Saturday, January 19, 2013

We're going to have some cold temperatures next week 12F?

 Camellia sasanqua 'Hiryu'

So we picked camellias this morning. I can see this plant over the top of my computer but the flowers are nice in a sunny window too.

Friday January 18 at the National Arboretum

From  the top: Sunrise over the Youth Garden; A Prunus mume flowering  on Prunus Hill; Camellia 'Lady Clara'; Idesia polycarpa fruit; Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'

It had been cloudy for a week with rain here and there and those of us most prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder were indeed sad. biting cold, no snow, just depressingly gray weather. The day didn't start out spectacularly but it turned into the kind of day that makes you glad you're alive. And glad you're a gardener. I spread gravel on trails in the morning and blew paths in the afternoon but the day was so wonderful that it didn't matter I could only smile agreement with the visitor who opined that I had the greatest job in the world.

It isn't especially early but it's still great to see the Flowering apricots beginning their season.'Lady Clara' is really 'Akashigata', a Japanese camellia renamed in the country. Not a good practice in my opinion. It doesn't always flower in the winter but then this has been an interesting winter! The Idesia is quite a large tree, maybe 80 feet?. I left this branch on it so there would be some low hanging fruit. Literally. That planting of 'The Blues' shows the grass at its winter finest. I have loved the cultivar since I first met it and recommend it highly. It's almost prettier in the summer when it is blue, but the low sun of winter just, just,.... Well anyway, I like the way the interns used it in this design.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tom Abell retired today after working 43 years for the US Natioanal Arboretum

Tom hasworked with Sue Bentz for at least 25 of those years, and could do just about anything that needed to be done. I enjoyed the days when Tom was around, he often worked at South Farm, because he was pretty nearly always cheerful. On those odd occasions when he wasn't, it didn't take more than a little nudge to bring him back.

Lynn Batdort, for some reason, has collected the names of USNA employees who have left during his tenure. From this database, he compiled a lit of those who left during Tom's tenure. He added to this a number of old photographs many including Tom from back in the day and much reminiscing went on. In this picture Pat Lynch, Chris Carley, Carole Bordelon, and Tom (left to right )are enjoying their memories.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It was 60F this morning at 5:00am.....Wow!

It's like not having winter at all. And there's lots of fog. Yesterday we woke up to fog that then stayed with us all day. It either lasted through the night, I think, or reappeared this morning. Makes driving to work exciting. There was no winter last year; it was, I believe, the warmest on record. It's getting a little scary. The good news is that just next week, the forecasts suggest that we'll get down to 18 or 19F on consecutive nights. We've been spoiled though; back in the day, say 10 years ago, 18 degrees would have seemed like a pretty benign temperature for mid January. Now it seems like the end of the world.....until we think about it. When we got back from Florida, I checked the heating degree days for the season and we're about 20% warmer than average. That could change quickly if we had a month of moderately cold weather. I almost hope it does. All sorts of unlikely flowers are blooming; the scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'? outside the headhouse is beautiful!

At least the days are getting longer at both ends now. After sitting at 7:27am for two weeks, we finally gained a minute last week. Tomorrow we'll gain another, 7:25. Hooray! For the rest of this week we'll gain a minute every other day. Next Wednesday we'll experience two consecutive days where we gain a minute in the morning and a minute in the evening. Spring will get here someday.