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Shades of Red: New Trials & the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

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Verbena x hybrida Lanai Twister Red
(Image from FleuroSelect)

The California Spring Trials, an annual week-long event featuring the newest and improved additions to the horticulture industry, will take place pretty soon in several locations near Santa Cruz. Sneak peaks are reflecting what’s been passing through the greenhouse recently, and I’ve been seeing quite a few shades of red.

The usual dizzying array of petunias (Petunia Good and Plenty Red) and calibrachoas (Calibrachoa Pomegranate Punch) have come through our cuttings room and more and more salvias (Salvia Grandstand Red Lipstick Pink). Then there’s the proven winners that have been around since the 2013 trials, such as the bold and endlessly blooming geraniums.

Some of my favorites have included the unique red hues and patterns on begonias, the streaked and more subtle scarlet waves on cannas, and the usual eye-catching Verbenas, especially the new Lanai Twister series.

While varying concentrations and cycles of naturally occurring chemicals within these plants are responsible for the colors perceived by different species (bees cannot sense wavelengths in the red spectrum and so they see flowers very differently from humans), some colors and especially variegation are caused by viruses.

Commonly seen are the leaves effected by the tobacco mosaic virus, which produces a mosaic of light and dark colors. Or perhaps you visited the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show and learned about the virus responsible for the beautiful tulips that were all the craze in the early-mid 1600s. The white streaks in these tulips are simply an absence of functioning chloroplasts (cells responsible for photosynthesis and reflecting the middle range of the visible color spectrum, thus appearing green to us) caused by the tulip breaking virus in cells in development and early growth of the plant’s organs.

The virus, while producing gorgeous specimens that were all the rage for some time in Europe (and absurdly valuable), actually weakened the plant, and so you would’ve seen similar, genetically bred tulips at the Flower Show but not those of Dutch Golden Age fame.

And not all streaks and spots are caused by viruses, but that’s a post for another day. For now, enjoy the photos I didn’t take (all photos taken by Mom Dunlap).

Philadelphia Flower Show 2017: Just a Peek

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“There’s no shortage of art in this city or in there.”

My tour guide friend’s words as he came out of the Flower Show are no exaggeration, and I can definitely say that this year’s Flower Show easily beats out last year’s rather lackluster national parks–themed displays.

I tried my hand at identifying the varieties of tulip — sources often break down Tulipa into 15 or so main categories. The following I tentatively ID’d, the Fringed variety being my absolute favorite. See if you can find them all at the Flower Show!

Of course, you won’t find the original “Rembrandt” variety of Tulipa, those tulips that looked as though they had been artfully painted by…well, not Rembrandt, because he didn’t paint flowers. But let’s say Monet.

The breath-taking, streaked tulips we see in paintings of old were a result of a virus, which, although it made beautiful and valuable, sought-after bulbs during the height of Tulipmania, made the flower’s stem weak and stunted and is now no longer commercially available. (But thanks to genetic modification and cultivation, a similar kind is available.)

While I went around and tried to identify the main varieties of tulips, I was also excited to see in real life plants I’ve only seen in pictures, such as Gaura lindheimeri, Snakeshead Fritillary, Trifolium repens, some beautiful California cedars, and more.

Later this week, I’ll explore more with my family the educational exhibits, such as the “Ecodome” and smaller terrarium and sculpture displays. In the meantime, if you’re in need of something indoors and with a burst of color, head to the Convention Center before the show ends this Sunday (and stop at the Independence Visitor Center to get discounted tickets!).

 

 

Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

March 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Spring Events & Attractions in Philadelphia

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The annual Philadelphia Flower Show is coming up quick (March 11-19), and we are so Spring ready at the Independence Visitor Center.

 

In my never-ending quest to push green activities in Philadelphia at the Center, I recently put up a display of my top favorite destinations for Spring. And as always, we receive the publication, Grid magazine, which is an excellent resource for ecological events in and just outside of Philadelphia proper.

This year’s Flower Show, though highly focused on tulips and all their variegations, also highlights the Dutch horti- and agriculture’s need to utilize space ecologically and economically, given the country’s limited, below-sea-level geographical setting. And I find this year’s exhibition fitting and called-for in a place like Philadelphia, which in my mind should today be a Kew Gardens-ranking botanical destination.
Sadly, it’s not, and “park” designation is barely merited unless it’s including “-ing lot”. As a “greene country towne” home to some of the pioneers of American botany and horticulture, I feel Philadelphia is frustratingly and embarrassingly lacking promotion of what is was and could be.

While I’ve mentioned a few of the following sites in a previous post, it’s absolutely worth mentioning them again in the top places I recommend visiting for your Spring (and beyond Spring) visit/stay/ambiguous-duration-of-inhabitance-similar-to-my-own in and around Philadelphia.



Bartram’s Gardens

 

Where? 54th Street & Lindbergh Boulevard

How do I get there? While it’s a bit of a trek from downtown, Bartram’s is accessible by public trolley #36 to 54th Street. If you’re just paying for roundtrip, have exact change or tokens ($2.25 per token or combo price for purchase at major stations downtown or at Independence Visitor Center).

Cost? Usually free!

 

A bright yellow wood poppy bursting above its leafy canopy in Bartram's Garden

A bright yellow wood poppy bursting above its leafy canopy in Bartram’s Garden

This should be the Kew Gardens of America, and, yet, it’s not all it could be and isn’t so well known to visitors. Bartram and his son were American pioneers in horticulture/botany, and the former site of the Bartram residence and gardens is the place to go if you want to understand the beginnings and aspirations of Philadelphia. At Bartram’s Gardens, there are walking tours available, free kayaking events on the Schuylkill River, and volunteer opportunities on the farm.

Here, you’ll also find one of the oldest and largest Ginkgo biloba trees in the Americas, dating from the late 1700s, as well as a rare-ish Franklinia, tons of garlic mustard, and Celandine poppy/wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum).*

*Interestingly, according to one source, celandine poppy “is threatened by the invasion of Alliaria petiolate (Garlic Mustard)”, a subject touching on allelopathy (in this case, plants using chemical properties to inhibit other plants/competitors) I’ll be exploring soon.

 

John Heinz Wildlife Refuge

 

Where? 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard

How do I get there? By car – if you don’t have your own, take an Uber (bit expensive) or rent a car for the day from Hertz and maybe try fitting in the other recommendations here (Bartram’s or Morris Arboretum)

Cost? Free!

 

A thicket of milkweed, lanky grasses, butterfly bushes, and Melilotus officinalis

A thicket of milkweed, lanky grasses, butterfly bushes, and Melilotus officinalis

The 1,000-acre reserve is a bit surreal being so close to an international airport. Stop in at the Visitor Center to learn about the site’s sordid past, being a site of immense biodiversity and riparian importance turned into an industrial cesspool and now slowly being restored to its original ecological grandeur. There are seasonal plant hikes offered as well as numerous birding tours (the refuge is famous for its eagles’ nests), many of which are free to the public.

You can also volunteer here – for a couple of months, I helped weed out invasive poplars and garlic mustard and occasionally sitting the Visitor Center’s reception desk to answer questions about the refuge.

 

Morris Arboretum

 

Where? 100 E Northwestern Avenue

How do I get there? By car or by train then Uber (this one’s complicated – if you’re willing to half-bike it, send me a message)

Cost? $17 for Adults, $9 Youth/Students

 

A monstrous, Kraken-like Katsura in Morris Aboretum

A monstrous, Kraken-like Katsura in Morris Aboretum

Trees, wonderful trees. I’m more a fan of low-lying plants, but this arboretum contains some impressive tree species. I was, in the very true form of the word, awed by the Katsura and Blue Atlas Cedar trees on the property. And for someone who very much does not like roses…what a rose/herb garden Morris has.

And an amazing miniature railroad to boot!

 

Sculpture Bicycle, Fairmount Park Bike, & Mural Maps

 

Where? Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market streets (1 N Independence W; GPS: 599 Market Street)

How do I get there? From the airport – Take the Airport line to Jefferson Station and walk or take the “L” subway to 5th and Market

Cost? Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (except for Shofuso House)

 

I’m a huge advocate of bicycling. And Philadelphia is a huge fan of potholes and a-hole drivers. And soon, the Visitor Center will no longer offer WheelFun bicycle rentals. That being said, there’s still Indigo, hugely popular with locals and fairly well strategically placed throughout the city. While I’m not a fan of Indigo’s unwieldy bicycles, I’d much rather able, active, and adventurous folks to get around the city this way. With a little street assertiveness and keen awareness, visitors can get around quick and sightsee at the same time, able to hop off and check out anything at their own leisure – including Philadelphia’s unique collection of sculptures and murals.

At the Visitor Center, we not only provide both, but also promote our bicycle sculpture maps and, a recent addition, Museums Without Walls, a free program offered by Association for Public Art. Signs posted at various sculptures have a number that can be dialed, which connects you to a recording by an expert/professional explaining the art piece in front of you. The APA’s Museum Without Walls webpage includes an interactive map, or you can visit the Independence Visitor Center to grab a free city map as well as a Mural Mile Walking Tour Map, which lists some major murals in downtown Philly (out of over 2,000 murals in total!).

Lastly, although WheelFun bicycle rentals are ruthlessly being killed off by bus tours (don’t get me wrong – great way to see the city as well!) and backwards-thinking nonprogressives, I’ll still hold on to dear life our self-guided bicycle maps, which feature Fairmount Park, a beautiful greenway that includes the Japanese Shofuso House and Horticulture Center, our Schuylkill River Trail maps, and the a-bit-outdated 2014 Center City Bike maps.

 

Honorable Mention: Sister Cities Park

 

Where? 210 N 18th Street

How do I get there? Walking, public transportation, PHLASH (when in operation, seasonally), hop-on-hop-off buses

Cost? Free!

 

Tiarella, or foamflower, thriving in downtown Philly at Sister Cities Park

Tiarella, or foamflower, thriving in downtown Philly at Sister Cities Park

Across the street from an amazing cathedral and Philadelphia’s most famous interactive science museum, Sister Cities Park is a satellite location of Independence Visitor Center. While you can buy discount tickets here for some of the places I’ve mentioned in this post, you can also experience a bit of one of north Philadelphia’s green spaces, Wissahickon Park.

If you have a car, skip the small stuff and drive up to experience the real thing. If you’re passing through downtown Philly, be sure to stop with your kids (or just if you’re a plant fanatic like myself) to enjoy the part Visitor Center-part kiddie pool-part Café-part ecologically friendly park, styled after the Wissahickon with a mini, meandering waterfall and native plants like Tiarella, blueberry and cranberry bushes, and wild columbine.

While the ground plants serve in a stormwater management system, the building itself in which our Visitor Center/café is installed also serves as a “green roof”, a roof of sedums, sage, and switchgrass absorbing rainwater and “minimizing heat-island effect”.


And whether I’m stationed at Sister Cities or our 6th-street Visitor Center location, come in and say hello, buy some discounted Flower Show tickets, and ask me for more recommendations – I can do more than bore the bullocks off of you with plant-related information, I promise.

Local (Or Semi-Local) Guide to Philadelphia

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It’s been 75 degrees in Philadelphia for the past two days, so we can safely say that winter is dead and gone. With warm weather comes more visitors passing through our city, but I’ve also recently been speaking to both younger travelers and even some more-long-term stays who want to know the more “local” must-dos and could-dos. While I’m aiming to make our Independence Visitor Center desk include more local and unique activities and events in and just outside Philadelphia, I thought I’d list my favorites and top recommendations here as well. And you can be assured that this post won’t be without mention of plants.

 


Outdoors

 

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

One way I get acclimated to a new place is to take morning runs in different neighborhoods, something I often did in Budapest. Not only do you obviously get around quicker, but on foot, you can stop and look, and, being morning time, there are fewer people about. One of my favorite and peaceful routes takes me across the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as the sun rises over the New Jersey horizon. On the way back across, you can watch the sun creep up the beautiful sloping glass of the tallest building (for now) in Philadelphia, Comcast Center.

Washington Avenue Green

Also one of my favorite running routes, Washington Avenue Green is worth a visit for both its fascinating history and ecology. And while it’s small, it’s one of the few green spaces you can escape to when the concrete, noise, and traffic smog get too much. This was Philadelphia’s busy immigration station from 1870 until it was torn down in 1915 and was the entry point for millions of immigrants, especially coming in droves from eastern and southern Europe. The Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent featured (and hopefully still does, though I have to confirm) illustrations of pier-side scenes, vendors and fee collectors and even brides getting married on the spot so they could enter the country legally!

Sunrise over the piers at Washington Avenue Green

Sunrise over the piers at Washington Avenue Green

The Green was recently restored to its state prior to serving as an immigration station. A path winds through bursting sprays of purple asters and beggar-ticks with red mulberry (Morus rubra) and princesstrees (Paulownia tomentosa) overhead. I’ve even found lovely white campion (Silene latifolia) growing in tall grasses and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) on the sloped embankments in between piers as well as the spindly common melilot (Melilotus officinalis).

There. I got the plant stuff out of the way. Now onto more…

Bartram’s Garden

Plants! Although this is mentioned last in the outdoors-themed to-dos in Philadelphia, it’s certainly not the least. If you’re into the outdoors and into history, I recommend reading up on the history of the garden and of the very farmer who was instrumental in Philadelphia becoming, at one point, known for being a botanical and horticultural hotspot, respected by even the forerunners of the field over in the United Kingdom.

The following PDFs or books, while a bit bland but full of fascinating stories and giving an excellent overview of the property are worth giving a read (and I’m all about book exchange, so feel free to contact me!):

PDF: History American Landscapes Survey – John Bartram’s House and Garden
Book: The Plant Hunters by Tyler Whittle

Bartram’s Garden is located a bit out of the way and in West Philly, but you can get there by tram or, my preferred method, by bicycle.

 

Music Venues

 

Not to be confused with the Chinese Rotunda at the very excellent and nearby Penn Museum. Photo absconded from Penn Museum's flickr

Not to be confused with the Chinese Rotunda at the very excellent and nearby Penn Museum.
Photo absconded from Penn Museum’s flickr

International House & The Rotunda

Over in University City, International House couldn’t be a better place for entertainment, especially for students studying abroad. The center hosts symposiums, movie screenings, concerts with music from around the world, and more. They even offer housing for students and language courses for anyone interested. The Rotunda offers a similar array of entertainment with more of an educational bent. The surrounding area boasts plenty of great places to eat, including a cozy and spicy favorite of mine, Pattaya Thai Cuisine.

Kimmel Center

Yes, it’s a pretty well-known venue, but while I’ve been to some amazing full-orchestra concerts (my favorite being The Danish Quartet), Kimmel Center has smaller venues within it, many of them free and sometimes pretty intimate. They’ve got a wide range of concerts such as freestyle jazz, spoken word, jazz, experimental, jazz, jazz, jazz…they’ve got a lot of jazz. As much as The Painted Bride at times, another excellent venue but that doesn’t get its own title heading.

 

Curtis Center Student Recitals

Free. And unbelievably so. These concerts are a chance for students to perform for an audience and show off their skills, and their skills are nothing short of awe-some.

 

Museums/Attractions

 

Chemical Heritage Foundation

While I’ve already mentioned and definitely encourage locals and somewhat-locals to pay a visit to the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent to get a close look at the city and its beginnings, I’m also a massive fan of the free (always a good modifier) Chemical Heritage Foundation in the historic district. This small “science museum” shows how chemistry’s been used in the past as well as everyday life and features traveling exhibits such as the one I caught last year by chance, a display of ancient manuscripts that explained the chemical dyes (from PLANTS) used to illustrate their beautiful pages.

The beautiful arched entrance of the Masonic Temple. Photo from Wikipedia because I can't find mine.

The beautiful arched entrance of the Masonic Temple. Photo from Wikipedia because I can’t find mine.

Masonic Temple

Always a winner. Dan Brown’s yet to write about a murder that takes place within one of the seven gorgeous lodge rooms and thank the Masonic overlords for that. Tours are given of this place of architectural and historical interest, and you can then pop across the street to see…

Wanamaker Organ

Philadelphia’s always claiming “first” on things, often with a lot of addendums, but this one is true to its name and damn impressive. The organ – stretching up through several floors of Macy’s – is the largest playable pipe organ in the world and is played twice daily. Despite the amazing, sonorous sound it can produce, I still find it unbelievable that this organ is made up of ten effing thousand – that’s 10,000 – pipes.

St. Peter’s, Old Pine, & Mother Bethel churches

Occasionally, I’ll have a visitor ask for a historically significant church recommendation besides Christ Church. Each of these has its own unique characteristic, St. Peter’s for its trees I’ve written about previously, Old Pine for its architecture style and somber but beautiful stained glass windows, and Mother Bethel for its role in African American progressive history.

 

Food

 

For those who know my more hate-than-love relationship with food, I’m surprised myself I’d have a listing for restaurant recommendations.

But I absolutely, unashamedly have to give my accolades to my favorite city restaurant, Kabul. If you’re not so accustomed to Middle Eastern food, I’d start out, as I did on my first visit, with the Norenge Palaw, deliciously tender lamb under a mountain of saffron rice topped with citrus peels. My mouth is watering as I write this. The portions are large, the side dishes tasty, the service great, and the atmosphere casual and no frills and yet transportive, like you’re eating in another country.

For an alternative area of food options besides the usual Old City eats and fancier Rittenhouse Square fares, I’m also fond of the East Passyunk Avenue area in South Philadelphia below Dickinson Street.


 

I could add so much more to each – Morris Arboretum and John Heinz Wildlife Refuge for outdoors and volunteer opportunities; smaller restaurants, local bars, and sites in my area of Queen Village (including the Shot Tower, the nearby Show Tower Café, and a cavernous second-hand bookstore at 5th and Bainbridge); and some honorable mentions for artsy and musicy venues such as Fleisher Art Memorial and Settlement Music School not to mention the numerous free concerts at Hawthorne Park during the summertime.

And now that it’s summertime in February, I recommend getting out there in your shorts and tank tops, throw caution to the wind and some Norenge Palaw in your mouth, and try out some of these fantastic places.

Week 4 Under the Greenhouse: My Greenhouse Role & A Trixi Trip

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The greenhouse is a huge operation.

And it’s just one part — a large part, but just one — of a whole network and process of getting the plant cutting/seed/what-have-you to its final destination, be it ready to sell at Home Depot or for a local landscaping company to install in someone’s front yard.

And it’s taken me four weeks to both understand our part of the process as well as my role in the greenhouse (communication there is…wanting). My job is assisting in the cuttings and transplant department of the greenhouse — the other “departments” or roles of the greenhouse include the sales team, shipping/packaging department, the seeding (watch this amazing

My tray of partially stuck Dorotheanthus bellidiformis Mezoo Trailing Red. Squishy to touch, hard to say.

My tray of partially stuck Dorotheanthus bellidiformis Mezoo Trailing Red. Squishy to touch, hard to pronounce.

video of the kind of vacuum-operated seed machine we use in the greenhouse) and soil mixing/prepping room, the roving pesticide girls (an all-woman team that never seems to stop spraying — aphids and fungal disease are always big worries), and, of course, the actual greenhouses themselves.

These are broken up into several: a row outside for those plants being “hardened off”, or subjected to a bit of cold to make them hardier, one for mainly transplanting seedlings into larger-sized trays, one with air flow (I’m obviously vague on this one’s purpose), and the main greenhouse, where booms constantly whirr up and down the long aisles of heated metal slats on which plants are constantly moved throughout each section under grow lights until they’re either sent out to be hardened off or carted away to the shipping department.

All very organized. All very specific. All very involved, and yet just a part of the whole, as with my small role in the cuttings department, where we receive shipments from all of the world to be “stuck” into trays of varying sizes and receiving various treatments (e.g., hormone growth dip). Shipments this week included Dahlia cuttings from Kenya, Vinca and Petunia from Israel, and Ipomoea a little closer to home from Michigan.

In addition to sticking, our department records the incoming shipments, organize them into some logical order of the week’s sticking schedule, and place them in cold storage until it’s time to get the “ladies” (seasonal workers who relocated here from Cambodia) to fill up the trays and send out the trays to the greenhouses.

Now that we’re entering into the busy season, the greenhouses are filling up and the work hours are getting longer. Every variety of plant has a different set of growing requirements, so the ladies prune the premature bolters, mist booms slide from one end of the greenhouse to the other, and I do my best to not drop trays of Trixis a second heart-stopping time — three tiny, tediously stuck plant cuttings placed into individual plastic tray cells — gorgeous when they grow out, as seen in some of my favorite Trixi brands here).

Being that anything can happen in any part of the greenhouse and thanks to years of risk management in place by the time I decided to let fly some doomed Million Bells and Verbenas, we had an extra on hand, and the department didn’t collapse into chaos.

Still, not a great way to start out the fourth week in general.

Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

February 4, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Weeks Two & Three Under the Greenhouse

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The worst things aren’t the Trixis, but they’re definitely toward the top of the list of things unpleasant under the glass of the greenhouses. The return, on the other hand, is worth the trouble and the while.

Trixis are a brand supplied by companies like Selecta, a large-scale breeder of ornamental plants and supplier of unrooted vegetative cuttings based all over Europe and Africa, and are assortments of three varieties of plants available to purchase in one pop. There are over 44 available brands of Trixis, all with unique names, as unique as some other cultivars of cuttings that have come through my hands at the greenhouse, my favorite being one in the Coleus genus (Plectranthus scutellarioides), ’Gay’s Delight’.

You might see some of the more patriotic assortments hanging from porches during the fourth of July and others exploding from their baskets in brilliant colors of the rainbow. The ones below, however, are my favorite picks, both for visually striking aesthetics and texture appeal. Sticking cuttings of three unique plants is tedious and time-consuming, and while we generally receive an acceptable shipment of cuttings of Calibrachoa, Petunia (being the worst for its stickiness), Verbena, it’s still a matter of delivery being on time and temperature conditions during transit. Cuttings—even after being immediately opened, accounted for, and stored in an ideally cool climate-controlled storage facility—can be flaccid or wilted when ready for sticking in soil medium.

Even then, it’s impressive to see these cuttings a week later, thriving under the greenhouse lights and following them through the greenhouse misting sections, some of them (especially Bacopa) trying to flower prematurely and needing shearing a week before ship-out date. But without further ado, I present my favorite varieties to grow under the greenhouse and a little bit about each component as well!

'Strawberry Shortcake' All images from Selecta

‘Strawberry Shortcake’
All images from Selecta

'Nightfall'

‘Nightfall’ All images from Selecta

 

'Geisha Girl' All images from Selecta

‘Geisha Girl’
All images from Selecta

'Out of the Blue' All images from Selecta

‘Out of the Blue’
All images from Selecta

'Treasure Chest' All images from Selecta

‘Treasure Chest’
All images from Selecta

 

Regardless of the other difficulties and obstacles under the greenhouse, I’m still learning a lot and I’m working with plants (and people), and that’s more than enough.

Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

January 23, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Week One Under the Greenhouse

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Last month, I managed to wheedle my way into a greenhouse job north of Philadelphia, and, following my first week on the job, I can report that week one was nowhere near great nor promising. On that same note, I’ve learned a tremendous amount in a short time, and, on a separate note, joined a community band.

My new job is in the cuttings department of the greenhouse operation – it’s here where cuttings are received and planted in trays to be carted out to specific sections of the greenhouses to be misted and grown under special lighting for specific amounts of levels and time, treated with pesticides and hormones as necessary, sent to hoop houses to be subjected to some cold treatment for hardiness, then shipped out to retailers and private buyers.

The job is both simple and complex, simple in the fact that the process is exactly described as above and complex in the way that anyone just walking into the greenhouse would have to quickly become familiar with rooting hormones, specific designated areas within the greenhouses, specific order of processing incoming shipments (in addition to temperature recording, tray-size assignments and pre-setup of trays to be placed on conveyor belts), handling surpluses, detriments, and damaged incoming shipments of cuttings, and, lastly, working with both individuals with either a long employment at the greenhouses, those with a deeper background in horticulture, and Cambodian seasonal workers with little a lick of English.

As someone just walking into the greenhouse, I have not exactly cottoned on quickly enough to assure my supervisor of six years’ greenhouse savvy that I was the best candidate for the job.

In spite of what could be a very short career stint and my first firing ever, I’ve had the pleasure of “sticking” (planting cuttings in a soil medium in specific-sized, plastic growing trays) everything from fuchsia (actually nearly pronounced the way you want to say it) and New Guinea impatiens to Scaevola and Thunbergia. There are also the more needy types requiring rooting hormone before sticking such herbs as Rosemary and Lavender.

It’s all very fascinating, and so long as I last there and ending on a positive note, you can also come to see me perform in the Southampton Community Band after I relearn my trumpet scales.

Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

January 8, 2017 at 8:17 pm