Friday, April 17, 2015

Lots of Smiles Today

We had the volunteer crew from Oakhill Christian School helping out at the gardens today.  There were 19 students and their instructor Kath.  This group has come every spring and fall for the past 10 years or so and they did a superb job this morning of mulching the entire Potter Daylily Collection and Palmer Drive berm.  This is a huge area (5,000 sq. ft.) and their teamwork and progress was amazing.  Janice helped orchestrate this morning activity with help from John and Terry too (constant loads of mulch!).  We appreciate their help and they were also able to tour the gardens and have lunch at the gardens as well.  Some of the photos below feature the group in action!

My photography today doesn't do justice to all the great volunteers that helped out today.  The fourth photo down shows Mary and Roy in the shade garden where they did a nice job of clean-up and composted the majority of their space as well.  Pat M. continued work on his giant obelisk and it looks like the second of the two will be ready to be raised and secured next week.  Kathy and Eva did a great job weeding some of the brick walks down in the sunken garden which is tough work but timely as we have some early weddings coming up soon. Urban was on hand for pruning and brought his "better half", Rose, as well.  Dr. Gredler did some work today and Bill O. helped tidy up too.  We also saw Shirley B., Vera, Sue M., Cheryl, Maury and many others as well.

The grounds staff had a busy day.  Cindy worked on repotting more of our 2015 Elephant Ear Collection, planted more pansies in our four entrance garden containers, tidied up multiple areas and watered the yard and greenhouses.  Janice helped with the Oakhill students this morning, did the cutting display, prepared for the pansy sale and had other duties as well.  Big John and Terry helped set up for our work day this morning and stockpiled mulch for our volunteers all morning.  The guys also prepared and filled many more containers and had a significant project involving moving heavy boulders....  I helped with the Oakhill students this morning and branched off in to trying to tackle duties related to upcoming events, future labeling and preparing for the busy spring.  Enjoy more color from today's garden below...

 windflower (Anemone blanda 'White Splendour')
 hellebore (Helleborus purpurascens)
'Leonard Messel' magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri)
 weeping willow (Salix alba 'Tristis')
 bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
 Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) emerging
 drumstick primrose (Primula denticulata 'Rubin')
 hellebore (Helleborus sp.)
patch of Siberian squill (Scilla siberica)
'King's Ransom' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Another Glorious Day

Today felt a lot like mid May with a cool morning but some nice sunshine and temperatures around 70 degrees F by the afternoon.  This was a perfect day for gardening work and other duties and both grounds staff and volunteers took full advantage!  I was able to get out in the gardens quite a bit and had no difficulty snapping photos.  It's fun to take note of the subtle beauty like that of the red maple (Acer rubrum) blossoms seen above.  We actually ran irrigation today in about 1/3 of the gardens as we are quite dry this spring after an equally dry winter.  We're starting to mow and despite the green grass, we have had very few "April showers" to speak of over the last couple of weeks.  Our pond level is quite low as well.

With Larry on vacation, we had a lean grounds crew with Big John, Janice and myself on duty.  John ran irrigation, hauled compost, filled containers, installed a climbing bean tower and bounced between many projects.  Janice helped coordinate our numerous volunteers and spent significant time preparing for our Pansy Sale (starts this Saturday, April 18th, 8 am - 12 noon! at the Horticulture Center) which is held in tandem with our Compost Sale (same location and hours).  Janice also watered the yard and worked on numerous projects.  We had a bumper crop of volunteers today which was much appreciated.  More garden color from today can be seen directly below...

grape hyacinths (Muscari sp.) both above and below

early foliage of 'Looking Glass' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla)
ground level close-up of Canadian ginger (Asarum canadense) bloom
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) looking good
pasque flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) are starting to open up!
marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
'Banana Boat' sedge emerging (Carex siderosticha)

I may have a tough time remembering all of the great volunteer help we had today.  Above (left to right) are Sandy, Kathy, Eva and Janice.  Janice started these ladies with a huge mulching project and they were later joined by Peg.  The fourth photo down shows these ladies helping price our pansies for the upcoming sale.  Below is Marv who did a nice job on his moss garden areas and was helped later by Dale S. ("Mr. Moss") who swung by to visit and to deliver/plant some mosses.  The second photo down shows our tent erection crew which included Ron W., Ron R., Bob C., Gary B. and Alan M.  The guys did an excellent job.  Bob K., Vern, Dave and Jim had carpentry projects which included repairing tables for the looming plant sale.  Maury got gas for us and helped with multiple projects.  Dick H. ran to the dump and helped out with multiple projects as well.  Rollie picked up some memorial bricks for installation soon.  Pat M. worked on the giant obelisks and got one in to place and almost secured.  The third photo down shows Dr. Gredler out and about mowing as needed.  Pat C. was in later and stayed the entire afternoon to work on label replacements and repairs which is an inevitable spring project as many labels get knocked over, broken or simply disappear.  We also saw Chuck S., Urban, Rose, Polly, Mark S. and many others today.  See below for more photos from this beautiful Thursday.

our greenhouses are starting to fill quickly (above and below)

ferny foliage of Jacob's ladder (Polemonium caeruleum 'Filagree Skies')
 Ivory Prince hellebore (Helleborus hybridus 'Walhelivor')
emerging foliage of variegated sweet iris (Iris pallida 'Albo Variegata')
compact concolor fir (Abies concolor 'La Veta')

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pansy Sale Poised

With John's trip yesterday and mine today, we have quite a nice assortment of pansies that will be offered as part of our Pansy Sale held in conjunction with our Compost Sale this Saturday (8 am - 12 noon).  The photo above shows just some of the 9,000+ pansies that can be purchased in three formats: hanging basket ($12), mini-planter ($7) and 4 packs ($2 each, mix and match).  It's a great time of year to plant pansies and certainly add compost to the garden.  With our Spring Plant Sale looming over Mother's Day weekend, we have a lot of opportunities for folks to pick up some great plants at reasonable prices.  Bagged compost, obelisks and other offerings will be part of the spring sale which again has a heavy focus on vegetables, perennials, herbs and shrubs.  Lots of color seen out in the gardens today (see below) and plenty of staff and volunteer efforts (see further down as well).

'Jetfire' daffodils (Narcissus)
hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) offering fragrance
'Northern Gold' forsythia (Forsythia sp.)
'Blue Shades' wind anemone (Anemone blanda)
bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
'Mellow Yellow' hellebore (Helleborus sp.)

With sunshine and a high temperature of 68 degrees F, the day was perfect to be outside and our volunteers took advantage of this warm spell as next week looks like a different scenario.  We are still quite dry and I sure would like some consistent April showers!  Above is Kay who focused her attentions on tidying up the sunken garden.  She also worked on removing a problematic plant that lost the battle to Kay's unrivaled tenacity.  Kathy (directly below) and Eva (second photo down) continued tidying up the entrance garden which is already seeing some very early weeds.  Marv worked more on his moss gardens which are looking superb.  Urban was in for planting and Dr. Gredler did some painting and mowing.  Pat M. continued transitioning our giant obelisks from winter use to their summer application in our Alphabet Jungle Garden.  Gena and Myrt did more painting and we also saw Chuck, Maury, Dr. Yahr, Bob K., Art, Gary and many others today.  

Despite their scowling faces, Terry (left) and Big John (above) had a fun day out in the gardens (I think...).  The guys continued preparing containers including those planted by Cheryl (below) in the sunken garden and those that Cindy did in the reception garden.  The guys also helped unload and process incoming plants and shifted things around for more painting at the Horticulture Center.  Cheryl and Cindy also finished potting up our caladiums this morning, moved on to pansy planting in 14 large containers and Cheryl did a nice job watering all of our yard and greenhouse plants which literally doubled in quantity in the last two days and will continue to "accumulate"!  After my trip to pick up pansies, I spread some crabgrass pre-emergent control in problem areas (do it when the forsythia are in bloom!), unpacked plants, had a meeting and continue to try and keep up!  It's now the busy season which is always exciting.  Further below are additional shots from this morning out in the gardens.

glory-in-the-snow (Chionodoxa sp.) is in full bloom
'Stresa' early tulip (Tulipa) blooming
same as above but nibbled down by resident critters
'Royal Star' magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
a nice cluster of fragrant hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis)