today. Two photos up is Dick W. out in the gardens collecting cords. Dick came back to the Horticulture Center with many loads this morning and the weather is ideal for pulling up these cords with very few still stuck in frozen ground or ice. Directly above is Dr. Gredler (far left) painting with three supervisors (Bill, Larry and Big John) involved with quality control. Bill also worked on wrapping dozens of cords up after they thawed a bit inside the Horticulture Center. He's very good at preparing HLS items for storage. Everything that comes in from the HLS is processed and packed away neatly for storage in our garage. Vern came in to work on some carpentry projects and we also saw Dick H., Jumbo Jim and many others. Below are just some of the ducks and geese that are hanging out in the pond. It's amusing to watch them go from the water to the ice (or vice versa) with that edge crumbling more with the warm temperatures. The next photo down features the bold, golden needles of the 'Wate's Golden' Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) near the rose garden. Further down is some deer damage (needle nibbling) on a limber pine (Pinus flexilis), the fruits of the cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) and our Ma Chii' structure in the fern & moss garden.