The Arboretum Report Feb.25th 2016

     The last several days have been rainy and windy. Some areas close by experienced severe storms. We were lucky suffering minimal damage to the grounds. Plenty of small and medium size branches down. The upside of this is that many of the ready to fall branches are down. Some trail wash outs. We have been strategically placing wood chips on the trails attempting to direct the run off. It seems to help.

     The rain has topped off the vernal pond (see photo). The frogs have come out of hibernation and are calling. Presently the Wood Frogs are the most populous. Probably over a hundred. They sort of sound like a whole bunch of little ducklings with muffled quacks. I also heard an American Toad. They sing an extended trill. The other vernal frogs breeding here are the Peepers. Peeping away repeatedly. For the best viewing of the pond approach slowly and quietly. If you come stomping in the frogs stop singing and the mallards will flush.

     Last Saturday about 15 Master Gardeners planted over 1100 cool season vegetable seeds. Including but not limited to broccoli, cabbage and several types of lettuces and collards. Some have already germinated. Gardeners will be visiting the greenhouse daily to care for the plants. When the plants are ready in mid-April they will be distributed from the Community Garden in Chester located off of 6th St. and Morten Ave. For more on the Master Gardener Program follow this link to their website.

     The end of winter tasks are at hand. We have already started cutting the meadows. This morning I am going to collect stakes from various shrubs. Some plants such as shrub dogwoods and willows and be propagated by pruning out larger stems and cutting them into 2 foot lengths. These “stakes” can be stored in 5 gal. buckets of water until they can be planted in the ground or pots. With proper conditions and care you can grow a decent size plant by fall. Better Get Busy.

Tom Kirk

Arboretum Manager