Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An "Octobery" April Day

The orange tulip in front of the building is 'Orange Queen'. We're getting lots of comments on the vividness of these tulips. We planted 1000 of these last fall in groups of 20. We plant them 6" deep in a tight clump to simulate a "bouquet" effect in the garden. These look dynamite and are a nice transition to all the orange we'll have for summer color in the exact same location. Once these lose color, we dig them up for volunteers with the instructions to plant them immediately and let the foliage continue to die back. We have no shortage of volunteers interested in adopting these colorful bulbs.

The weather was frigid this morning but warmed up enough to be quite comfortable while working out in the gardens. We didn't get close to frost temperatures and hopefully wont in the near future. The cooler temperatures should help lengthen and "preserve" tulips and other bulbs blooming right now.

I walked the entirety of the gardens which I always enjoy. Of course it's tough to put "blinders" on as I see weeds and other distractions. I take a notepad now to write down some "action items" as my memory is not what it used to be. I'm always ready with back up projects for volunteers and wont run shy of things to do until December at this point. I took many pictures today and caught this neat grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum 'Mt. Hood') with its little "snow-capped" tops. Years ago we planted 50 taxa of Muscari and there are some neat ones out there. Weed control efforts are in full swing as we're seeing lots of little devils popping up everywhere. Time spent now with proactive weeding saves a lot of time later in the season. We're only limited by the number of hands helping out there right now!

Don't ever forget to enjoy the beauty of emerging foliage on deciduous plants. Many times the new foliage has a neat color and/or texture. This image below is of the golden cutleaf elderberry (Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold' with pinkish new growth that will age to bright gold and shoot up to 6-7 feet tall in one season. Note how far it was cut back in winter (down to 15"). Love this new growth (and this shrub in general).

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