Monday, June 4, 2012

Another Full Parking Lot

The parking lot at the Horticulture Center can handle about 20 cars at the most and today, we had not only a full lot but some very creative parking as well! This is of course due to a great volunteer turnout this morning with many Grumpies and Grumpettes. The top photo is a shot in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden. The bright yellow tree in the center is often asked about in the gardens. This is a golden Norway maple (Acer platanoides) called 'Princeton Gold'. We had so many compliments on it last year that we planted three more in select locations where they would be living "focal points" and really draw the eye. This image also helps portray the spreading nature of lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina) which I do like and feel is appropriate as a tactile plant in this space. However, it is "overly happy" in this location and will have to be controlled shortly! Directly above is the orange African daisy (Arctotis hybrida 'Flame') which is one of our featured plants along the "orange wall". The larch area garden space at RBG has a long, raised wall border (140' long by an average of 6' deep). We like to plant different colors and themes each year and this orange theme will certainly be memorable! This long space is also punctuated by our orange urn/pedestal containers too. To the right is the 'Blackout' coral bells (Heuchera) which really is quite dark with large leaves. I think the variety 'Obsidian' may be as dark but the leaf has more rounded edges (a different look). To the left is a hybrid false indigo (Baptisia hybrida) called 'Chocolate Chip'. I like this bicolor look and this is one from Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens (MI). He's developed some other nice Baptisia hybrids as has Dr. Jim Ault at the Chicago Botanic Garden. As customers, we're lucky to have such a great selection although the native species of false indigo available are top notch too.

We had some volunteer Grumpy painters today (like Ron to the right) that helped Pat with continued progress on the gazebo. Gary also painted and was part of the crew the last time this structure was painted. Urban, Lloyd (new Grumpy), Bob C. and Ron B. all worked on spreading shredded bark and were later joined by Russ (new Grumpy) and Dick H. after they finished installing a new bean tower at the Horticulture Center. Rollie, Dick P. and Dick C. worked on placing new memorial bricks around the grounds and the carpenters (Dave, Vern, Jim and Bob A.) kept busy with a couple projects including ordering additional lumber for some new projects on the horizon. Stan did more pruning in the Japanese garden and was later joined by Karen. Shirley came in to plant in the color rooms garden and was later joined by Jane (a volunteer returnee, welcome back!). Cathy I. helped plant the beds around the North point arbor structure with Jane and they did a great job. Janet M. cut/collected more daffodil (Narcissus) foliage from the daylily collection. Bev W. was a weeding whirlwind in the sunken garden which was perfect timing before our first Monday wedding (ever) at the gardens. Maury helped with all manner of tasks today and we also saw Polly, Bill O., Bill O. (#2) who helped tidy up and collect garbage and many others. Dr. Gredler did his Monday round of mowing as well. Bev and Deb were also on hand to finalize some details regarding the oak leaf garden art project. With Monday being our busiest day of the week, it was challenging to prepare for the wedding (and work around it) but we managed. Some flagstone work was also occuring in the reception garden (Becker Brothers Masonry) which became a challenge later in the day but should be finished by Wednesday. If anything, the above paragraph should be an indication of the continued solid and vital support of so many volunteers. In sequence below are Russ (left) and Dick H., Gary painting at the gazebo and Dave T. (left) and Jim D. resetting some bricks. What a productive day! We had plenty of visitors around the gardens and usually when I see that many people touring, I check to see if it is a bus tour. There was no bus in the parking lot but we met many people from Madison and oddly enough, talked to two gentleman from Australia (and they weren't there together!). After laying out some plants this morning, I took advantage of the sunshine and sprayed three backpack loads of herbicide. I'm not a huge chemical fan but we do have some areas where manual weed removal is quite difficult and my periodic spraying is quite effective and timely. I had my camera with me so was able to take some shots here and there. I stumbled on the 'Minnie Pearl' hybrid phlox (Phlox hybrida) seen to the right. This fragrant hybrid is only about 15" tall and looks like a mini garden phlox (Phlox paniculata). The Plant Delights mailorder catalog has a good description of this variety and its parentage for anyone interested. I remember planting this as a small specimen years ago. To the left is the 'Pomegranate' yarrow (Achillea millefolium) combined with lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina). This same combo can be seen from a distance in the top photo (lower right).

The grounds staff had a busy day today too. Pat was in to work on painting the gazebo with the Grumpies. Big John worked on watering, fertilizing, hauling plants and cutting back bulb foliage. Jenny was in to remove bulb foliage too and also spent time watering containers. Marianne tidied the entrance garden and two other garden spaces. She also watered the entire yard, staked more ornamental onions and did her cutting display. Larry helped with many projects but was able to spend some significant time with the string trimmer and also moved sprinklers around. He'll continue this work later this week. Marv and Terry continued to rototill and prepare more garden areas and also continued their edging project in the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Collection. The guys also set up some major sprinklers and worked on other projects as well... To the right is one of the pallet planters that Janice and Terry worked on last week. I'll be tracking the growth on these interesting vertical planters. We'll plant the other one tomorrow. At the bottom is one of the many thistles (Cirsium, unknown species) we find here and there. I was amazed by the bloom detail and this bee was much more interested in the flower than with me... The first photo down is the flower before opening with the spectacular flowering shown in the bottom photo.


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