Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thomas Jefferson Collection

We're continuing our research regarding plants that Thomas Jefferson (TJ) grew at Monticello.  Janice, Cindy and Patrea are all doing great research for this two year collection that will feature over 150 varieties of vegetables, herbs, perennials and annuals that were grown by TJ.  These selections will all be arranged in 13 beds near the arboretum (the former All-America Selections Display Garden - which has moved...).  Each variety will have a nice educational sign and this historic display will also have significant color as we include old-fashioned annuals that were grown back then as well.  I've included ten selections of flowers that were grown at Monticello like the love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) seen above.  Keep in mind that some of my TJ samples seen here are more modern varieties although the original species was available and grown by TJ (not the new fangled selections of course!).   See some of the other plants that will be part of the Thomas Jefferson Collection this year further below.

Tomorrow we'll be setting up our booth early for the WPT Garden Expo (see brochure above) which starts on Friday.  John, Denise, Mary and I will get everything situated which also is nice as we'll avoid the Friday morning craziness of set-up.  I hope the crowd continues to grow for this event as I think attendance has been over 20,000 for each of the last three years.  That's a lot of people coming by our booth!  We have a great crew of volunteers lined up to staff the booth and both Kris K. and I will be there as RBG staff too.   It's fun to interact with the public and represent the gardens.  I'll get plenty of gardening questions too which keeps it interesting!

We had another productive day at the Horticulture Center.  Kay (directly below) worked on processing some of our first seeds to arrive. She's creating colored name labels for various plants that will correspond to their spring use (plant sale, certain collection, trialing plants, etc.).  This process has helped streamline the process of keeping our plants organized as they go from seed to the greenhouses and ultimately back to us as plants in May.  Patrea helped process some office work and also worked on painting the window seen below.  My photo of her award winning smile today didn't turn out but her help was most appreciated.  Pat (third photo down) was bending aluminum rods to use as cord supports for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) this December.  We had this donated rod laying around and he came up with a good use.  I told him to use a vice as he was bending these on his forehead and getting dizzy.  Further below are some of our luminaries packed and ready to go out for storage.  Dr. Gredler was in for some painting and we also saw Maury, Art and some others today.

gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta)
heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)
corkscrew flower or snail vine (Vigna caracalla)
globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)
carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) mix
flossflower (Ageratum houstonianum)
purple hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab)
Joseph's coat or summer poinsettia (Amaranthus tricolor 'Perfecta')
cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)

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