Despite some dark skies, heavy winds and the possibility of strong storms, the day was actually pretty nice and we only had a brief 5 minutes of rain or so (more would have been ok though...). The photo at the top shows planting being done along our shoreline which was funded by a grant focused on shoreline improvements. The plants were brought to the gardens by Emma and Kaylee from Tallgrass Restorations (Milton, WI) and all species are native to North America and can take periodic wetness. This border averages about 12' in width (see to the right) and is fairly soggy thru the summer. However, we've seen fluctuating water levels over the years with this shoreline being 15' wide or so or totally underwater (for a short period of time). Regardless, the ladies from Tallgrass essentially placed our 1,800, native perennial plant plugs in three sections; really wet towards the water's edge, semi-damp in the middle and drier (but wet tolerant) on the upper portion. The planting "gang" fluctuated throughout the day but included Marianne, Margaret, Winifred, Art, Jenny, Janice, Larry, Pat, Mary W. and Big John. We have about 25% left to plant which we'll install on Wednesday. This should look nice and while it took longer than we thought for planting, the end result will be nice. Thanks to all those that helped plant! The photo directly above is Mary B. with a group of youngsters coming thru the garden as part of the ongoing "Plants Program" which continues to be quite popular. To the left is a new, hybrid dwarf mullein (Verbascum hybrida 'Jackie in Yellow') that only gets 16" tall and will rebloom with continued deadheading (the removal of spent blossoms). What a nice shade of yellow!. See our volunteers, staff and the Tallgrass ladies hard at work! To the right is the neat foliage of another cool coralbells (Heuchera) called 'Plum Royale'.
With Memorial Day yesterday, we had a shift of many Grumpies coming in today. It was one of our busiest work mornings with not only fifteen Grumpies but all the grounds staff as well. It was tricky sharing vehicles this morning for various projects but we made it thru the morning. Bob C. and Dennis mulched and woodchipped areas around the periphery of the Japanese garden while the carpenters (Dave, Jim, Vern and Bob A.) continued work on their various projects. Bob T. was out continuing his air edging progress while Ron W., Ron B., Rollie and "new Ron" took down our last three plant sale tents and then headed out front of the building to dig out bulbs from the center planters in our entrance garden. Del and Dr. Yahr cleared some waning alliums out of some large beds near the arboretum (future ornamental edible / compact vegetable display) while Dr. Yahr also helped do some planting in the gazebo garden. Mary and Roy were in to do a final weeding of their section of the shade garden in preparation for some planting tomorrow. Chris and Bob G. were in today to plant a couple hundred annuals on the south side of the sunken garden which they have maintained for 15 years+? Bev W. will be in tomorrow to also plant in that garden. With Marianne and Janice facilitating the shoreline planting, I was able to haul plants out to two more areas for planting tomorrow. We'll see how much we still have to plant along the shoreline tomorrow morning as both Emma and Kaylee stayed later to keep plugging away (pun intended).We all had a pretty busy day with fresh air (20-30 mph wind gusts) and sporadic sunshine. Above is Big John clearing out the 'Brazen Brass' ornamental mustard (Brassica juncea) from the bed where he planted these about five weeks ago. They are starting to bolt (bloom) and oddly enough, this same border had a similar mustard that went to seed last year and John was able to see the effects of rampant reseeding from the previous season of mustards. He did a nice job clearing this long border, rototilling it and smoothing it out for planting (hopefully tomorrow). John also mowed and helped plant at the end of the day. To the left are the vivid pink blooms (over blue foliage) of the 'Firewitch' pinks (Dianthus grationapolitanus 'Feurehexe'). To the right are the buttery blooms of the 'Carolina Moonlight' hybrid wild indigo (Baptisia hybrida). This is our first one (of 10 or so) to bloom at the gardens and we look forward to them as they get bigger (36"x36") each year! Pat pushmowed and then spent the rest of the day planting along the shoreline. Marianne planted the shoreline all day but had time to do another nice cutting display. Janice cleared the terrace border and containers and moved down to the shoreline for planting as well. Larry weedwhipped, mowed and worked on many other tasks including planting the shoreline in the afternoon. Jenny cleared a good portion of the ornamental onions (Allium 'Purple Sensation') clumps on the entrance garden slope in advance of composting and planting in a week or two. Jenny then moved on to the shoreline as well. Marv and Terry were in the North Point garden most of the day installing edging and getting the area ready for sodding after the irrigation is installed (hopefully soon!). The guys also took care of watering containers which was timely after we realized the rain that looked promising for quantity made a pretty wimpy appearance. Little Jerry was here to mow and prune some evergreens while Dr. Gredler did a nice swath of mowing thru the gardens as well. We also saw Karen, Bill O., Elsa, Mary H., Dave H., Lois and many others as well. To the left is the nice foliage of the 'Wolverine' plantain lily (Hosta) and to the right is Bev leading a group of students for the plants program today. Our educational volunteers are so vital to pursuing our mission of horticultural education and appreciation and we truly hope that students of all ages learn something from the gardens and form a connection to this very special place. More planting tomorrow interspersed with watering, weeding and some herbicide use to catch up in our nightmare areas. We don't have enough hands out there weeding and it's very tough to walk by with a load of plants to be planted. However, when I see our yard of "to be planted" items, priorities become apparent!! Below is a beautiful bloom of one of our many tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) around the gardens (this one is in the woodland walk). The bottom photo shows the nice blue flower clusters of the popular, hybrid bluestar (Amsonia hybrida 'Blue Ice') that has some nice impact in June. At only 15" tall, this nice little clumper packs some major flower power and we like to put it in groupings of five or more specimens.