Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snow Arrives

As I came in this morning, it was still drizzling but that soon changed to wet, heavy snow.  We ended up with about 4" which was predicted with more accumulation further north.  The roads seemed clear enough for my trip up to Madison tonight for my presentation on "Durable Shrubs for Foliage Appeal".  However, Madison got more snow and my talk has been postponed until fall.  I must admit that I wont miss driving on potentially hazardous roads and past experiences have left me permanently unnerved regarding hitting an ice patch at 65 mph.  The white pine (Pinus strobus) above held the snow nicely and I'm glad it wasn't eight inches of wet stuff as that would really bend those branches down.  Our obelisks below looked neat too and these are the ones showing off their new, 2013 paint colors!  The second photo down is a shot near the Horticulture Center.  I had a productive day of preparing presentations, seed ordering and other fun, winter duties.

With dicey road travel, we didn't see a lot of volunteers today.  Dr. Gredler came in to continue painting obelisks and was called home earlier as the roads became more difficult.  Doc has a steep incline to get to his house too which has proven challenging in the past.  Doc can be seen below.  I think he dropped a penny down the drain and wont give up digging for it (or he's washing his paint brushes...).  Ron Y. (next photo down) did a nice job re-sanding two of our benches.  Bob C., Vern and Ron have started this long process as we hope to have all 40+ of our wooden benches (teak, cedar and pine) all sanded down to bare wood and restained/sealed.  Janice came in for seed processing and research and we also saw Kris K. later in the day.  Kris brought up some great ideas for future educational programs at RBG.

I was making an order from Chiltern Seeds which is based in the UK (  This is a neat catalog and we've purchased some fun varieties from them in the past.  Their catalog is funky too and includes interesting artwork.  I was struck by the two art pieces below that were in the catalog as they are renditions of the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) which I featured just yesterday in the blog.  This is certainly a humorous take on the cardoon which gives this plant a rebellious stature (at least in the UK).  I also ordered more zinnias (Zinnia sp.) and realized that yet again, I can't stay away from these tough, sun-loving annuals.  The third photo down shows some of the zinnia trials I saw this past summer in Michigan on a 100 degree F day in late July.  We'll have plenty of zinnias out in the gardens and the last three photos just show a few that we'll feature.  In order, I'm showing 'Uproar Rose', 'Double Zahara Cherry' and at the bottom, 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' which is dynamite.  That's probably my best picture of that zinnia and it always catches my eye.

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