Five things to know about the PMC for May 20, 2021 

New Sales Manager

As mentioned in previous updates, our previous Sales Manager Jess Oman has left to pursue another opportunity. The position was posted in several trade publications and job boards and caught the attention of someone that many of you may already know: Jacquie Gauthier who was the PMC Sales Manager from 2007 to 2012.  Jacquie left in 2012 for a position in the corporate world.  In 2021, she saw the job listing and called to find out more about it.  One thing led to another and now she has left the corporate world to return to her favorite conservation nursery in Bow. We are delighted to have her back.  Her first official day will be June 7th.  Those who know her are encouraged to reach out and welcome her back.  Those who have not met her are encouraged to reach out and introduce yourselves and get to know her.

2020-21 Sales Season Officially Over

Red Osier
Red Osier

Bare root nurseries typically end their sales season around early May. The plants that are stored in the cooler lose vigor and viability and the increasingly warm, dry weather adds to that problem.  The cooler was turned off on the 17th.  While it is too late to order plants for this season, it is a very good time to order plants for the 2021-22 season.  The best way to ensure that you get the plants you want is to order early and order often.

Conifer Seed Planting

This update is brief because today is the day that the conifer seed bed for the 2022-23 season. The seeds have been in stratification, after which they were dried so that they can run through the seed drill.  Ground has been prepped and by the end of the day it should be finished.  Then next week it is on to planting the spring -sown hardwood seedbed.

Spring Blossoms

Seeds drying
Seeds drying

The PMC gets its seeds from wild collections as well as from some seed blocks that are growing here on the farm. Regardless of where they come from, two things are required for most plants to produce seeds: flowers and pollinators.  We are happy to report that so far there are plenty of both.  Some plants are wind pollinated and do not require pollinators such as conifers.  That may sound like a good reproduction strategy in a time of bee colony collapse but in actuality it’s a pretty hit and miss strategy.  Many species of conifers can go years between good cone crops.  If the wind does not blow right and / or it rains constantly the female cones may not get pollinated.  Then there are also issues with bug predation of the seeds and environmental stresses that can reduce seed production.  It is hard to tell how the cone crop looks until mid-summer when plentiful, full cones are observed, or not.  Hopefully this year will be a good year because the last several years have been poor cone years and wild-collected conifer seed are getting harder to source.  Finding seed for specific seed zones is even harder.

Conservation in Hollywood

What is your favorite film about conservation? Mine is a quirky Sci-Fi flick called Silent Running.  It takes place on spacecraft whose cargo is the last remnants of plants and animals from an Earth that turned its back on conservation.  Bruce Dern plays an introverted, quirky, over-zealous botanist (as all botanists are portrayed in Hollywood) whose mission it is to keep these last vestiges of nature alive.  In one innocuous scene, there is an iconic USFS poster of the Conservation Pledge.  That caught my eye as a 12-year-old and one could not say that was an inspirational moment, but now almost 50 years later I have logged a long-lasting career in conservation, having grown tens of millions conservation plants.  Just saying…

I hope this helps.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jim Brown, WACD PMC Nursery Manager