Monday, March 12, 2012

At Least It Was A Sunny Start...

Yesterday was close to 70 degrees F which is t-shirt weather in Wisconsin for sure! I was outside in my own garden and took advantage of the mild weather. Of course, I couldn't help but speculate how much more would be emerging and blooming at the gardens by this morning and a brief walk thru RBG early today confirmed my predictions. The top picture shows one of our many patches of winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) and note the lone patch of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) in the distance! I'm seeing many non-blooming seedlings of the winter aconite and it looks like it is truly beginning to colonize. When I worked at Fernwood Botanical Gardens & Nature Preserve ( in Niles, MI, we had a woodland segment of the gardens that was about 1 acre of solid winter aconites every spring. It was a literal "carpet of yellow." In 100 years, visitors to RBG will comment on the massive drifts of this early bulb! Directly above are some crocuses (Crocus sp.) blooming amongst the aconite in the gazebo garden. To the right is some moss starting to send out spore structures and of course the mosses are loving this weather. It was quite sunny for a couple hours this morning but ended up being quite rainy by late morning. To the left is another hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) in full bloom with plenty more peaking out and budding throughout the gardens.

I walked around with Pat and Urban this morning as we examined the entire gardens for the last of our pruning needs. With the ground softening up and trees budding out, our pruning window is closing quickly. Overall, though, we've done more pruning out in the gardens this winter than ever before. Thanks to Urban, Pat, Larry, Bill, Stan, Dennis and all those that helped with this important task. I also talked with Marv and Terry regarding some of our early spring tasks. A reached a comfortable point with the design for the new Wellness Garden which will be presented to the Garden Development Committee tomorrow and the Board of Directors next week. Then I hope we can proceed with fundraising and bring this garden project to the proverbial "front burner". To the right is another rare crocus in bloom that hasn't been nibbled down yet (rare because it hasn't been nibbled). It's never hard to get a good photo of our arched bridge (below) and this morning was no exception. Our carpenters will inspect this bridge for structural needs/improvements if needed and we'll get another coat or two of paint on this popular feature in April. We had a strong turnout of volunteers this morning and originally thought we'd have a "rain out". However, the morning was very productive both inside and outside. After my tour with Pat and Urban, they jumped right in to more pruning in the gazebo garden (see Pat above). Terry and Marv (directly above) pulled out more stakes and took a good look at some of our immediate spring needs around the gardens. They're always asking me to take their photo so I had to oblige today... Dick W. was also out in the gardens finishing cutting back grasses and tidying up in the woodland walk garden. I saw Mary H. out in her assigned garden space too and was happy to see her in a raincoat which was timely. Dave, Vern, Jim and Bob A. continued building our 20 new obelisks and Dr. Gredler was painting another obelisk and cucumber support. Larry spent the morning scraping the old paint off of our bike rack which will receive some repairs and a new coat of paint shortly. Dick H. and Del continued cutting aluminum stakes for our new plant labels. Marianne was in the office and processed more trees/shrub signs and is preparing them for the next step which is affixing them to their stake/anchor. Big John stopped by and ran an errand for me and we also saw Gordy from the Golden K and talked about the Spring Tree Sale (see our website). Janice came in after lunch to work on more research and plant sale preparations. She worked with Cindi on Saturday and started the production of our 23,000+ vegetable labels for the plant sale. To the right are more snowdrops (Galanthus) coming up amongst a 'Grasshopper' sedge (Carex hybrida). To the left is our moss island in the fern & moss garden looking more vivid every day. To the right are our bags of blended compost, ready for the Compost Sale (starting Saturday, April 7th, 8 am - 12 noon). This sale continues the same hours every Saturday in April and May. The surprise delivery of 900 bags of compost occured last Friday afternoon and I'm glad Big John was there to unload it.

I'll be speaking at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show ( on Thursday which runs from March 10th until March 18th. I'm commuting with Ed L. and Noel V. as all three of us are speaking. I'll be talking about ornamental edibles in containers which is a fun topic. Directly below is the 'Sandra' vernal witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis) today with some nice backlighting and at the bottom is Dr. Gredler looking excited about another cucumber support paint job ("But this darn thing will be covered up by the cucumbers!").

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