Thursdays continue to see a nice turnout of volunteers and the warm temperatures certainly helped. The high today was close to 40 degrees F although we may have some cold rain on the way both today and tomorrow. Above are Dick W. (left) and Terry heading back out in to the gardens for one of their many trips to collect lights, displays, trees, etc from our Holiday Lights Show (HLS). Urban (below) is taking the lights off of one of the 100+ that were decorated. All of these donated spruces (Picea sp.) were wired up on stakes. We haul the trees back to the Horticulture Center where they are later chipped up in to our mulch pile for direct use out in the gardens. Other outdoor helpers included Pat, Larry H., RBG Larry and Bill O. At the Horticulture Center, the carpenters continued work on our eight new obelisks. Two photos down are (left to right), Jim, Vern and Dave working on assembling these obelisks ("How many Grumpies does it take to assemble an obelisk....?"). Bob A. was off camera continuing the painting of these structures. Dr. Gredler also did some re-staining and cord processing. Gary researched some new label options for us this year while Maury ran some errands with Larry and Dick H. and talked electrical issues with Tom C. We also saw Del, Bob C. and many others today.
I was able to tour the gardens again today and aside from the same hellebores (Helleborus) that have been starting to bloom, there isn't much action yet. It's hard to believe that I took my first snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) photo on February 1 last year! That started what turned out to be an advanced year all the way to the end. I hope we don't replicate the weather patterns from last year and I would rather have the snow than these rainy days coming up! The snow cover from December is melting away but there is still ice in some areas. The ground is barely frozen and in some places, isn't frozen at all. I did note some interesting bark as seen below with a small redbud (Cercis canadensis) and a Snow Fountains weeping cherry (Prunus hybrida 'Snofozam') respectively. The third photo down shows the 'Grasshopper' evergreen sedge (Carex hybrida) looking nice with surrounding snow. This plant will be more ragged by April but will still regenerate new growth.
I finished my biggest seed order (Ivy Garth Seeds) which will ultimately account for over 50% of our seeds for the garden and a nice portion of the vegetable varieties for the Spring Plant Sale (May 11th and 12th, 9 am - 4 pm). We should have our plant sale vegetable varieties on our website by the end of the month. I also received some seeds in the mail from Fleuroselect which is trialing program (established in 1970) in Europe that is very similar to All-America Selections (AAS) in its purpose and mission. We have been a display garden for Fleuroselect since 2003 and are one of only nine approved display sites in North America. Some of these varieties are also AAS winners but there are some neat varieties sent to us each year. Throughout my tour of the gardens this morning, the deer "presence" was apparent as seen below with the decimated yew (Taxus) and evidential poop nearby. The garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) seen in the next photo down is as evergreen as ever and this second year stage (biennial) should be targeted in March on a warm day with manual removal or herbicides. Larry has done a masterful job organizing the incoming HLS elements and continues to process piles like the one seen at the bottom.