Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More Signs Of Spring

Yesterday was close to 65 degrees F and t-shirts and shorts were in abundance around town. My daughter and I walked our dogs in the afternoon and it felt (and smelled) like May. The mild temperatures have continued today and I was able to do a quick tour of the gardens this morning and the transformation is quite evident as more plants continue to bloom and poke out of the ground. The top picture shows one of our hellebores (Helleborus) in full bloom in the gazebo garden. There are plenty more hellebores starting to bloom including the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) seen in the bottom picture (located in the color rooms garden). Also above is the thuggish garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) looking nice and healthy. This is a second year plant that will bloom in 5-7 weeks depending on the temperatures. This biennial is evergreen and doesn't mind biding time under the snow until it warms up. I'm making plenty of progress on the Wellness Garden plan and should be able to finish it up by this weekend. We're also currently developing a Therapeutic Horticulture Workshop (April 25th) that will attract care-givers and other interested individuals regarding some of the basics on using horticulture to benefit physical and cognitive function for family, clients and ourselves. There will be a strong focus on programs for older adults and we hope this group will offer some insights on future programs for the Wellness Garden. Mike M. is spearheading this program effort and it will be exciting to see more of this occur in our region and at the gardens proper. To the above right are more snowdrops (Galanthus) in the gazebo garden. To the left is the winter adonis (Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai') still looking good and to the right and below are the winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) which are blooming by the thousands. These pictured are from the gazebo garden border that is located in front of a sleep sloping woodland. I saw patches of these 20'-30' upslope and remembered reading that ants will frequently "relocate" the seeds and help this plant colonize. That slope should look quite yellow with aconites in 100 years if those armies of ants continue to spread these colorful plants!Directly above are the unfurling, confetti-like blooms of the vernal witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis 'Sandra') near the sunken garden. I'm keeping an eye on the corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas) in the Scottish garden as that will be blooming in a week or two as well. While I caught up on some deskwork, which includes preparing for five impending presentations, we had some nice volunteer help this morning as well. Marianne was in to process more labels for the engraver. She's prepping the perennial labels which will be Luis' next focus after the woody plants are complete. The picture to the left shows the stacks of completed woody labels that have to be adhered to their stakes/anchors and ultimately "planted" out in the gardens. The blank stacks of smaller labels in the back will be utilized for our existing (and recently ordered) perennials. Marianne also worked on some other odds and ends and also met with Rita regarding our spring tree sale on April 20th and 21st. Check out for more information on the tree sale and details on the nine trees that will be offered. Dr. Gredler was in to continue painting Adirondack chairs (finishing lime green and moving to red). Gena and Myrt headed out in the gardens to do more clean-up before the rains arrive. We also saw Urban and Big John. With warm weather, our roofing contractor will be starting very soon on replacing the cedar roofs on both the gazebo and fishing pier structure. As much as I liked the "mossy" antiquated look on both those roofs, the original cedar shake was spongey and was starting to really deteriorate. This fresh look was thanks to some very generous donors (anonymous). I've had many calls regarding the Hostalicous lecture tonight (6:30 pm by Jeff Miller of Land of the Giants Hosta Farm) and hope we have a great turnout (walk-ins welcome!). Jeff's home garden and nursery will be part of our 2012 Home Garden Tour (July 21st) as well. Directly below is the emerging foliage of monkshood (Aconitum) which always pops up early and is quite frost tolerant.


Rachel B. Freeman said...

Magnificent Helleborus on top! What is the variety? We are having similar signs of spring in Northern NJ (6a and 6b): Galanthus and Eranthis are finishing up, Adonis is still looking great. Interesting to see what is going on in WI.

Mark Dwyer, Director of Horticulture, Rotary Botanical Gardens said...

This hellebore bloom is a clump of three original specimens that are labeled at Helleborus hybridus 'Sunshine Selections'. We've been accumlating so many and it's nice to see this perennial get its due. I envy your climate. My brother and family are in Scotch Plains.