Today was in interesting mix of weather. It was not really ever rainy but what was consistent were the high winds and cold temperatures. Precipitation alternated between a light drizzle, sleet and snow. Nothing accumulated but April reminded us what early spring can really be like. I was on Tim Bremel's show on WCLO today and talked about our upcoming events with Glenn D. We promoted the Spring Tree Sale and Spring Plant Sale (both on the same days, see our website!). We also talked about the implications of this cold and damp spring out in the gardens. While plants are emerging slowly, our spring bulbs are advancing slowly with more color every day like the daffodils (Narcissus) above. Below are some peonies (Paeonia) coming up along the bed along Palmer Drive. The next photo down shows Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense) starting to emerge. Note the surface rhizomes that snake along the ground. Crushing these rhizomes gives off a ginger-like scent, hence the name. This native wildflower has done well as a groundcover for us and there are large patches in the Japanese garden and elsewhere.
We had a good team today. Pat (seen below) set these planters in what will be our American Garden Award Display (www.americangardenaward.com/). There will be four selections that will have flower colors that match these re-purposed plastic containers that will also hold plants. Pat also did general garden clean-up near the larch area and worked with Terry to install our rainbow garden culvert pipe planters. Pat was back as a volunteer in the afternoon and did some serious painting. Terry also prepared more of our custom soil mix to fill up our garden containers and worked on other projects with John. John hauled mulch, worked with Terry and helped Kris K. with some pre-Earth Day tasks. Check out our website for all the fun Earth Day activities at the gardens tomorrow. Janice spent most of her time preparing for the Spring Plant Sale which is looming and only three weeks away! She does a nice job and we're figuring out the best way to lay out and accommodate both the tree sale and plant sale. Our volunteers today included Kay (two shots below) who tidied up the shade garden and was later joined by Pat R. The ladies did a nice job. Dr. Gredler was in for painting and Maury came in to run some errands. Lloyd volunteered this morning and did some significant mulching in the main parking lot borders and islands. We also saw Jim D., Jeremy, Jean S. and many others today. The third photo down shows our orange pyramids in the entrance garden awaiting some orange plantings in the coming weeks.
The pond level continues to rise as evidenced by the two photos below. Directly below, the water is coming over the rock walls along the lower Japanese garden paths. You can see how high the water is in relation to the zig-zag bridge in the mid-ground of the photo and the observation pier in the distance (with red trim). The next photo down shows the pond level just below the lowest portion of the arched bridge. The flooding in 2008 was another 24" higher than this and we hope that doesn't happen again! In the third photo down, that raked gravel sea had 18" of water over it at this time in 2008. There were fish swimming in this newly flooded area! After the floodwaters receded, we had to replace all of that gravel which was a monumental task. The light flooding we're encountering now is not unusual during a wet spring but we've not had much of a respite from the rains which appear to be continuing throughout next week too. The Rock River is quite high in downtown Janesville and is starting to wreak some havoc for businesses and homes in the lowest areas along the river. April showers are welcome but we could all do without April flooding. The fourth photo down shows the notorious garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) which should be targeted ASAP. These might be the first year plants that wont bloom until next year but regardless, this thug should be eradicated before we get a warm spell and the flowers appear overnight with plenty of potential seeds for your garden or woodland. At the bottom are four of the thirty-six beautiful garden art projects that have been positioned out in the gardens. We'll have labels on all of these next week to recognize the artist, sponsor and title of the piece.