Our digital thermometer above was reading -17.7 degrees F this morning which doesn't express the -45 degree F windchill that we've all been enjoying this morning. I'm very concerned for area wildlife and hope they can nestle down and make it through this frigid spell. We're going through about 40 lbs. of birdseed weekly at home although the squirrels aren't shy about getting their share as well. Understandably, the gardens (and all local schools) were officially closed today but a few of us came to the Horticulture Center for some indoor work as seen below. Ron (directly below) was working on a carpentry project (top secret) as was Maury (second photo down). Gene (third photo down) was resealing some benches and both Pat and Dr. Gredler came in for painting duties. Pat went out in the gardens briefly and brought back some lights for processing. The wind was brutal. Larry had various projects and we also saw Dick H. and Bill O. I'm neck deep in catalogs, presentation preparation, 2013 closure projects, etc. I enjoy this time of year but the winter months go quickly...
above are some components to our top secret project (soon to be revealed)
The image of above is a portion of our "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden in 2013. This garden was very well received by visitors and pollinators alike! Below is our All-America Selections (AAS) display from last year which won first place in the AAS Landscape Design Contest (Category III - over 100,000 visitors) for the second year in a row. We have entered the contest again and are focusing on a "three-peat"! I show these two photos to mention that this year will include a hybrid of these two collections. We will still be doing the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the children's garden but will be incorporating the best AAS winners for actively attracting pollinators. While our 2013 AAS collection included over 150 historic winners (1933 through 2013), we'll focus on the best winners for attracting bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc. There will also be some other interesting new twists in this space and both signage and educational offerings will be paramount. The original space seen below will be converted this year to display historic plants that were grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. We'll be utilizing the existing thirteen beds and will feature over 150 plants (perennials, annuals and vegetables) as part of a two-year theme. We have lots of fun ideas for the garden as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary! If you're reading this blog and aren't currently a RBG member, please consider the value of supporting the gardens and our mission of providing horticultural education and appreciation for everyone. At the bottom are just two of the many "focus plants" that we'll utilize in our "AAS Centric Pollinator's Paradise" theme.
'Prairie Sun' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) - annual (also 2003 AAS Winner)
butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) - perennial