I can now say that I have been in public horticulture professionally for two decades now. In that time I've been asked dozens of times "What ever do you do in the winter?".
The most recent question came during the Festival of Trees, accompanied by "Do you take a two month holiday?".
I wish! I've been wanting to write a rant an essay on this for years!
Of course, for most horticulturist's, there is garden design. Here at Reeves-Reed we have both seasonal display beds, established perennial beds that need division and replacement (that Grapeleaf Anemone on the Perennial Border has no concept of "personal bubble"), supplementing new plantings like the Amphitheater that wasn't quite finished last year, and, long-overdue after all the storms we've had and mature trees lost: planning native restoration in the woodlands and on the Wildflower Trail. Which entails researching which plants can grow in soil infected with Shoestring root rot, which is really what felled our Black Oaks last year. Isaias was just the last straw.
In the Horticulture Department we've been curating plants to offer in our first annual virtual Plant Sale (there will be a live, socially distanced sale as well!).
There's still quite a lot of leaf clean-up that we're waiting for a dry non-windy day to tackle. The Bowl still to be cut down, Sumac trees to uproot, Porcelainberry vines to eradicate, and a certain noxious weed in the back Vernal Pool I've got my eye on. Oh yeah. I have interns with a very paticular set of skills. They will find you, Kudzu.
We took all of our leftover Festival trees and used them to protect our spring bulbs from chipmunks and dessicating winter winds since there is no natural insulating blanket of snow. Reducing and reusing, and we'll Recycle them in the spring so they can Rot!
I'm collaborating with the Education Department planning adult education and learning all about Zoom. Collaborating with the Volunteer Coordinator for advertising and setting up interviews with interns and volunteers. Facilitating outdoor work with horticulture volunteers, including planting those bulbs that we didn't get a chance to get to back in October!
February is almost here, and then it will be time to take out all of those tropical tubers and bulbs and begin potting them up for the new growing season!
Look at those monsters!
We'll begin the first pruning of the many roses in the rose garden that month as well to give us a head start for the real "hard" prune in March when the buds begin to break. Last year was the first time we did it that way and it made such a difference in getting the proper cuts in when we weren't fighting eight feet of thorny Rugosa Roses!
Winter is a great time to catch up on CEU's and attend trade shows, although this year I'll have to find new avenues.
We're meeting with vendors and renewing contracts and getting new quotes.
But I think the biggest part of this here gal's winter in horticulture is housekeeping. And I'll leave that at at that.
Not featured is my collection of soup bowls and coffee cups. They have been strategically moved out of the shot.
(But they have not been thrown out or washed)
Danger, the Children of the Corn are here
My office on a good day
The Hoop house transformed from a holiday explosion into a well-ventilated socially-distanced class space
This brand new work space is obviously mine
The dungeon basement hall
It's gonna get greener before it gets cleaner!
And even if I may be stuck in an office typing a blog, or in attic or basement reorganizing boxes this winter, there is still my favorite part of Public Horticulture that I get to enjoy when I step out to stretch my legs: you, the public.