Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Half Step Ahead...

Tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) are going bonkers out in the gardens! Years ago, Song Sparrow Nursery (awesome mail order nursery near here started by Roy Klehm) donated dozens of "un-named" tree peonies. These were specimens that lost their tags in the nursery and couldn't be identified and/or sold. Normally we don't like displaying plants that we can't identify to the variety level but we weren't going to pass on such a substantial donation of tree peonies. Well, five years later we have some pretty nice specimens. Remember, don't cut these down in winter! We'll have to have Roy visit some spring and "re-identify" these for us!

Today was another "combo Saturday" of plant sale and work day. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped with one (or both) of those activities. The plant sale was slower than last week but we cleared out more plants and will work on distributing the remainder to worthy causes next week. I was barely ahead of the planters today laying out plants. I had about 25 helpers and we put in 5,000 or so annuals (only 95,000 to go...) We accomplished a lot and had a beautiful morning to enjoy the gardens prior to 1,000 wedding guests decending upon the gardens for four outdoor weddings. I don't begrudge the fact that we host weddings but the gardens can be quite congested on Saturdays and parking can become quite a challenge.

To the right is a close-up of the spring foliage of a relatively new variety of Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum) called 'Samurai Sword' (in our fern & moss garden). So many of the Japanese painted ferns look the same but have fancy names like 'Wildwood Twist', 'Silver Falls', 'Burgundy Lace', etc. There are some subtle differences but the overall effect (and commonality) of silvery fronds with burgundy highlights can't be beat. 'Samurai Sword' has a high proportion of burgundy and is quite noticeable. I wish we had more time to adequately evaluate our 200+ varieties of ferns... Sweet shot of barrenwort (Epimedium x rubrum) foliage below. This perennial is done blooming but continues to contribute.

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