Friday, April 27, 2012

Arbor Day At The Gardens

Arbor Day at RBG was celebrated with free admission, information and the Janesville Shade Tree Advisory Council (JSTAC) set up an information booth for the day (thanks Mary Kay!). The top photo shows our gathering in the English cottage garden with various City officials, members of the JSTAC, DNR representatives, etc. Earlier we offered a tree planting demonstration (see above) in the main parking lot and installed a Prairie Sentinel hackberry (Celtis occidentalis 'KFS-KSU1') which has a nice, upright form. This is the sixth of ten trees that we'll be installing in the main parking lot as part of a WI DNR Urban Forestry Grant. All of the selections will also have signage giving information on the specific tree but also mentioning the importance of these selections as potential ash alternatives (due to Emerald Ash Borer). These selections are also very urban tolerant and will take the tough sites where we've positioned them. We then had a dedication ceremony (mentioned above) with local officials and representatives of various agencies (DNR included) about the value of trees and their importance in our community. To the upper right is another of the leaf art projects. We're waiting on our last five to be returned and once those are all sealed with preservative, we'll get them installed throughout the gardens. To the left is the dainty bloom of the dwarf yellow columbine (Aquilegia canadensis 'Corbett'). We have this variety in various locations but all the columbines are a hit out in the gardens.

I helped Janice briefly with volunteers this morning and bounced between some other projects. Our Spring Tree Sale Clearance went well and we hope the last day of the sale tomorrow (Saturday, April 28th, 8 am until 1 pm) will see significant traffic and sales. Thanks to the Golden Kiwanis members that ran the sale. After this event, we shift in to pre -Spring Plant Sale mode. See our website for details as well as listings of all the vegetable varieties and herbs that will be available. I had a nice lunch with Mary, the new Executive Director, and we talked quite a bit about the garden (not surprisingly). To the right are the interesting blooms (note the grey/green highlights) of the nodding Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans) which is a member of the lily family and is a fall-planted bulb.
We had a busy morning with lots of volunteer assistance. The photo directly above shows three of the eighteen students from Oakhill Christian School that came today to volunteer. These students come every spring and fall (over the past four years) with their instructor Kath and are great workers. The bottom two photos show more of the gang. A big thanks to Janice who kept everything organized this morning. This group spread shredded bark mulch over the entire Scottish garden which is probably the hardest garden to mulch as it has to be done with wheelbarrows and buckets. Jan, our volunteer in that garden, came in today as well and thanked the students for all the hard work in her designated area. We've not done much mulching in that garden space in the past (because of access) and the work today was very warranted and much appreciated. To the right are the blooms of one of our Jacob's ladders (Polemonium sp.). Most of our varieties are blooming and I'm really fond of the variegated foliage forms like 'Stairway to Heaven' and 'Touch of Class'. I'll post pictures of those in the coming week or so. To the left is the showy variegated foliage and spring blooms of the yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon 'Herman's Pride'). This is one of my "go to" perennials for tough, shady locations. The form of this hardy perennial is rounded (basketball size) and the foliage really glows in the shade.

Ron K. (a new assigned gardening volunteer) was in to continue his efforts in the woodland walk garden and he has done an amazing job immediately. Kay was in to finish up processing our spring plant sale labels and then shifted to some weeding and tidying duties in the shade garden. We can always tell the areas Kay has addressed as they look pristine. Kay and I talked about the looming excitement of the female cottonwoods dropping millions of seeds in the next month or so if our season stays in the "advanced mode". Bill O. was in to help haul mulch for the Oakhill group and he helped check our garbage cans and assist Marv with some work. Marv was a big help loading up and hauling mulch this morning and he finished many tasks associated with the new parking lot trees in short order. Marv and Bill also backfilled the restacked wall section in the sunken garden. Marianne was in briefly to freshen up the cutting display and prepared for our compost sale tomorrow. We also saw Maury, Dr. Yahr, Vern, Ruth, Kris and many others. To the right is the close-up shot of the blooms on the quamash or camassia (Camassia leichtlinii 'Blue Danube'). The flower petals on this selection have hints of lighter blue on lavender. Value the close observations of plants as there is so much beauty in the details.

1 comment:

Tree Service New York said...

Sounds like you guys got quite a crew! Thats awesome! My community needs a group of gardeners, its boring being the only one here that wants to turn their backyard into a whole new world with the means of seeds. Agreed?

-Carlos Hernandez
Tree Service New York