Thursday, March 28, 2013

Signs Of Wildlife

I had a nice brisk walk around the garden this morning as Cindy and I went out to size up some perennial grass cutting in the gardens which she started right away.  I caught the arched bridge nicely this morning (above) and while it was chilly, we're seeing daytime high temperatures increasing each day and that snow is getting thinner too!  I did a presentation at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI) last night on Sweet Scents in the Garden and had a nice crowd.  As I walked in to Olbrich last night, I caught this wildlife shot directly below.  Look further down for a fierce badger and some bears that were part of their indoor display that was recently dismantled for the season.  I thought these were neat too although the badger scared me a bit.  I had hoped to catch some early bulbs blooming up at Olbrich but they are still iced down pretty well like we are here at RBG.  Today I worked on getting ready for next week and am finalizing some spring presentations that are looming on the calendar.

Aside from the all the deer poop and deer browsing (like on the spruce below), we see other evidence of animals including thousands of goose footprints as seen above.  Browsing damage was moderate this winter as we saw the deer take the initiative to eat through and tear off some of our burlap wrappings and mesh netting.  When you're hungry, you're hungry.  I thought this shot above was cute as it looks like a couple strolling together through the gardens (looking for anything to peck at and consume....).  It will be nice to have the snow melt down and see more bulbs emerging which I'm sure will happen quickly over the coming month.  

We had a nice turnout of volunteers this morning.  Cindy can be seen above cutting grasses in the North point garden.  Dick W. and Bob C. went out to help cut grasses back (where they weren't still buried by snow and ice) while Urban and Pat went out to do some more pruning and collected/hauled branches from Urban's pruning escapades yesterday.  Pat C. came in to process more perennial labels for our incoming orders while the sanding quartet of Jim, Dave, Gene and Ron Y. kept busy working on our benches.  I think there are only seven left so there is light at the end of the tunnel for these guys.  Rose spent some time sealing benches and Dr. Gredler continued painting some of our last obelisks to be touched up for placement back out in the gardens very soon.  We also saw Chuck, Maury, Steve S., Bob B. and many others.  Directly below are our PVC pipe planters that will be part of our All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden this year.  This space was the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Collection in 2012 but that collection will shift closer to the Parker Education Center this year.  This AAS display will have a strong historical component and we've again entered the AAS Landscape Design Contest which allows our display to be judged with other AAS display entries at gardens with similar attendance (100,000+ visitors).  This was the contest we won last year and we plan on "retaining the crown" to be blunt!

The bench quote two photos down (one of my favorites) reads:
"We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."  Aldo Leopold

At the bottom is the frosty, dried fruiting structure of our showy sweetgum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua).  This structure is officially called a syncarp of dehiscent capsules which everyone probably knows anyway.  When I was at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), the main quad was lined with these sweetgums that replaced all the American elms (Ulmus americana) that were removed due to Dutch Elm Disease.  There were so many of these spiky capsules around and frequent battles were fought with these projectiles.  

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