Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Week Ago

One week ago at this time I was at the NRCS office in Los Lunas looking at the most amazing grass. Dude, not like that!
One of the things the NRCS does is grow seed for conservation in out National Parks and Forests. We visited at the exact perfect time. The grasses were at peak harvest so there were fields and fields of grasses with their lovely seed heads dancing in the wind. Plus, we were there in the morning so the lighting was dramatic and beautiful. You haven't lived until you've seen a couple of acres of alkalai muhly grass in bloom.
We picked up some plants for the Uplands Garden too. We stopped at half a truckload knowing that we were going to be heading to Santa Fe and visiting nurseries there.
And after a lovely lunch at Frank's Sandwiches, Santa Fe was exactly where we were headed. We both had the Sombrero. It was more or less a burrito with fantastic green chili. Like that is hard to find in New Mexico, right? Mmmmm.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at Santa Fe Greenhouses aka High Country Gardens. They are wonderful. David has been such a great supporter of the Gardens for the last couple of years. Plus their plants are just fabulous. We could have spent all night there looking and talking about plants.
But we didn't. We had bigger fish to fry. Well, a campsite to find and set up. We camped just outside of town in a great little campground. You drive around downtown until you come to the big pink building. Turn right onto Bishop's Lodge, then right again on Artist's Way (!) and drive until you get to the first campground you see and there you are.
It was a big day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Girls are Here!

Any of you who heard me on "What's Sprouting" radio edition on KAFM a couple of weeks ago heard me talking about "Bring Your Chicken to Work Day". It took me a couple of weeks to get everything arranged but here they are! The black one is Emily and the red one is Dora. Watch out for Dora, she'll take a piece out of you.

I'm hoping they will do a number on our weeds and so far it looks like my plan is working. I think I can actually fit four fine hens into the chicken carrier so we will have even more pecking power.

As you can see, the girls are thrilled to be here!

Day Three

You know? Gardeners and technology just do not mix. Like getting the formatting in this blog to work right. I'd just rather go in the gardens and pull weeds instead of mess with it. Anyway, Kenton forgot the camera and I either let the battery on the laptop run down or I couldn't find a wireless internet connection. Drat. It was a great trip so you'll get a blow by blow account, just a week late.
Let's see.... Last Monday I was waking up in a bagel shop parking lot in Durango. And dang was it cold. Around 37. I guess it was cold in Junction, too. Waking up in a parking lot. I know what you are thinking and it wasn't like that.
You see Kelley from Timberline Nursery in Arvada and Kenton's pal and plant guru Allen both loaded us up with so many plants we had to detour back to the Gardens to drop them off. So that got us a little bit of a late start. We left the Gardens around 6pm or so and by the time we made it to Durango it was late and dark so we found the first likely parking lot and pulled in. We were traveling on a shoestring, a frayed and old shoestring.
Breakfast was great. Hot coffee. Fresh and yummy donuts and a chorizo breakfast burrito. Then it was time to hit the road. We had important meetings with Jon and Dale at the Albuquerque Botanic Gardens. Things to do. People to see and all that.
Jon and Dale were amazing. Jon is the Operations Manager and he shed some light on irrigation issues. I could have spent all day with him but I only got an hour and a half. Dale runs their butterfly house. It is a seasonal butterfly house and will be closing for the season in October but he still had a lot of good information that will help us keep improving our own cute, little butterfly house. We spent a lot of time in their Japanese Garden. It is huge and not quite done. They've been opening it up bit by bit. I was there two years ago when they opened the first section. They've since added about 1/3 more and it looked like they still had more to go.
It was interesting talking to Jon and Dale. The Albuquerque Botanic Gardens are run by the city. Jon had previously worked at a non-profit before being lured away by the Albuquerque Botanic Gardens. So we asked him what is the difference working for the city and working for a non-profit. He said that at the non-profit there wasn't ever any money. He paused then said that working for the city there wasn't ever any money. We got a good laugh out of that.
I recommend you check out the Albuquerque Botanic Gardens. Especially their children's garden. When I was first there all that was there was the hardscape. There were no plants and I thought it was just awful. However, in the past two years they added the plants and it looks fantastic. The theme is "gigantic". They have these huge pots with huge plants in them. They have roots growing down so you can see them underground. They have gigantic insects. And an enormous rotted tree trunk you can run around it. The kid in me went nuts. We were there after hours but I can imagine that kids would have a riot in that garden.
It took a little pressure off of me. Our children's garden was never fully realized. The plan wasn't followed and what was done was never documented. It has been a sore spot for me since I've been at the Gardens. I made me realize once again that gardens can't be rushed. You have to have a plan and you have to have funding. More importantly you have to have people who believe in your garden and want to work on it and in it. I'll be focusing on our children's garden for the next couple of years. Let me know if you are interested. I can use all the help I can get.
We ended up at a friend of Kenton's for the night. Whew. I don't know if I could have taken another night in the front seat of the truck. Kenton's friend had a great garden, of course. He had taken out his front lawn and was landscaping it with veronica, thyme, lavender, hyssop and a bunch of other xeric plants. The thing I liked the best was how "flirty" it is. He designed it so that the visitor had to brush up against these beautiful, sweet-smelling plants. It was also really formal and geometric. I can hardly wait to see what it looks like next year.
So that was last Monday. Have a good Monday this Monday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day One

Good Morning Everyone!

It is officially day two but I'll give you a quick rundown of yesterday. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. We met with Michelle and we found out we have a lot in common with them. They also lease their garden from the city, well the Town of Vail. They have a small staff and everyone is doing more than one job. Funding is an issue but they are in a different tax bracket so while I'd be thrilled with what they have for operating funds, they have a whole different budget. They are twice as old as the WCBG so it gives me an idea of where we can be in another ten years. Way cool. Nice folks. Fantastic plants. the next time you are heading to (or from) Denver, stop off and visit. It is more or less the halfway point and a great place to stretch your legs and have a snack. It is the second Vail exit either way your are driving. Handy, huh?

We were supposed to have a 2 hour meeting and a tour at the DBG with Panayoti Keladais and Matthew Cole but it turned out to be 5 hours. Mattew gave us a private after hours tour for another hour or so (have I mentioned lately that I love my job?).

There are great things in the future for the WCBG and the DBG and a whole lotta other gardens in Colorado. Yes. This is the big tease. You won't see the fruition of these talks for another year or two but trust me, it is going to be cool.

At the moment I am blogging to you live from DBG. They have free wi-fi (we have it at WCBG too!) and I'm taking advantage of it.

The DBG's fall bulb and plant sale was this morning. I restrained myself and ended up with only seven plants. But they are fabulous. Sadly none of them will be at the Gardens. They are mine, all mine. Bwahahahaha. (That is supposed to be an evil laugh.)

That is it for now. We are off to deliver the six headed yucca recurvifolia and most likely a couple more plant purchases. Kenton has been taking tons of photos and hopefully by tonight we will be able to figure out how to download them so we can share them with you.

Have a good day. Catch you later.

PS I wonder how Calabash is going. If you don't have anything going on you should head down to the Gardens and check it out. It sounds like fun.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Out of the Office

Why do I have to go on vacation in order to update the blog regularly?

Is is because I was being interviewed for the evening news? Or because there are huge things afoot in the gift store? New pupa in the greenhouse? Calabash? Robb River Rally? Baby bananas in the greenhouse? Is it the fact that we are planning the greatest holiday extravaganza ever? Ordering more plants for Shozan-en? Or that I was on the radio? Planning a new garden that will begin installation in just a few short weeks? Pulling weeds? Hangin' with the volunteers? The annual appeal? (Come on now, I beseech thee to look deep into your heart and then deep into your wallet to support your most favorite botanic garden). I'm eating too many tomatoes from the Community Garden? Fiddling with the irrigation controller? Those crazy orange gazanias? Board meetings? Staff meetings? Just plain old meetings, meetings, meetings, galore? I'm admiring the sunflower patch a little too much? Could it be the fence is moving or we're getting lighting in the greenhouses? What ever the reason, you'll be getting daily updates from your Horticultural Correspondents for the next week or so. (Provided we can get an internet signal).

Kenton and I are off on a botanical adventure. We're starting in Denver (big things happening there for sure) then continuing south to visit friends at botanic gardens, the NRCS and garden centers from here to Bernallio. Hold on to your hat Hannah, its going to be a thrilling ride.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mea Culpa!

Is it the 9th already? 09-09-09. I'm not going to be able to write that one for a while.

Look at this good lookin' bunch.

Chinle Gardeners at the September 9 Garden Party at the WCBG from left: Dave Kennedy, Maryann Benoit, Al Severson, & Tom Burrows. Don Campbell is hiding behind the camera.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

How do you like the updates the WCBG website? I love them. It means you can get to the blog via the WCBG home page. Hmmm. I think that means I need to update more than I have been. ;) The updates to the website will take some time too so be patient. It will all be done soon.

So many things happen in the gardens every day it is hard to concentrate on one thing. Plus there has been a whole lotta' planning going on (yes, you should hear Jerry Lee Lewis singing at that last bit). As exciting as planning is to those of us who have a beaurocratic bent it isn't really all that thrilling. I mean who really gets all excited over a 3 inch mainline? Really. Really? Send 'em over!

The flowers are looking beautiful in that end of summer way. I see that the cottonwoods are already displaying flashes of gold. Fall is on its way. Me, too.

See ya!