Thursday, December 31, 2009

Uninvited Guests---Integrated Pest Management

In mid-December, five Conservatory Horticulturists began participating in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Course. Our role is to take the on-line course to give a professional evaluation of it’s use as a secondary educational tool. It is proving to be a fascinating refresher for those of us that studied IPM years ago.

Integrated Pest Management, is a long-standing, science-based, decision making process that identifies & reduces risks from pests. Here at the Conservatory we practice various forms of IPM in our green spaces. We periodically scout for pests, monitor the extent of the damage, and assess our next control strategy.

Often times, biological controls, through beneficial insect releases, provide the control we are seeking. If not, we then may choose to use chemical insecticides. We also have good insect control measures with physical & mechanical maintenance, such as pruning, wiping, or simply rinsing the plants off with water, or a simple soap/water solution.

Our goal as an institution, is to make the best choice possible to maintain the plant collections, and displays with the least amount of impact on the plants and our visitors.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Hits

The 2009 Holiday Poinsettia Show opened in the Sunken Garden, Wednesday, December 2.

A few of the poinsettias we are featuring this season in the garden are ‘Peppermint Twist’, ‘Eggnog’, ‘Cinnamon Stick’, ‘Orange Spice’, ‘Winter Blush’, and ‘Visions of Grandeur’ .

The horticulture staff is putting the finishing touches on the various planters that are placed within the Sunken Garden and around the Conservatory.

One of the varieties we are using is a new one called ‘Polar Bear’. The grower of this variety is the Paul Ecke Ranch. With each plant produced, the Ecke Ranch will make a donation to Polar Bears International. One hundred percent of their donations goes directly to research and education projects in support of polar bears. This is especially nice for us, as we will be opening our new Polar Bear Exhibit on Zoo Grounds in Spring of 2010.