Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weed'n & Plant'n

The weather progressed through mist, sunshine, showers, sunshine, rain and then sunshine today.  I was happy for more precipitation for sure and we had enough gaps in the rain to accomplish a lot of tasks.  A nice rain like we've had over the past two days allows us to avoid running irrigation for many days.  This, in turn, allows us to spend more time on other important tasks like weeding and planting.  I had a presentation (The Gardens of Vancouver) for the Blackhawk Golden Kiwanis Club this morning which went well although it was pouring rain when I came back outside.  It's a fun group and four of our Grumpies (Dick P., Dick H., Dick K. and Maury) are all members of this group as well.  Above is the 'Globemaster' ornamental onion (Allium sp.) which is peaking right now.  We had another strong day of volunteerism and the grounds staff drifted between various projects.  As I loaded up some plants to haul out in the gardens, I photographed just some of our fun coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) varieties seen below...

Cheryl worked on weeding our front garden bed which is right along the frontage road.  I hope to get that planted soon!  Cindy shifted lots of plants from greenhouses to the yard, watered later and had some other tidying duties in various locations.  Big John and Terry did a wide range of tasks but their focus was on locating and installing the posts for our garden art projects ("Nature Nooks") this year.  Finding the right spot is key and the guys did a nice job and will locate more tomorrow and Friday.  I was able to place plants for installation and tried to keep up with some other projects as time allowed.

'Raspberry Tart' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)
'Hottie' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)
'Sunset Boulevard' coleus (Solenostemon scutellariodes) - Main Street Series
'Neptune's Net' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - Under the Sea Series

Above are Kathy and Eva (right) back in the sunken garden for weeding which has been quite a battle.  The ladies finished weeding which was a triumph in this challenging area! The ladies also planted a lot of coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) in that garden and we focused on planting areas that they just cleared of weeds.  The ladies got a bit wet with the showers but are tough as nails.  Kay was in for a good portion of the day too working on some prime real estate (weeding/tidying) near the main parking lot.  Pat C. was helpful with some clerical duties this morning and continued organizing our surplus perennial signs (which is no small task).  Gary spent some major time on signs and labels and cleaned the engraver which is now working like a charm.  Below (left to right) are Myrt, Mary, Patty (new volunteer) and Gena.  This "Quality Quartet" weeded and tidied our demonstration garden (future Elephant Ear Collection) and moved on to other areas as well.  Roy (second photo down) planted and weeded in the shade garden and we had both Dr. Gredler (fourth photo down) and Bill in for mowing and some lawn aeration between rain drops.  Vern worked on carpentry projects and Pat M. did some nice painting on our new Adirondack chairs.  My daughter, Dejanique (third photo down) did a nice job weeding and collecting debris in the gazebo garden.  We also saw Rollie, Audrey, Dick P., Dick H., Trevor, Mary D., Maury, Dr. Yahr and many others today.

white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) both above and below

'Isla Gold' tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) - perennial
'Stainless Steel' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
weeping Siberian peashrub (Caragana arborescens 'Walkeri')
'Rick's White Tip' spruce (Picea pungens)
this end of the shade garden is looking dynamite (Kay's area)
Spilled Wine weigela (Weigela florida 'Bokraspiwi')
proud mama and papa seen above

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Condensed Week

Today was interesting in that it was overcast for a couple hours, then we received about three hours of rain, then sunshine arrived.  We made the most of the day though with staff and volunteers as it is vital to catch up after the long holiday weekend.  Thankfully rain on Sunday helped keep things moist and additional showers today will help us avoid running irrigation most of the week.  The gardens are still very colorful although we need to get our annuals planted over the coming weeks while we also keep up with the weeds.  Above is the perennial false indigo (Baptisia australis) beginning to bloom.

We had a nice turnout of volunteers today and staff was involved with projects both inside and outside.  Our Assigned Garden volunteers continue to return for weeding and planting and we have a couple new ones as well.  This Saturday (May 30th) will be the last day of our Bagged Compost Sale (8 am - 12 noon at the Horticulture Center) so come get some great amendments for the garden or container.  This Saturday is also the third in a sequence of five straight Saturday Volunteer Work Days (8 am until 12 noon, meet at the Parker Education Center).  We'll be planting many more plants during this fun work morning.  This Thursday, May 28th, I'll be giving a lecture at the gardens on "Ornamental Edibles" (6:30 pm - 8 pm) if you're interested.  Check out the remainder of our lecture series on our website ( which includes information on many other opportunities.  All the photos in the blog today capture color seen this morning before the rains arrived.

 Dreamcatcher beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco')
 red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
 tricolor European beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Roseo-Marginata')
 'Carnival Peach Parfait' coral bells (Heuchera)

Our volunteers came in and did a great job before the rain caught up to us around 11 am.  Above are Eva (left) and Kathy continuing to do battle with the weeds in the sunken garden.  The ladies have advanced over 75% of this space and are headed towards victory soon.  We'll plant up these openings soon and hope the next wave of weeds isn't as tough to remove.  Kay was also in for weeding and did a nice job out front in the entrance garden before getting saturated.  We had Alan, Larry H., Lloyd and Pat M. out front this morning "lifting" our spring tulips (Tulipa).  We do this every year as we put in a new color each fall.  The boys almost finished before it became too muddy.  Dr. Gredler and Bill O. did some mowing while Del continued his painting project.  Dick H. had some repairs while Bob K., Dave, Jim and Vern continued on a multitude of carpentry projects.  Gary S. came in for label work while we also saw Rollie, Dr. Yahr, Art H. and many others.

Big John and Terry both had plant pick-up jobs today while both also worked on myriad garden tasks.  Lots more plants came back to the yard today and we only have a couple trips left.  Cindy worked on weeding, inventorying the elephant ear collection, planting and many other tasks.  Cheryl had some planting and tidying duties and spent some time inside today.  Janice spent time checking over our anticipated delivery items, matched labels, put together the cutting display and had other duties as well.  Further below are some additional photographs from today.

Alan M.
Larry H.
Pat M.
 columbine (Aquilegia sp.)
 'Toba' hawthorn (Crataegus x mordenensis)
 umbrella-leaf magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) bloom
 Gold Bullion pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Bachone') in bloom
tree peony (Paeonia 'Kokumon')

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Successful Work Day

The weather was perfect for a successful Volunteer Work Day this morning which included planting in two distinct areas.   We planted most of the "Alphabet Jungle Garden" and the majority of the reception garden.  A big thanks to Dejanique, Carol S., Jim S., Barb, Mandy, Carol #2, Andrea, Mary W., Shirley, Aubrey, Gary, Gena, Dennis, Chuck, Vera, Eva, Margaret, Karen M., John (with his sons Zack &Taylor) and Bill O.  Alan M. and Pat C. ran the Compost Sale at the Horticulture Center with some set-up help from Janice. Rose and Urban were at the gardens for more sanding and priming on the observation pier and Karen M. was also in the Japanese garden tidying up.  There was an early wedding in that garden space (before noon) with three more to follow out in the gardens that day.  We also saw Dr. Gredler, Dr. Yahr, Lynn Y. and many others today.  A big thank you to Terry, Gary, Larry and Bill for helping orchestrate this successful day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekend Preparations

The weather was perfect today with sunshine and temperatures reaching the mid 70 degrees F. The nice weather brought plenty of visitors in to the gardens today too and there was plenty to enjoy like the hybrid magnolia (Magnolia tripetala x sieboldii) seen above which is always quite striking.  The grounds staff (Big John, Janice, Terry and I) had lots of duties related to getting ready for the weekend.  Grounds duties included mowing, planting, watering and lots of work getting ready for some help tomorrow.  With five weddings over the weekend and a Volunteer Work Day tomorrow (8 am - 12 noon!), we'll see a lot of people around the gardens and visitation should be strong as well. Below is some additional color from today.

 creeping double buttercup (Ranunculus repens 'Pleniflorus') - perennial
 wood hyacinth (Hyacinthoides hispanica - blue form)
 'Concordia' golden English oak (Quercus robur)
 meadow rue (Thalictrum aquilegifolium 'Alba') - perennial
 'Purple Sensation' ornamental onion (Allium sp.)
 'Popcorn' doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. plicatum) above and below

We again had some great volunteer help today.  I was busy running plants around and had a trip to pick up plants so was remiss in my daily volunteer photography.  I did catch Kay (above) who was working in her assigned garden area in the shade garden which looks dynamite!  Kathy and Eva spent their time tidying around the gazebo garden for the weddings this weekend.  Rollie and Bill O. were out mowing before the busy weekend.  Dr. Gredler came in for painting and Mary H. stopped by to size up plants for her area.  Mary W. and Shirley C. did a nice job working on some of our trial garden beds which received some edging and significant weeding as well.  Cookie and Resa tidied up the North point garden which is their assigned garden.  We also saw Marsha M. and many others.  More color below!

 'Princeton Gold' Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
 'Purple Fountain' European beech (Fagus sylvatica)
Rock's tree peony (Paeonia rockii)
unknown tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)
The Japanese garden looks splendid