I was able to take a tour of the gardens today and was lucky to not have a spill with all the "wet ice" out there. The weather was overcast and drizzling to start although I think it will turn to snow later in the day. It was nice to see the snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) still poking up and poised to bloom. These three clumps are in the woodland walk garden and are usually our earliest to bloom out in the gardens. Overall, I was happy with the February appearance of the garden and Larry has done a nice job scouting out our deer fencing to make sure everything is still protected and infiltration has been thwarted. I spent the remainder of the day working on spring orders, grants, labels and other duties. Larry worked on myriad projects out in the gardens and helped over at the Parker Education Center as well.
As always, Thursday is a great morning for volunteers. Our big project was getting the "tower of power" down from the center of the reception garden. This structure, built by our Grumpies, served well during the Holiday Lights Show. Below are Pat (on ladder) and Urban attaching a rope to help lower this deceptively heavy contraption. Dick H., Larry and I also helped and it came down nicely. The guys stripped off the lights (second photo down), separated this structure in to its two parts and brought it back to the Horticulture Center for eventual painting (yellow). Urban went back to more pruning in the front entrance garden and Pat worked on some indoor projects including more painting. Dr. Gredler was in for obelisk painting and Ron Y., Gene and Mary W. worked on sanding more benches. Vern continued applying stain/sealer as part of our assembly line and Dave and Jim worked on obelisks (third photo down, Jim with hat), made more wrapping boards for lights and accomplished other projects as well. I showed him a new project idea before he left that should have him scratching his head... :) Janice worked on more seed processing and organization. Bill O. popped in as well. The fourth photo down shows just a few of our newly painted, 2013 obelisk colors. Bright yellow is the color of the day and I'll leave it at that!
My talk last night on Landscape Design for Winter Interest for the Milton Garden Guild went very well and re-inspired me to appreciate the subtleties in the winter landscape. It was nice to see some old friends and chat with some new ones including a young gentleman interested in horticulture as a career. I told him that I only do it for the $. My walk around the gardens revealed both good and bad. I love the 'Britzensis' willow (Salix alba var. vitellina) as seen below. The most colorful stems are always new (brightest in winter) so we butcher these down severely each spring. Look at the lower 1/4 of that small tree and see the cutting level from last March. I also observed the deer working through the burlap on some of our yews (Taxus) as seen in the second photo down. While our deer fencing is inspected we'll now check out all of our solitary specimens that are covered in burlap. At the bottom is the notorious garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) poised and ready for spring blooming (mid April-early May) and its notorious distribution of seed both far and wide!