As our thunderous, steamy days give way to the sure signs of autumn and its soft Italian light, I am delighted to report that the summer so far has been a most productive and happy time at the Henry Botanic Garden.
Henry Ortmeyer, our new curator, has in a little over three months, put his touch on every aspect of the property.
He has created a 2,000 square foot farm plot between the garden nursery area and our eastern (lower) meadows. Most of that space this year has been devoted to a “three sisters” planting of corn, beans, and squash, with two varieties of corn, four varieties of squash, and two varieties of beans. There is also a plot for sunflowers and watermelons, a space for tomatoes, with over twenty varieties, and a section for amaranth.
In terms of other new endeavors, as curator, Henry has implemented a plant mapping, record keeping, and registry program that will make our collections available to any interested visitors.
He is also establishing a collections management policy with guidelines to manage new volunteers more effectively.
Invasive control is also well under way. Much of the weeding effort has been in the South Garden and Gibson Glen, two areas of the garden that were heavily overgrown. Those spots are now getting much cleaner, with new and old paths open for walking again. This effort is due in no small part to our employees and volunteers.
In terms of infrastructure, staff and volunteers have focused on rejuvenating some key facilities. One fenced-in structure called the lath house is being used again as a potting area and seedbed. The lower greenhouse has been rehabbed and the upper greenhouse is being reglassed and rebuilt (and the misting system is back in active operation). The Mary Henry Cabin restoration is nearly complete.
As fall fast approaches, we are also focusing on propagating seeds collected from the most important plants in the garden collection and establishing a replanting effort for various parts of the garden.
I’ve attached some stunning photographs of the property in full bloom, including the always gorgeous terrace garden.
Please stay safe and visit the garden during these last days of summer.