Friday, November 9, 2012

Camellia 'Winter's Cupid' (white) and 'Winter's Fire' (pink)

The fall camellias are beautiful this week. If you're near DC and you've got an hour or so, it'll be a great weekend to see the Camellia Collection. These two are Arboretum releases, hardy through USDA Zone 7. They aretwo of the many hybrids created by Dr. William Ackerman to extend the range of camellias north.

Warm morning sun on a Beech

Nice roots!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall continues at the National Arboretum

I want to soak up every minute of it; it doesn't do any good to sulk about winter. It just cheats us out of the beauty that's around us now.

Springhouse Run Restoration: seed cleaning

It's actually going to happen. Springhouse Run is to be stripped of its invasives, freed from its stone lined channel, reinvented with natural meanders, and replanted with wetland plants of local provenance. It's an energetic plan and includes replacing Springhouse Pond with a bog/marsh. I'm pretty sure Heart Pond disappears too; it never was much of  a pond. Over the last month or so, Joan has been on quite a few seed collecting trips with Philip, Joe, and or volunteers. It seems like she's been to Beltsville every Monday for a month. I hear snippets of what's been collected and I'm excited about the project. The collected seeds have been stored in the headhouse; today Joan, Joe, and the Tuesday volunteers assessed and cleaned. Ultimately they need to produce some incredible number of plants. I don't remember what it is but Chris Carley did some calculations and I think it'll take 1,000 volunteers a month to do all the planting....well maybe that's an exaggeration but the actual figures were staggering. Apparently we'll be creating a temporary nursery area to handle the volume. That'll be good because it seems that just over the horizon there is a similar restoration planned for Hickey Run, which, though not channelized, is a bit longer. Good stuff to look forward to!

Backlit grasses in the Friendship Garden

Here in DC, we've just experienced the warmest.....well, the warmest everything: spring, summer, fall, winter, spring, summer, calendar year, and annual year. I guess it's only fair that the weather's a bit cold now for early November. Apparently it's supposed to stay that way. The skies don't seem to have taken on that hazy blue of winter though and the morning sun turned the Friendship Garden into a positively optimistic scene. I'm not a psephologist, but I'm going to take that as a good omen.