While the weather has still been quite dark and damp, we had a nice "color fix" last night at the lecture on peonies at RBG. Entitled "Perfecting Peonies: Bartzella and Beyond", the program was given by Master Gardener Sue Z. who did great job with a focus on the intersectional hybrids developed by Roger Anderson (Fort Atkinson, WI). She also promoted the new peony garden at the Hoard Museum (www.hoardmuseum.org/) which sounds awesome even at only three years old. I'll have to check it out this spring. We were delighted to also have Roger Anderson at the presentation as well as his wife and daughter. Above is 'Bartzella' which was a breeding breakthrough and a wonderful contribution to the peony world by Roger. This bloom is from a specimen that Roger donated to RBG over 15 years ago along with many other peonies and four more of his intersectional varieties. The talk was well attended and seemed well-received. Below are some flower shots from today with a nice fragrant, garden hyacinth (Hyacinthus) below and a close-up of the ever prolific Siberian squill (Scilla siberica).
The morning rains kept us inside at the Horticulture Center but we had a very busy volunteer morning. Directly below are Bev (left) and Deb tweaking some of the garden art projects (suns) that will go out in the gardens shortly. Big John and Terry have already mounted twenty-eight of them out in the gardens with eight to go! Gary (second photo down) worked on making the labels for the individual sun projects and both Deb and Bev helped process those and get them ready to go. Out in the shop, there was some more sanding action. The third photo down shows Bob C. (left) and Gene sanding one of our gates for repainting. The look they are both giving me translates to, "Why don't you grab a sander instead of taking a photo of the action!". Pat, Dr. Gredler, Gena and Myrt were all painting this morning while Maury and Dick P. worked on some projects at the other building. Pat used Maury, Dick P. and Larry to haul out the bottom portion of our 20' obelisk as seen below (fourth photo down). This should be a real focal point in the garden! Del did a nice job tidying up the Horticulture Center. Vern sealed the remaining benches while Dave T. and Jim worked on some other projects. We also saw Bill O., Mary F., Rollie and others today.
Above are our "rainbow culvert planters" that we'll install out in the gardens very soon. They'll be located in the "rainbow garden" which will have a color theme (of course) and a strong focus on edibles and nutrition. We don't fill these with soil. There are some steel rods about 18" from the top which will support an inserted container of soil. We've used these in the past but they've not been this colorful in recent years.... The grounds staff kept busy. A break in the rain allowed John and Janice to head out for a bit although we had plenty of indoor work today. Larry continues to tune-up our mowers and other equipment. John, Janice and Larry unloaded a large delivery from Bluebird Nursery (NE) that ended up in one of our new greenhouses (see below). This is so much better than previous years when we would put these plants in the horticulture center with variable heat and very minimal lighting. Most of these are for the grounds although some are for our upcoming plant sale. At the bottom is the fall color of the red oak (Quercus rubra) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum). These are the two deciduous selections at our Spring Tree Sale held on May 10th, 11th and 12th (9 am - 4 pm daily). There are also five evergreen selections available. This sale is held in conjunction with our Spring Plant Sale. Check out details on both events at www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org.