Above is a nice shot of our alpine garden. This is the area where we are amassing a small collection of dwarf and miniature conifers. We received a grant from the American Conifer Society that will allow us to install more signage, plant new conifers and even add some neat bulbs this fall. Grants and donations above and beyond what is given for operations (also vital) are what really make the difference in terms of active development. Budget issues have made it tough to even maintain the status quo.
I didn't get in to work today but accomplished a lot at home in between showers. I think our Saturday plantings have been watered in sufficiently by now! Tomorrow we'll look for washed out paths and possible tree branches and other debris that needs attention. We have a wonderful group of Master Gardeners (Rock Prairie Master Gardeners) that come in on Sundays to water. Their talents were probably not needed today but these volunteers have really become a huge asset in terms of watering (and allow me to avoid 3-6 hours of watering every Sun. at the gardens!). They are also vital with planting and maintaining the gardens as well as facillitating various special events.
Dick, one of our Grumpies, welded us this new support post for our mailbox. The snowplows of this past winter destroyed the previous mailbox (understandably) due to the volume of snow and ice that had to be removed from Palmer Drive. This post system is industrial and note the two little planters we'll be able to put plants in down low! A local artist friend of Dick's painted the mailbox and we're happy to have it out along our road (even if it doesn't go with the orange and blue theme behind it!).
Note the Allium 'Globemaster' below which is a real solid perennial for us. While I've seen most of our fall-planted Alliums come back every year, the diameter of the umbel (flower cluster sphere) decreases a little bit each year. These 'Globemaster' alliums below are roughly 5" in diameter. The first spring after planting, they were about 8" in diameter. This subtle decrease has occurred over the past 8 years or so. Mail order bulb catalogs show a picture of this bulb and it's enormous. We don't mind the change and are happy to have early June covered with masses of alliums. Note the Star of Persia (Allium christophii) at the bottom. At 15" in height, the sphere is enormous (8-10" in diameter) and has a "metallic violet" appearance. Once dried, the umbel is a nice contribution to a dried arrangement.