Polar Express (not the movie)

The photo above sums up the weather today although you should insert blowing snow and sub zero temperatures in to this scene for the complete picture on another polar experience.  My blog title is in reference to the fact that despite the closure of the Parker Education Center due to the cold, we had some great volunteer assistance today including some brave souls out in the gardens.  The photo directly below is of a very neat poster that Ken Tapp donated to the gardens which includes many of his best shots of monarchs in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children’s Garden last year.  Our “Pollinator’s Paradise” theme in this garden was very successful in 2014 for the second year in a row.  That garden space will go back to our “Smelly Garden” theme in 2015 which was well-received back in 2011 and 2012.  We’ll continue to explore plants for scent (flower and foliage) and plans for many of our other 2015 collections are well under way.


Most of the images in the blog today show some of the significant progress that has already occurred with taking in elements of the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) which experienced a record crowd of 27,035 attendees this year.  The image above shows just the beginning of some of our thousands of drop cords that ultimately get wrapped up and packed away efficiently.  This past HLS included the addition of over 40,000 new lights so storage had become a concern.  Pat M. came up with the idea to use the giant spools you see in the photos below for lights storage….The lights on the spools (donated!) directly below were from our half gallon milk jug luminaries.  “Storage via spool” will only take up 1/4 of the space of our crating system which we’ll still have to use regardless.  The HLS isn’t over for us until the last set of lights and the last cord is safely stowed away in our garage.


The images directly above and directly below will have a close relationship in terms of proximity both now and in the summer of this year.  The Grumpies are building these giant rulers which will be placed out in the New & Improved Jungle Garden this year which will feature many of the plants you see below.  Visitors will be able to see the increasing height of “the jungle” by viewing these rulers out in the gardens (idea stolen from the Green Botanic Garden to be honest!).  These tropical plants seen below are in the Horticulture Center for safekeeping and although temperatures (including drafts) and lighting aren’t ideal, we hope to utilize this material in five months!


Above are Gary B. (left) and Dr. Gredler processing cords.  Pat M. headed out to collect lights and was also working with the spools inside for continued processing of incoming lights.  Larry and Gene (new Grumpy) went outside for over 2 hours to bring in more lights.  Below (left to right) are Ron Y., Dave, Bob K. and Vern (Jim off camera) working on multiple carpentry projects including our 2015 Garden Art Project (more to follow soon on that event).  Bill O. came in to help out and Maury ran more errands.  We also saw Rollie, Janice and many others today.  I made it through two more catalogs and have started determining vegetable selections for our big Spring Plant Sale (mark your calendars for Mother’s Day weekend!) which will again feature a wide range of veggies, herbs, perennials, shrubs, bagged compost, etc.