READING, Pa. - If you have an itchy green thumb, spring is just around the corner, and there's a place in Reading that could really use your help.
Some of the perennial plants at the Reading Public Museum arboretum are already coming up, but the annuals will be planted in a few weeks, and the arboretum is looking for assistants. The goal is to plant 2,800 pansies by Easter.
"Ten days ago these pansies came in what we call a plug tray," said Gerry Gobright, chairman of the Reading Public Museum arboretum committee. "Here in the greenhouse, is just absolutely ideal conditions."
Gobright transferred the plugs to another tray, and they're growing quickly. The plants have just a month before they'll go into the ground.
"Hurry up girls. Come on," Gobright said to the pansies. "Time is short."
The pansies were grown from plugs.
"Normally, we go out and we buy plants," said Gobright.
For the first time in 10 years, the arboretum will be growing 6,000 plants from seeds.
"This entire greenhouse will be full of plants," said Gobright. "Plus, we'll have hanging baskets, which gives us more growing space."
The pansies will be planted in front of the museum's atrium entrance.
"These pansies would normally be planted six to eight inches apart," said Gobright. "They'll be planted three to four inches."
To achieve the arboretum's vision, more volunteers are needed to work alongside the master gardeners, Gobright said.
"More plants, more people," said Gobright.
The arboretum is made up of 25 acres, and on March 14 and March 20 there will be training sessions for arboretum assistants.
"Dig a few holes, pull some weeds. That's just part of what we do," said Gobright. "But really giving back to the community and the camaraderie, that's the sell."
And with winter days that feel like spring, gardeners are ready for planting.
"I could get excited about spring in a snowstorm, just the thought of it," said Gobright, who noted that the commitment for volunteers is two Wednesday mornings each month between April and October.
Gobright said he can't wait to see the masses of color along the Wyomissing Creek.
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