5.07.2010

My Gardens - National Public Garden Day

After I have worked for a public garden I consider it mine. In honor of National Public Garden Day I'll tell you some little known facts about my gardens:
  • Chicago Botanic Garden - Glenco, Illinois
  • Reiman Gardens - Ames, Iowa
  • Longwood Gardens - Kennet Square, Pennsylvania
  • Taltree Arboretum and Gardens- Valparaiso, Indiana
Chicago Botanic Garden
My first public garden was Chicago Botanic Garden where I was an intern for Alana Mezo in the Fruit and Vegetable Garden. After this internship I knew I wanted Alana's job. I wanted to be a horticulturist when I grew up. Little known fact: Chicago Botanic is a series of "islands" in a "lake". It is actually a series of raised bumps in a swamp. Fruit and Vegetable Island had a huge ground squirrel population the summer I was there. They ate all the bean, squash and melon seedlings! We used have-a-heart traps to live catch the little buggers and transport them off the "island". In the end we caught and relocated 19 ground squirrels. The great part of gardening on an island they didn't come back! Also bonus, no deer!  Although the raccoons would swim over and tear down the grape arbor to get a midnight bunch. 

Reiman Gardens 
I was a intern at Reiman Gardens. This little gem is located right off Iowa State Univeristy's Campus. It's 16 acres of winding paths and many little garden rooms. This is the place for the home gardener to get ideas. They also have a butterfly wing conservatory that is an absolute treat. Little known fact: when they first opened up the butterfly wing they had a major problem. The acute angled roof confused butterflies and they would run into the glass committing butterfly suicide. There would be little piles of dead butterflies in the corners the entomologist had to clean up every morning before visitors could come in. They fixed the problem by hanging nets in the corners to keep the butterflies from getting up there. Currently Reiman is housing the World's Largest Cement Garden Gnome.

Longwood Gardens
I love internships. This was my fourth and final internship and it was a year long. Longwood is considered the Kew Garden of America. It's an old DuPont Estate. There are so many fascinating facts. Here's a good one. Longwood does a big Fourth of July lighted, dancing fountains and fireworks display all choreographed to music. It is impressive. But even more impressive is the staff wets down all the plant material the day before and even has sprinklers running over some of the more valuable specimen plants during the show because one year a very old hemlock bush burned from some way ward sparks. There are even a couple bushes with fire damage if you know where to look. Another fun fact is there is a secret passage from the Longwood house to the conservatory so Pierre didn't have to go outside in the winter to get to the green houses.  One more thing, in the above picture is me in the lily pond and as you can see the pools aren't that deep.  So to get a nice reflective surface for showing off the Victorian Hybrid Waterlilies developed at Longwood they dye the water black so it looks dark, deep and opaque. 

Taltree Arboretum and Gardens
This is my newest garden. I started working here as a horticulturist three months ago. This is the first garden I have worked at that is actively growing. There are huge plans in the works. A model railway garden is set to open next spring (2011). Plans also include a visitor's center and children's garden. The arboretum continues to grow and newly acquired forest is set to have a trail laid through it this summer. Fun fact: the model railway garden will also show case a collection of dwarf conifers. There are over 1000 varieties of plants ordered to go in this two acre area. I'm learning a lot about dwarf conifers as I am set to be the horticulturist for this area. In the picture above is part of my garden area the pavilion. 

6 comments:

  1. I particularly like the photo of the pond. That looks like fun. My job is at a desk and computer most of the time. I'm just a bit zealous.

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  2. I agree, I have a desk job as well, and when I see these beautiful gardens I want to switch careers!

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  3. Horticulture is always a labor of love. The Huggington Post list it as one of the Top Ten Lowest Paying Degrees!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/06/the-worst-paying-college_n_566518.html#s88564

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  4. What an interesting post - thankyou for sharing 'your' gardens with us :)

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  5. This is such a cool post. Very interesting! And as an artist I can totally appreciate the 'labor of love' aspect of horticulture that you speak of in another comment. We certainly don't get paid much, now do we? At least you get to work outside in such beautiful places.

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  6. This is a song I wrote titled "Taltree Butterflies" this is what this place feels like, Just like this song, Taltree is guaranteed to change your mood. http://www.broadjam.com/artists/songs.php?artistID=13165&mediaID=384187

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