Last night I did a presentation at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI). I presented on how to create a "Pollinator's Paradise" and used our very successful example from the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden (2013). We're excited to have this same theme for 2014 with some fun twists and tweaks from last year including the incorporation of our All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden. This garden will also serve as our entry in to the third annual AAS Display Garden Contest that we have won the past two years. We're excited to participate again in 2014! My presentation was well received with minimal heckling and no thrown objects (this time). I went up early so I could catch some daylight and tour the gardens. I've included some photos of very nice winter interest that I ran across as I avoided (unsuccessfully) puddles, ice and wet snow. Olbrich is one of my favorite gardens and I knew I would catch some interest from winter containers (see above), colorful stems, ornamental bark, etc. Below are some other features of interest that I captured in a cool drizzle.
ornamental bark of paperbark maple (Acer griseum)
ornamental bark of three-flower maple (Acer triflorum)
ornamental bark of China Snow Peking lilac (Syringa pekinensis 'Morton')
stems of coralbark willow (Salix alba subsp. vitellina 'Britzensis')
exfoliating (peeling) bark of the seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides) - grove of three
showy yellow-twig dogwood (Cornus sp.) - unknown variety
showy red-twig dogwood (Cornus sp.) - unknown variety
winter containers still looking good
dried flowers on a panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
this statue at Olbrich represents the long winter quite well
It was a busy day for volunteer traffic at the Horticulture Center. Above are Patrea (left) and Kay working on processing plant sale labels for our various vegetables that will be offered. They did a nice job and were kind enough to place their empty beer bottles out of this shot. We'll include plant listings for the sale on our website very soon. We ultimately produce, process and utilize over 20,000 of these labels as part of the sale. Pat was in most of the day bringing in Holiday Lights Show (HLS) elements and displays. He has personally done the bulk of the HLS work over this winter and has proven to be the hardiest of all of us with his ability to work consistently outside during this brutal winter. Dr. Gredler (below) continued with some painting projects including work on our trash bins. The bottom photo might give you an idea of our big color theme this year as one of these bins will be located in the entrance garden... Janice came in and we met with Patrea regarding the Thomas Jefferson Collection that we'll be displaying this year. Cindy has also helped with the research and we've narrowed down our selections for this year to include 100+ varieties of historic vegetables, herbs, annuals and perennials. This should be lots of fun and we're growing plants we've never tried before! We also saw Jenny E., Dave E., Bob K., Urban M., Dick H., Gena S., Karen B., Sylvia, Jean S. and many others. I'm still working on ordering plants, recruiting volunteers for our spring events (email me) and getting ready for a busy spring.