Sunday, March 30, 2008

April Showers Bring May Flowers (& Flooding)

With our pond continuing to rise over our lowest paths and above our shoreline retaining walls, we have lots of concerns about erosion and other challenges that will result when spring rains contribute to the problem. The gardens will take the rain although the heavy snows have melted down and are providing lots of ground moisture. Our moss garden has been getting greener with each passing day. Our little moss island has really filled in over the years. I get asked what species of moss we display and have to be honest that I have no idea. We skimmed moss patches up from around the gardens when the Fern & Moss Garden was created back in 2003. We did order some moss from out east somewhere and it never really took hold. It's interesting to note that WI has over 400 species of native moss. Moss gardens, while having a long history in Japan, are catching on here. Moss is a great groundcover and has been around for 400 million years; so it's doing something right! Moss will actively photosynthesize year round if given sunlight. That's why you'll see green moss throughout the winter and particularly in early spring.
We had a great spring symposium on Saturday. This is the fifth one that Mike Maddox (UW Hort Educator / Rotary Gardens) organized and it went very well. Enjoyed all the speakers and the event seemed very well received by the 125+ participants. It was nice to do a talk on shrubs and I hope to expand that presentation in the future and we find more shrubs that perform well for us. Bagged compost sale starting next Saturday (April 5) with a plant sale looming (May 17).
We're going to be developing a neat collection of Echinacea (coneflower) over the next two years. Purple coneflowers have many varieties and there are now many crosses and hybrids with exciting blooms and/or foliage. We feel some may be over-rated but regardless, we hope this collection of 100+ varieties will be of value for our assessments and for the visitor.

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