Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rain, VIPs & A Visit To Sheboygan

Today was almost entirely overcast and the rain varied from a light mist to a steady downpour. I'm still pretty happy that we've had all of this recent precipitation (almost 3") as it is quite timely as we head in to fall. Above are yours truly, Dr. Edward Hasselkus, Professor Emeritus, UW-Madison Dept. of Horticulture and Jane L., Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society member and gardener extraordinaire. Dr. H. and Jane came down from Madison to tour the gardens and we had a great chat over lunch. Jane had been to the gardens earlier in the year and we were happy to have Doc tour the gardens while I picked his brain on various plants, recommendation advice and identification issues. Dr. H. has been a strong supporter of the gardens and has an unbelievable encylopedic knowledge of woody plants that has benefited many organizations (including ours!). Dr. Hasselkus has long been associated with the Longenecker Gardens which is the woody plant collection up at the UW-Arboretum. Dr. H. has been the curator there for 45+ years I believe and has introduced many of his woody plant selections in to "the trade" from that arboretum.

With all the wind and rain, the gardens were quite messy with leaves, twigs and debris. Larry went out and cleaned up many of our water features that were cluttered with this debris and he moved on to general clean-up with our other gardeners. Unfortunately a huge cottonwood (Populus deltoides) branch dropped and damaged our cool weeping ginkgo (Gingo biloba 'Pendula') tree although it is still salvageable and will look more "windswept" with one side gone... Larry cleaned up that mess as well. Big John collected many of our hoses out in the gardens and ran out for gas. John then helped collect debris around the gardens which ended up being a full day affair for everyone. He also removed more spent annuals (impatiens before they get soggy) and some plants that had been toppled by the winds. The rain yesterday affected our Grumpy turnout so a couple guys showed up today to help out. Both Ron W. and Del were in to help tidy up the paths and collect debris. Bill O. was also in to help and Dr. Gredler was in to mow and collect leaves as well. We also saw Dr. Yahr, Little Jerry, Kris and some others over at the Horticulture Center. While it was a dismal day, there was much accomplished and we'll continue clean-up efforts tomorrow as it looks like this storm system will be moving out of the area.

Last night I spoke at the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, WI to a group of 50 or so. The topic was Healing Gardens and it appeared to be well-received. I had lots of questions and it was an enthusiastic group. This presentation was sponsored by the local garden club and thanks to Judy and the other ladies for organizing this event. I arrived in Sheboygan an hour early (on purpose) so I could head over to the UW-Sheboygan campus and take another look at the Bookworm Gardens (www.bookwormgardens.org/) which I've seen on three previous occasions. I viewed this garden earlier this spring and was amazed at the recent developments and expanded garden space that I saw yesterday. This is a top notch children's garden with spaces/experiences that are designed around many of the more recognizeable children's stories (i.e. Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.). The plant selection is quite impressive too. I took many more photos and enjoyed the nice plantings around the UW-Extension offices in the near vicinity. Sheboygan is quite a hike (2.5 hours) from Janesville but is a neat town and we're starting to see people making the trip to RBG from this area. I'm hoping the local garden groups will charter a bus trip next year.... Below are just a few of my images from Bookworm Gardens (isn't that a cool visitor's center/office?).

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