Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last Day at Longwood

Well, it's been an amazing experience. I've learned so much--about the field of horticulture, gardening, the Northeast, as well as more about myself. I've met countless new people, made many new friends. Longwood is, as I'd heard, absolutely incredible. I remember being in awe and shock when I first arrived, and I still have a bit of residual amazement, 3 months later. I have such gratitude for everyone that contributed to my experience, especially Mr. Pierre du Pont.
Yesterday, my last day at Longwood, was really enjoyable. I worked with Joyce, doing a small bed change in the Tropical Terrace. We took out a large chunk of agalonemas that had a red scale on them, and replaced them with new cultivars. We worked with Paul, too, it looks great! I watered the Palm House next, then had some time before lunch to look in the library (I love the library...). I created a Powerpoint presentation on Aroids for Joyce after lunch, from which I learned a lot more about the Aracae family! I sat in the potting shed to do this, so it was great to be able to say goodbye to everyone there. I will miss it.

I went with Aubree, Paul, Deb, Nate, "Sid," Gavin, Allison, Jamie, and Dean to dinner (after having farewell coffee with Jeff) because Jamie left this morning. It was a good time, another opportunity to savor the last bit with everyone.

I have been packing today, feeling bittersweet about leaving. I want to stay at this wonderful place, but I also miss home in Arizona. I will get to go to Philly one more time tonight with all my awesome fellow interns to have dinner at Ralph's Italian Restaurant. Friday, Joyce will check me out of my room, then Ali and I will go to NYC (I've GOT to make it there before I leave! :) ). I don't know how I will spend my last day, Saturday, but I hope it includes Longwood Gardens and the people in it.

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Day is Tomorrow...

It's been kinda choppy last week and this week at work, because I had family visiting since last Wednesday. I finally got to work with Mary last week Monday-Wednesday. We did lots of work in the Garden Path, planting Euryops and moving shrubs across the path, planting a new bed, pruning some vines, etc. Mary took me on a walk through the path to talk about some of the plants, and how she feels about their presence there. :)
Ali and I have been working with Mary together, doing some Christmas project mock-ups for the fern floor. We also spent some time on the Japanese black pine tree in the bonsai display. The natural shape of a pine tree is for the limbs to gradually point upward to slightly downward as you move down the tree. This is because light is allowed to reach those higher branches much easier than the lower ones, so they stretch upward moreso than those below. We used special copper bonsai wire to wrap around pairs of branches in a special way to allow the branches to be positioned properly. Eventually the wire will be removed, and the branches will remain in position. This work takes a lot of concentration and puzzle-solving to find the proper place to put the wires.
The weather has been spotty-rainy. It's showering sometimes in the afternoons, but it's been really hot and humid!
I took off Thursday and Friday (because of Weekend Watering), plus Monday to spend with Mike and my parents. We went to Chanticleer, walked around Philly, downtown Kennett Square, the ABBA fireworks show, all of Longwood (of course), played Scrabble, cooked and baked cookies--it was great time with my family. Eamon also came down from NYC.
I only had this morning to work, because I took my parents to the airport this afternoon. I worked with Marie in the orchid display, did some repotting, and then worked on repotting Disa's. Bill is a volunteer who's been at Longwood about 11 years. He's in charge of these orchids. The moist sphagnum must be changed every few months or so, because it begins to degrade and causes the plants to die. It's rather simple: divide the plant if possible (these are terresterial orchids, so there's corms, and new plants can grow from these organs), remove all old sphagnum, rinse the roots, loosely pack new sphagnum moss around the roots, place in a new pot, and water the plant in.
We had an all-staff meeting (with snacks!) before lunch, so by the time that was over, it was time for me to leave work to get to the airport.
So tomorrow's my last day of work. I am supposed to work with Joyce, which I'm happy about. I always learn a lot from her, and I love the houses she takes care of.
My internship coming to an end is somewhat bittersweet. I miss Tucson a lot, and the different work environment I have at the CEAC (controlled environment agriculture center) at the U of A, but I have also come to learn that Longwood is an amazing, wonderful place with tons of great resources, both human and plant material.