The image at the top is one of three loads of donated bulbs that I hauled out in the gardens this morning for planting by our volunteers (mentioned below). We had a great team for planting and you couldn't ask for a better day with sunshine and a high temperature just shy of 50 degrees F! Oddly enough, this is only the second latest time that we've planted spring blooming bulbs. Over a decade ago, we received a donation of 30,000 daffodils (Narcissus) in January and went out with pick-axes and shovels to get them in the ground. For those that know the gardens, these are all the daffodils on the slopes above the gazebo garden and north path around the pond. The bulbs planted this morning were primarily tulips (Tulipa) and daffodils (Narcissus) although we also had some grape hyacinths (Muscari) and ornamental onions (Allium). I think our team easily planted 4,000 bulbs this morning. The picture directly above shows some of our snowflake displays that will be lit up tonight along with the rest of the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) for the first official evening of this family-friendly event/fundraiser. Directly below is another shot of the interesting (and typically late) fall color of the leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) near the gazebo garden. The second photo down shows the exfoliating (peeling) copper bark on one of our two paperbark maples (Acer griseum) out in the gardens. This is definitely one of my favorite small trees for bark interest although it is marginally hardy for us as we see occasional dieback with severe winters.
We had a super duper volunteer crew today. Cindy (directly below) and Pat (second photo down) led the charge with bulb planting early this morning near the gazebo. They were later joined by Dick H. and Bill O., both of whom helped dig holes for these bulb clumps. My contribution to this effort involved slinging all the bulb packs around and avoiding potential shoveling blisters on my baby-soft hands. Jumbo Jim brought in two RECAPPERS and the three of them made the difference in getting through the entire planting project as they stayed the entire day to finish up. The third photo down shows Dr. Gredler painting our trash bins for next year. This shot is taken right before he threw his brush at me for mentioning that he missed a spot. The fourth photo down shows Jim, Dave and Vern working on more carpentry projects. Bob A. was also involved. The guys are making me eight new, very narrow and pointed, obelisks for the formal gardens next year. Del continued work on his reindeer cutouts and Maury came in to run various errands for us. We also saw Gary, Mary W. and many others.
Aside from laying out bulbs early this morning, I continued work on seed catalogs, organizing photos and am working on some cost projections for next year. We're hoping to find the funds to help maintain our three acre pond which continues to be a distraction due to varying water quality, debris, lack of circulation and heavy nutrient loads from surrounding land uses. I still haven't run in to any "down time" which is the way I like it anyway! In distributing bulbs around the gardens, I was able to note some additional interest out in the gardens. Directly below is the fall color of the bloody cranesbill geranium (Geranium sanguineum) which is one of my favorites late in the season despite some reseeding issues that are occuring. Note the tips of the leaf that are brown from touching that cold rock at night! The next photo is our arched bridge with a foreground of many ducks and geese who are probably confused by this April weather. The next photo down features the three ducks on our sculptural arch leading in to the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden. I was trying to take an "ironic shot" with ducks flying behind the sculpture but I wasn't quick enough with the camera. At the bottom is the grafted, 'Carsten's Gold' mugo pine (Pinus mugo) which continues to get brighter over the winter months.