Today was the best day of 2013 so far! The sun was welcome as were the blue skies. Unfortunately, we're in for significant rain over the rest of the week but we're taking full advantage of the weather today. The shot above is from a vantage point that would elicit reprimands from the grounds staff! I'm in the azalea/rhododendron garden looking back through this "cheese mold framed" opening to a nice vignette in the Japanese garden. Most of the green in that image is from the new mosses installed last year by Dale S.
I took a major tour of the gardens and am happy with the spring clean up efforts. We're plugging away and going from garden area to garden area. The slow start to spring has at least allowed us to spend more time on clean-up as last spring was so fast and furious, we struggled to keep up at this point in the year. There was no shortage of color out in the gardens. Directly below are some of the hundreds of 'Jetfire' daffodils (Narcissus) in the sunken garden. The next photo down is the 'Pink Frost' hellebore (Helleborus) blooming in the woodland walk garden. The third photo down shows the emerging foliage of lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis) which is always neat as it unfurls. Danford irises (Iris danfordiae) are starting to bloom as evidenced in the fourth photo down and crocuses (Crocus sp.) are at peak or beyond (fifth photo down).
We had a great day out in the gardens and saw the timely (and appreciated) return of both Ron K. (directly below) and Kay (next photo down). These two are dedicated and talented gardeners. This is Ron's second year maintaining the woodland walk garden and he did a great job last year maintaining the largest garden space assigned to only one volunteer. Kay takes care of the eastern portion of the shade garden and does just about anything and everything out in the gardens for us. She's multi-talented and is rarely without a smile. Dick H. made many dump runs with our winter debris and we should catch up by the end of the week. Dr. Gredler took advantage of the weather to get outside and start aerating lawns and he even did some touch up mowing in a couple locations. Maury was in to run some errands and we also saw Rose, Bill O., Brett and many others.
The grounds staff had a busy day with everyone involved in some sort of gardening. Pat continued tidying up the Potter Daylily Collection and shifted to more clean-up efforts near the gazebo among other tasks. Jenny spent some time in front of the Parker Education Center tidying up and did some sign inventories too which will help us create and assign more new labels. Cindy continued clean-up efforts in both the Scottish garden and color rooms garden. She and Janice also started our first cutting display of the year which will feature what's in bloom and other neat plant traits of interest. Marianne B. did an awesome job at this task for many years and we feel it has lots of value for our visitors and is appreciated. Janice also did some garden clean-up and label inventories as well. Big John secured more obelisks out in the gardens, hauled some supplies and mulched after some garden clean-up as well. Our irrigation was turned on today and Larry worked with the irrigation contractors to help the process and identify immediate repair issues. Larry and John also helped load up the truck for Dick H.'s many trips to the dump.
Below are just some other images out in the gardens today. Directly below are the colorful Adirondack chairs overlooking the water near the North Point garden. Our pond level is quite high and I hope incoming rains don't raise the level more than 3" or so or we'll start to have some flooding problems. Speaking of problems, the second photo down shows the deer damage on our arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) hedge in the sunken garden. We had winter fencing up to keep out the deer but they some how infiltrated and nibbled back most of the new growth that had start to fill in after being nibbled back years ago. The garden art suns look great out in the gardens as seen in the third photo down (my younger daughter's by the way...) and at the bottom, an interesting perspective on the arched bridge.