This week in Fairchild

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We are truly in the midst of our rainy season.  So far during this month we have received 6.34 inches of rain.  The total for the year is 19.11 inches, most of that occuring the last two weeks of May and this month.  As many of you know, we have our own weather station.  It is located on the roof of the Garden House and the data is sent to a computer station in the plant records office.  Check out the current conditions online via our Web site.

This week three of our horticulture staff are in St. Louis, attending the annual meeting of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA).  This is a wonderful opportunity to meet staff of other gardens, attend discussions of various public gardens topics, and visit local institutions.  I hope to have our attendees report on some of the information they gleened from these meetings in a future blog.



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Albizia niopoides and cleaned area next to pergola

Some of the Hort staff have removed some plants adjacent to the north end of the vine pergola to open a vista so that the impressive buttressed roots of the Albizia niopoides may be seen by visitors as they walk up the brick pathway between the Visitor Center and the pergola.  Next time you visit, check it out.  Some of the removed plants were relocated to other locations in the garden.  Yesterday, before the deluge of rain, my volunteer, Ginny, and I took cuttings of the Ruttya fruticosa before it was moved.  R. fruticosa produces pretty orange flowers which have a large black dot near the center.  This shrub is a very good hummingbird attractant.  We placed 108 cuttings on the mist bench in the nursery .  Look for this species at future plant sales.





  />Yesterday we also planted seeds of <em>Anthurium clavigerum</em> a beautiful species with incredible lobed leaves.  These will be grown for future sales.  Tuesday afternoon I wanted to take a photo of the plant from which the seeds were collected.  As I walked through the rainforest to take the photograph I saw that our grounds crew and their supervisor Ricardo were busy spreading mulch and opening areas up to make the stream more visible.  If you haven't ventured down our paved rainforest trails, you must do so during your next visit!  Our rainforest is one of my absolute favorite areas of Fairchild.  Although we called the two acre location the rainforest for many years, in 1999-2000, paved paths and a stream with cascades and waterfalls were added.  It is so incredible!  We worried a bit about the affect of the slightly brackish water in the stream (from Glade Lake) on surrounding vegetation, but plants along the stream are thriving.  We periodically have to thin out some of the plants along the stream so visitors can see it.  As you walk on the paths, you can hear the stream flowing over and around rocks and under the tram roads.  The rainforest is a really




 Zebra longwing butterfly depositing an egg on Passiflora


We are sprucing up the Lisa Anness Butterfly Garden in anticipation of the Butterfly Days, July 25 and 26.  More coonties, corky-stemmed passionflowers, red pentas, buddleias and milkweeds are being planted.  The passionflowers, Passiflora suberosa arrived with caterpillars munching on their leaves!  Oh well, this will bring even more butterflies to this beautiful exhibit.   Visit this exhibit mid-day or in the afternoon to see the most butterflies.  It seems that butterflies prefer to visit flowers to gather nectar or leaves upon which they lay eggs in the warmest part of the day.