Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Cooler Day For Weeding

Today was noticeably cooler, particularly in the morning. Our rain last night never materialized and there was just the barest wetting of the pavement this morning as the clouds later passed through the area. Needless to day, the morning was quite tolerable although the afternoon did see some temperatures in the mid 80 degrees F. We had a stellar volunteer turnout this morning, particularly our ever-expanding group of "Grumpettes". We had 15 ladies come in to do a major weeding tour in multiple areas around the gardens. The top photo above shows the ladies in the annual bed along Palmer Drive. They also did the front sign planting and most of the All-America Selections beds. I'll try to remember everyone's name....Thanks to Mary R., Shae (her granddaughter), Mary D., Marilyn, Terri, Karla, Renee, Jenny, Karen, Glenna, Sue, Nicole, Zoe, Donna and a new volunteer that I can't remember...Both Janice and Jenny E. worked with this elite weeding team and they did a great job this morning. The other photos to the above right and left show this group in action this morning. To the lower right are Hal and Doris who won our "cutest couple of the day" award. A close second place goes to Mary and Roy (green t-shirt) in the shade garden planting as seen directly below.

Del, Bob C. and Ron Y. worked on hauling shredded bark mulch to multiple locations out in the gardens. The guys also worked on tidying up the sunken garden and Dick H. and Bob C. went out in the boat to "straighten" our fountain (as seen below). Over the weekend, some swimmers pulled the fountain out of position and managed to get a cinder block on top of the fountain in the attempt to plug it up. I wish I could say this is the first time the fountain has been "compromised" but it happens all the time. Pat was in for some painting/staining on the Rath Center and Jim and Bob A. worked on some miscellaneous carpentry projects. Dr. Gredler was in for mowing and treated select turf areas for clover issues. Dr. Yahr headed out to water some newly planted trees. Mary W. helped plant and water the herb garden. We also saw Shelley, Maury and many others throughout the afternoon. Kudos to our awesome volunteers.We didn't take any sort of break from watering out in the gardens today and Larry jumped right in to running irrigation throughout the gardens. We're alternating days in regards to irrigation and still hope for that ellusive soaking rain! Larry also set-up sprinklers and worked on a wide range of projects including mowing and checking over our water features. Big John also mowed and moved on to a wide range of watering duties as well. After working with the Grumpettes, both Jenny and Janice had other gardening duties and watering tasks as well. It was a full break room today and the grounds staff did a nice job helping facilitate our volunteer contributions. We do pride ourselves in always being ready to accomodate volunteer interest, particularly in the gardens. It is important to maximize the time offered by all of our volunteers. To the right is the showy variegated feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam') which also has the visual interest of being quite narrow and rigid in the landscape. There are three specimens clumped here together (Magda's berm) and that variegation is quite pronounced and different from the green-leaved variety 'Karl Foerster' (also nice). To the left is the huge, showy bloom of the Snow Queen oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Flemygea') which truly has some giant flowers and a consistently nice maroon/red fall color (late). This specimen is in the shade garden and it looks like we'll have a good spring for oakleaf hydrangea blooms. Some years are rather thin in terms of the flower show.

I did a nice tour of the entire gardens this morning and was fairly pleased with our progress thus far (Happy Summer!). While we still have some planting to do next week, we're addressing our weeding "hot spots" sequentially and aggressively each day. We are also getting some very nice plant donations from local greenhouses that will become quite useful as strategic filler in the coming weeks. To the right is the showy foliage of 'Pinot Gris' coral bells (Heuchera) which was a nice shade of melon earlier in spring. I like all coral bells that have prominent veination! Directly below is one of our "grow bags" that we're trialing out in the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Collection. Janice placed a good six or seven of these options out in the collection and we thought we'd observe the pros and cons of using these "bag systems" as containers for particularly herbs and vegetables. At the bottom is one of our eight hanging baskets on the formal garden pergola.

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