A number of background logistical operations have been ongoing since last Autumn and several are now coming to fruition. Critical to the success of this project have been three basic supply issues: purchase of hardwood railway sleepers to landscape the greenhouse; provision of the wireless Internet to deliver enhanced e-learning in this living teaching space, and supply of the new plants we need for display. All three are coming together this week after a long hard slog.
The last few weeks have been spent trying to source suitable railway sleepers to raise the planting beds. The sleepers had to be untreated (to avoid any potentially harmful chemicals leaching in to the soil), hardwood (so that they would last), and recycled (it would be too ironic to have trees chopped down to supply a glasshouse that will be used to teach sustainable use and conservation). Thanks to the hard work of Alice it now looks as if we have a supplier of suitable sleepers at a price we can afford. Final negotiations on price are underway.
First steps in wireless Internet provision. The pole to which the wireless Internet transmitter will be attached will be installed on the side of the potting shed next Monday. I’m hoping soon to have the finished product and get Internet out to this important teaching space. The original plan for this provision had to be modified to reduce signal attenuation.
I have been talking to colleagues at RHS Wisley and Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh about supplying some material and have been working through the seed exchange lists for new species to grow. The first new plant for the greenhouse will be sent this week – a giant horsetail (Equisetum myriochaetum) originally from Mexico that can grow up to 4m high. I’m hoping it will be less invasive than it’s smaller relatives:-) there is a comprehensive web site on Equisetum cultivation http://www2.fiu.edu/~chusb001/GiantEquisetum/Cultivation.html that I’m using to guide cultivation plans for this species.