Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The "Snowball Effect" in April

All sorts of bulbs are starting to bloom. With warmer temperatures finally arriving, the flush of blooms comes fast and this "snowball effect" will reveal something new every day. The drawback of unseasonably warm weather is that plants may bloom earlier than normal and/or finish blooming in a tighter window. Regardless, we have no control over that and can only enjoy spring color like that of these glory-of-the-snow. The larger pink blooms are Chionodoxa luciliae 'Pink Giant' and the smaller blue are Chionodoxa forbesii. These October planted bulbs are extremely long-lived and while under 12" in height, are a delight in the April garden. Plant them en masse for future generations to enjoy. They go dormant by mid-June only to return the following spring. Look for them at garden centers this fall and from reputable mail-order resources.

We were out today spreading blended mushroom compost around the gardens. This is a great time for us to address large areas before perennials engulf the space. We are careful to taper the compost away from the emerging plants. We apply a 1" topdressing every year to existing perennial beds as an organic mulch that will eventually break down and enrich the soil.

Sculpture is an important part of the garden. We have many statues and about a dozen metal art pieces. This rose sculpture (note the cardinal on top - also metal) is one of my favorites and was created by local artist Brady Lueck who does wonders with sculptural steel. Many of these pieces are commissioned as memorials and go thru an acceptance process with our Garden Development Committee. I'm not a huge fan of modern art but I do like most of our pieces at the gardens and particularly those that have a link to horticulture or nature in general. As with all additions to the garden, we have to consider proper location, future maintenance and adequate funding to perpetuate the existence of these features over time. Very little lasts in perpetuity, which is something we try to relate to donors. We'll be putting up a cool sunflower sculpture this year as well as an enormous bronze sculpture (12' tall) of bear cubs climbing a tree trunk. Come check it out!

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