I left my butt imprint in my desk chair to actually get out in the gardens today and enjoyed the fresh air and snow blindness. Urban and I went for a nice jaunt to size up some late winter pruning and we also examined some of our protective deer fencing, some of which was compromised! The images above were taken in the gazebo garden along a south facing slope. The top photo shows winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) cheerfully blooming and the daffodils (Narcissus) directly above are peaking out in many locations. I think spring will hit fast and will be more on a normal schedule that I would prefer. At this time last year, the winter aconites (fall planted bulb) were almost finished and the daffodils were at peak! What a difference a year makes. I actually toured the entire garden and have sized up some of our priorities once the snow melts and we can get better access. I also continue to work on plant orders, labeling preparations and special events preparations. In the afternoon, I had another staff retreat.
We had some volunteer action today in the Horticulture Center. Above are Vern and Rose (in her best shirt) continuing the re-staining of another 8' cedar bench (recently re-sanded). Dr. Gredler was in for some painting which included our gate for the English cottage garden (three photos down). He's also working on some other small painting projects. Pat M. was in briefly and Marsha M. stopped by as well. I ran in to Marsha out in the gardens and she continues to take wonderful photos of the gardens throughout the seasons and always shares her best shots! Janice stopped by for more research projects and we saw some others as well. Directly below is a shot (left to right) of Dr. Neeno, Karen M., Jumbo Jim and Stan K. (pointing) from earlier in the week. We were meeting regarding the Japanese garden and they were perusing historic photos of that garden space. These four and Little Jerry (unavailable for the meeting) have had the most "history" in the Japanese garden as did the late Tom M. Their collective knowledge and memory is impressive. We hope to develop an informative brochure that helps promote that garden and we're also discussing 2013 plans as well. The second photo below shows some of Larry's recent handiwork as he continues to prepare bases for our new woody plant labels.
There is still a 4" deep, crusty layer of snow out in the gardens but I hope it well melt off quickly and we can fall in to a pattern of spring rains. There was no trouble finding interesting things to observe out in the gardens and the evidence of wildlife is everywhere (second photo down). I actually saw deer poop and plenty of tracks over the arched bridge which proves our theory that they don't mind using that structure to accommodate their dining reservations within the gardens proper. While there has been some deer browsing out in the gardens, I've certainly seen it worse in the past. I hope I didn't just jinx it by mentioning that! Directly below is the compact 'Golden Spreader' Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana) in the shade garden which is offering some nice winter coloration. Further below are the arched bridge and North point garden arbor respectively.