This is the time of year for raking leaves, cleaning up garden beds, and believe it or not, planning and ordering our plants for next year. Right now our outside gardening staff is hard at work, planning, designing planters and beds, and picking out fun and exciting plants for next years displays. We aquire many different catalogs from various growers and suppliers around the country, which is where we get ideas for great combinations and new varieties that have been released.
Some of the areas that we plan for include: the double sidewalk in front of the visitors center, the Skipper and Enchanted butterfly gardens, and various container plantings all over conservatory and zoo garden areas. Along with planning for our areas, we also grow plants for other gardens in the city, inluding some of the City of St. Paul golf courses. For those areas we grow about 75 flats of plants, and about 100 4-1/2" plant material. We probably grow about 2.5 times that number for our gardens alone.
We then put together a large list of plants to order, and then our indoor staff recieves shipments throughout the winter and spring. They then take care of planting the seeds. Sometimes we also get plugs of plants, which then need to be transplanted into larger containers. By careful timing with seeding, and different greenhouse conditions, the plants are all rooted in and ready to be planted in the ground or a container in the spring!