Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Snow, Painting, Petunias

We had about 2" of fluffy snow come down yesterday afternoon in to the evening hours.  Above (photo from today) are the fruits of the 'Red Peacock' crabapple (Malus) which will be targeted by the birds over the coming months.  There was some very light snow this morning but that disappeared quickly and was replaced by blue sky and sunshine.  Bill and I used snow blowers to clear the primary paths and thanks to Ron W. for taking care of the significant amount of hand shoveling!  Bill went out later to tidy up as the sun was starting to melt the paths down nicely.  We're worried about some freezing drizzle on Thursday night which is when the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) resumes.  We're ready with our sand and salt for the paths and hope the weather turns out alright as it looks to be a return to the frigid cold towards the weekend.  These next five nights of the HLS (see our website for details) historically see the largest crowds which is what we want for this fun event (and vital fundraiser).  The second photo down shows Pat pruning crabapples (Malus) near the east gate.  He's taken a dent out of this annual pruning project and Urban (third photo down) did similar pruning on additional crabapples (Malus) near the Horticulture Center.  Dr. Gredler (fourth photo down) continued his painting projects and Pat helped him earlier in the morning with painting and was back for afternoon pruning.  We also saw Janice, Mark S. and had a nice visit from Marv and Marianne.  Below is a shot of the pergola this morning.  We had just enough snow to fill in the 100,000+ deer tracks throughout the gardens.  UGH! 

I love petunias (Petunia) and we typically will plant about 20,000 each spring of many different varieties.  Petunias have done well for us in our full sun bedding schemes and in container arrangements.  Their flower power throughout the heat of summer is welcome and they are great partners for other annuals and perennials.  There are a wide range of colors, growing habits, etc. available from seed catalogs.  Years ago I thought about a petunia collection but quickly realized that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of options out there.  Breeding efforts with petunias in the past couple of years have resulted in some very interesting colors and patterns.  The petunia above is currently experimental (un-named) but wow!, isn't that cool?  Many of these "new fangled" varieties are propagated vegetatively which means you'll find it as a plant in the garden center.  Regardless, there are some really neat varieties out there and below are all images of petunias I photographed this year.  This represents a small sampling of the neat ones I saw but consider the "wow factor" when using some of these interesting varieties.  I need to mention that we have had some white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) issues with mass plantings of petunias over the years which is evidenced by massive and quick "die out" in mid summer.  We have moved to essentially a "crop rotation" with our petunias and grow them in different areas each year to avoid re-infection in questionable areas that have experienced white mold.  Keep that in mind but understand that happy petunias can be a prominent feature with plenty of impact in your garden.

Petunia 'Cha-Ching Cherry'
Petunia 'Flash Mob Bluerific'
Petunia 'Potunia Plus Strawberry Ice'
Petunia 'Crazytunia Star Jubilee'
Petunia 'Sweetunia Mystery'
Petunia 'Marvel Beauty Cranberry'
Petunia 'Suncatcher Pink Lemonade'
Petunia 'Rim Purple Ray'
Petunia 'Suncatcher Vintage Rose'
Petunia 'Sun Spun Purple Star'
Petunia 'Rose and Shine'
Petunia 'Pinstripe'
Petunia 'Potunia Mochaccino'
Petunia 'Surprise Blue Sky'

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