Saturday, February 6, 2010

Here's the thing, it's never snowed this much here before

Okay, I know...enough snow. Still we don't often, actually we never have this much snow. This morning it looks to be a bit over 20 inches and we're expecting another 4-8. I shoveled out the front door about midnight. Did it again this morning and a path to the back of the deck so I could better survey the destruction and beauty. I don't care what happens to the bamboo; actually snow enhances it, permanently forming it into an arching tunnel over the path. The 'Sky Pencil' Japanese holly given to me by Gene Eisenbeiss thats gone from a nice 10 foot tall spire to that splayed curiosity in the right foreground....that may require work. I suppose I ought to have done some prophylactic staking and tieing, but hey, worst case scenario I cut it to 2-3 feet and it starts over. George was collecting chainlock last week and I know they worked on some of the fastigiate specimens in the Gotelli Collection. Snow does set the confiers off nicely if it doesn't break them off.

Friday, February 5, 2010

If you like snow and we don't have enough for you.....

Here is a link to a lot of of of well...I'm speechless. And I'm hardly ever speechless but it's worth taking a few minutes.

The before picture. Not quite monochromatic, but certainly less colorful than those flower in Polyouse 8!

On sunny days the Hamamelis seem quite brilliantly colored, but this wasn't a sunny day. The snow started falling about 10:00 and because Federal employees in Washington were released 4 hours early, We were free to go at 11:00. I hung around till 1:00 though.  I couldn't help myself. It took two hours to get home but it was well worth it.

I'll take this picture again on Monday or whenever we go back to work. The forecast has been increased to 2-3 feet of snow. I'm thinking 3 feet could shut us down for a while.

This is not the Venus of Willendorf, she's the Venus of Gotelli

And she's part Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle......That was mean. I think the 40+F temperatures of the last two days were just too much for her hairdo. I don't know the Arboretum's official position on snow sculpture, but this seems relatively harmless and positively amusing

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hippeastrum, Hatiora, and Salvia....It's going to be cloudy and snow for the next two days so I need to stock up some color...polyhouse 7 is alway a good place to look

Brad seems to have a new strategy for Amaryllis: grow them in the polyhouses and move the cut stems when the flowers open. They seem to last forever that way and it allows for far more flowers in a smaller space. 

I grew Drunkard's Dream (because the leaves/stem segments look like bottles), Hatiora salicornoides when I was about 12 years old. I've always like it. It's an epiphytic cactus from Brazil and eventually forms a moppish weeping mound. Brad has a couple of largish plants in flower now. 

The Herb Garden  holdings are a pretty dependable place to look for flowers; there's always a Salvia or a Pelargonium blooming. This Salvia, Salvia iodantha Louis Saso form is awfully nice for a pink flower. Just kidding, I love pink flowers, at least I like them a lot.

I went to polyhouse 7 today to look for cheerful plants and I found a cheerful person!

I'm glad Meg is volunteering though I don't know where she finds the time. She's always in school, usually has a handful of jobs and designs gardens. I miss having her around. She's pretty nearly always infectuously happy and you can't have too much of that. She was propagating/potting for Brad. I've been admiring these Begonias all winter.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Zygopetalum in the Administration Building Lobby

It's beautiful, and not especially difficult to rebloom, not necesarily to the standards of this plant that has at least a dozen flowering stems. I seem to be able to get two or three stems on mine by keeping it in an unobstructed south window in the winter and summering it outside in full sun.

Tweeking is going on with the table arrangements for the volunteer appreciation luncheon today at the Arboretum...GrayC demands perfection

Young, Kayla, and GrayC created a lot of spectacular arrangements. Most are fragrant.

We do appreciate our volunteers. It is frightening to imagine where we would be without all their work. And they are pretty generally good cooks, so I'm looking forward to today!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Another Monday, another chainsaw project. Pat cut this square of ice from the Admin Building Pool

It's got a nice color doesn't it? It's been pretty cold; cold enough to create almost three inches of ice after two fairly warm weeks.

Cornus sanguinea 'Winter Beauty'

Snow sets it off a bit don't you thin? It's not a native, but it's strikingly beautiful. This plant is just a hundred feet or so past the Dogwood Collection parking lot and easily visible from the road.

Roland Behnke retired president of Behnke's Nurseries died January 16

Roland's father, Albert founded the Nursery in 1930, and Roland grew up living in and working at Behnke''s. I always liked Roland. He left the military to become president of Behnke's, was there when I started in 1982, and continued in the position until he retired in 1995. Behnke's was a sizeable operation even then and Roland could, no doubt, have spent his time upstairs in his office, or out doing executive kinds of things, but that wasn't the way he rolled. You were at least as likely to see Roland with his toolbox as not. He repaired, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, ventilators, mechanical doors.... Hands on guy. And he ran the Nursery.

There's an old saw in retail, "the customer is always right" and the idea that if a customer has a good experience they likely won't tell anybody, but if they have a bad experience, they'll tell everybody they know. Roland stood up for employees if a customer was wrong and unpleasant. It took perception and courage to tell a customer that, "we don't need your business." I don't suppose he did it a lot, but it's definitely in the folklore. Both Karen and Pat brought it up as I reminisced with them. Personally, I don't think it cost Behnke's business either. We all know people who are continually getting into confrontational situations and while we may nod and sympathize when they tell their horror stories, I suspect we quietly reserve judgment. Roland never disallowed a legitimate grievance. Still, it's an uncommon thing for most clerks to have management stand up for them no matter how wrong the customer. It seems to be one thing everybody remembers about Roland.

The odd thing that sticks with me about Roland is his fascination....I resist the word obsession....with Live Oaks. He was always pestering us to find him sources for that iconic evergreen of the old south. At the time, I didn't attend too much to this curious fixation, but you know, I think that what with one thing and another, Llke global warming, and the issues that attend most of the other oak species, I have come around to the opinion that we ought to be looking seriously at this tree to become a significant component of our landscaping palette. I don't think I ever gave Roland enough credit. Sorry.

Memorial service Thurs, Feb 4 at 3pm at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Greenbelt.
6905 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770-3301
(301) 345-5111