Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Calm Before The Storm

Have you ever wondered what a 20' tall, yellow obelisk looks like on its side?  Well, see above.  This was the original "tower of power" from the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) which has been "re-processed", modified, painted and now reinforced by Pat (seen directly above along the side of the structure).  Note the gaps on the upper and bottom portions of the obelisk in the photo above.  These gaps will allow kids and flexible adults a means to go under this structure later this spring and summer.  The carpenters did a great job building this obelisk and Pat has done an excellent job reinforcing it.  Securing and stabilizing it out in the gardens will also be a priority.  Dr. Gredler was here all morning and continues to re-seal many of our cedar and redwood structures.  Urban, directly below, braved the high winds out in the gardens which are part of the advanced front of snow on the way for this evening.  I don't mind more moisture but wouldn't mind a shoveling break either.  Urban can be seen below doing more winter pruning which he started back in October.  He has a nice eye for structure and here is working on a dwarf bald cypress (Taxodium sp.) in the entrance garden.  Janice came in for more plant sale research and is doing a top notch job of preparing vegetable descriptions and signs for the Spring Plant Sale (May 11th and 12th, 9 am - 4 pm, RBG Members pre-sale on May 10th!).  We'll have the vegetable and herb lists on our website in the coming week or two.  Pat C. (second photo down) came in to help start the production of 15,000 labels that will be used to identify vegetable selections at the sale.  She's the quickest learner I've run across in many years and does a great job at any task we throw at her (except buying lunch).  We also saw Cindy B., Bill O. and many others throughout the day.  The third photo down shows the foliage of the 'Skylands' golden Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis) in front of the building.  This wasn't too far from Urban and has grown very well in the sheltered nook of the building where it doesn't get full afternoon sun or Northwesterly winds which would burn the needles.

I ordered more plants today and had fun going through the last of my remaining catalogs.  Despite my longing for spring weather, I wish I had another month of winter preparation time.  The grounds staff starts back on April 1 and it will be nice to get the gardens in shape.  The rest of the year is full speed ahead until December although some decent summer rains would be helpful this year.  I still have a couple more presentations in various locations this winter and will be at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI) tomorrow night to present on The Moonlit Garden.  This is a fun topic and something that has always been of interest to me.  Enjoying the garden by moonlight is truly a blast if you don't have "light pollution" from other sources and have the inclination to be out after dusk.  Of course, whites and silvers in the evening garden take on a "new glow" and increased importance with moonlight and become real focal points.  This type of garden also includes fragrant plants, many of which open up at night and/or are their most "potent" in the evening hours.  Many of the fragrant plants I'm including in this presentation were annuals that we've had in our Smelly Garden theme (Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden) for the past two years.  I don't have a good photo of the moonflower (Ipomoea alba) vine, which is also a great candidate.  Some of my other favorites are included below (all annuals) and they are potent evening contributors for sweet scent.  There are also perennials and woody plants appropriate for the moonlit garden.  Flower identification is listed below the image.

evening stock (Matthiola longipetala subsp. bicornis)
longtube four o'clock (Mirabilis longiflora) with basil (Ocimum)
night phlox (Zaluzianskya capensis 'Midnight Candy')
flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)

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