Ordering plants, GPS, and designing
This past week I went with Bob and Paula to their supplier for annuals- Reynold’s Greenhouses- to reorder annuals for the spring/summer planting next year. It was a really interesting experience, because they know the grower- Sean- really well, and he really tries to give them good advice on which plants they should grow and order. The three have a good relationship; Sean offers them good plants, tries to give them tips on ways to buy plants for cheaper, and how each cultivar will perform in the garden environment. I was personally amazed to see how well Bob and Paula remembered what each cultivar looked like, how it performed and where it was planted. And they order about 35,000 plants at a time! Very impressive.
Also last week, a representative from Trimble came to the gardens- a GPS supplier. The garden is going to buy a couple GPS units, and we are going to try to map out where all the plants in the living collection are, and where the paths and streams are. It’s going to be a very large project, but I think it will be really useful. They are talking about making a map of the data points, and overlaying it on a topographic map of the gardens in AutoCAD.
We met with the people at the Quapaw House, and it turns out we were misinformed as it is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, where clients stay for a 28 day treatment program. The grounds are nice, they have a couple acres, surrounded by woods, but with no plants growing there at all. It’s basically just grass and trees, so our job is going to be pretty big. We only have $5,000 to work with, and hopefully we can get some supplies donated. Our first goal is to be to design some sort of vegetable or herb garden that the clients can take care of, and they can benefit from fresh ingredients in the kitchen. Our second goal is to ‘fix’ the smoking area, and make it more welcoming, and not so crummy. It is a little fenced in area behind the building, but it is mostly bare rocky soil and cement, so that will be tricky to design something for. Another goal is to add color to the place- and liven it up a little bit. These ideas are floating around, and we recently picked up the plans for the building so we can get started working on that. So far, I think this is my favorite project, maybe because there is the possibility of creating a useful garden, or because we are allowed to do anything we want to the grounds, with the sky as the limit.
This next week we will be working on this project a lot and our individual projects, because Bob is in Pasadena for the week. I will also be shadowing Paula for a day, to see what it is exactly that she does.
I talked with Bob before he left, and we discussed my goals for the internship- one of them being to learn about IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices at the gardens- and he gave me a project to research the four main pests here at the gardens, talk with Plant Bob about what they spray now, and what we can use to manage these pests in a more eco-friendly way. I’m excited about that project, and it will be interesting to see how that pans out.