Hello all! Emily here with the newest updates for the TJDG. Exciting times are ahead!
This past Saturday we took a peek at the garden. We definitely have work ahead of us with all those weeds! However, the rye is growing beautifully.
The rye is almost like its own field.
Rachael, Chelsea, and the interns headed to the Center for Historic Plants to meet with Lily and continue starting seeds for the TJDG. We started new trays of nasturtium, indigo, butterfly weed, and milkweed; the hyssop and wormwood seedlings that were planted on our last visit were ready to be transplanted to a larger tray. Additionally, Marissa trimmed the onions to enhance their growth.
Once our seed duties were completed, we headed outside and were greeted by the smell of the hyacinth. The CHP garden has been transformed since we last saw it; blooming plants abound and it almost felt like summer instead of early spring.
Lily pointed out two species of twinleaf. Of most interest was the native twinleaf, Jeffersonia genus; as you might have guessed, it was named after Thomas Jefferson. In his lifetime (c. 1792), the genus was named in honor of his extensive knowledge of zoology, botany, and history. Interestingly, the flowers last only a few days and bloom around the time of Jefferson’s birthday, which is April 13th. This year, however, they are a few weeks early!
Across the path from the twinleaf was the spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). The flowers have pink spots that act as nectar lines intended to guide pollinators to the flower.
Continuing through the wooden arbor, we approached the other side of the garden. Here, Lily taught us how to take a Johnny Jump Up (Viola tricolor, also known as heartsease) out of the ground. They were growing plentifully here, and it was an easy task to find some sumptuous blossoms to put into containers. The entire plant dies when it gets too hot; in fact, it’s actually better to dig up the plants that are not flowering, as they will last longer. However, none of us could resist their tiny violet and purple petals.
On the way out, Lily showed us Sweetbox, a slowly-spreading shade and ground cover. Under the wooden arbor, it was protecting another twinleaf plant and we enjoyed its subtle fragrance.
During our time at CHP on Saturday, we also learned from Chelsea the progress of the guidebook. She has designed a beautiful layout that is ready for our research. We can’t wait to see the final product!
Of further note, Rachael and I have been working on an article for a new student-run magazine called College & Cook! We are so excited to see its published form on April 10th.
This Sunday, we will have a workday attempting to conquer the garden’s weeds. Now is the exciting time for manual labor in the fresh spring earth!