Saturday, January 29, 2011

I don't know why I do these things! The filters were there in my editing program and I just couldn't help myself

It has been gray and white and not very warm so I craved some plants with color. First we tried Brookside Gardens but apparently they lost their power in the mid-week snowstorm so the Conservatory was closed. We went down he road to Behnke's and they were open so I wandered around in the houseplant greenhouse and here and there. There was plenty of color but the light wasn't great for photography and when I downloaded the pictures....well, they needed something.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it!

GrayC is catalog shopping for plants....and getting paid for it; it's part of her job. Actually many of us do a bit of this but because of the nature of her garden (the Herb Garden) she spends more time at it than most of us. The happy look on her face is because she's showing Michael Penstemon 'Iron Maiden', a plant named after her favorite band.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jeanette brought Sam, her inquisitive, intrepid, ambulatory son to lunch today

He seemed to like everybody but was partial to Coley. Time flies when children are growing.

Usnea sp., Beard Lichen, fruiting on my desk. I'm glad to hear terraria? are back in style

Before leaving Florida earlier this month I walked around the garden, picked up the dead branches that had fallen out of the Live Oaks while we were there, and dumped them in the back of the truck.. They were covered with mosses, lichens, and bromeliads. The first day back at the Arboretum I discovered this plastic candy container on the lunchroom table. After looking at it for a couple days it occured to me that it would make a good terrarium. I broke off an appropriate lenngth of an interestingly populated branch, ran a bit of water into the terrarium, and popped the branch in. I know it won't last forever but after two weeks everything seems fine.

The Usnea sp. is cool, uneartly even. I first saw it in the Okefenokee swamp many years ago. This could be the same species. Apparently there are quite a few species some with ranges that extend well into Canada. The name Usnea is the source of the specific epithet for Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides. Parenthetically, the Spanish Moss that we festooned the Live Oaks in the National Grove of State Trees with is still alive three years later.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The weather drove everyone inside today: Coley divided and potted tropicals, aroids I think

Coley has been here since last summer. He interned with Brad and we liked him so much we found money, obviously not an easy thing these days, enough to keep him on for an 180 day appointment. That will end this Friday and he must go. Joan has organized a pizza luncheon for his last day. I like pizza but I'd give it up for a good while if we could keep Coley on.

Am I craving sun and heat more or are these succulent?

Today we had rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain and gloom. In light of a forecast calling for a resumption of precipitation in the form of "thundersnow" accumulating at 2+"/hour, the Federal Government sent non-essential workers home two hours early. Once in a while it's good to be non-essential. So now I'm home waiting for the show to begin. Before I left I walked through the greenhouses. The succulents called out to me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The lights are on but no one's home at the Adminstration Building

Except there seem to be crews of people steadily laboring on the renovation. The last I heard they were on schedule, even a bit ahead. Maybe they'll finish on time. The building has a "vacant" look. Perhaps it's the missing windows, or the temporary chain-link fence, or the active piles of dirt...

For a couple of years,or was it three?, yes three, I did four design appointments a day for Behnke's. Five days a week. Two hour meeting, one hour to travel. Do it again, and again, and then one more time. Don't ask. Because the appointments often necessitated the client leaving work early, I occasionally got there before they did. I swear I got to a point where I could sense whether a house was occupied or not. I admit that sometimes there are clues, overt or subtle, but not every time. And there were times I sweat I could "feel" whether a house was empty or not.

One one occasion I got the distinct feeling that the house was occupied. It was the first appointment of the day so I was probably a little early but not a lot. I rang the bell. Nothing. I waited 10 minutes and rang again. Still nothing. I called on my cell phone. No answer. After 45 minutes with no response, I left......The client called me about an hour later. He had been trapped in a shed in his backyard by a large buck attending upon half a dozen does. He'd been there all the time. I knew it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

To get my plant fix today, I went trolling in the warm greenhouses

It was 11F when I got up this morning....not so much going on plantwise outside. I ran into Brad in Polyhouse 7 while I was watering the few plants we have in there. He showed me some of his plants annd told me some stories. Apparently the 2'+ Joshua Trees he's been growing from seed these past 5? years (I remember when they were germinating in a seed flat) aren't Yuccca brevifolia. The good news is that the species he's now identified them as is likely hardy here. That would be cool.

He showed me the seeds from Scott's, Kevin's, and GrayC's collecting trip in the propagation house. They are germinating nicely. The cuttings of Buddleia colvillei I stuck late last fall have rooted so I'll pot them up this week. Nathan, Amanda, and I are going to work outside tomorrow and, I hope, Wednesday; at least we will if it doesn't snow too much Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunrise January 23, 2011 in Adelphi Maryland

It was cold this morning, 16F, when I took this picture at 7:30. Officially the sun rose at 7:21 which, though a marginal improvement at best over 7:27, nevertheless represents a gain of day length. Any gain is better than slippage. Today will be 39 minutes longer than December 21 and tonight 39 minutes shorter. Starting Monday next we'll be adding two full minutes of daylight every day. That's a good thing.