Today was dark, cloudy and rainy. It wasn't real cold outside but at times, it was quite a downpour. The gardens can use the moisture for sure although rainy Mondays ultimately create some tight quarters inside the Horticulture Center with all of our tasks. Despite the lack of sunshine, we had plenty of color from all the wonderful garden art project suns that are coming back to the gardens. This is the fourth year of our popular garden art project and in the past, we've featured daisies, butterflies, oak leaves and now suns. The returned projects over the years have been truly amazing and including local art here at RBG continues to be important. One sample can be seen above with many more further below. These plywood, sun forms (48" diameter), created by our Grumpies, will ultimately be positioned and secured around the gardens. There are 36 of these suns and most have been returned for a clear coating process (Utzig's Carstar - Janesville) before they are anchored with two stakes out in the gardens. Terry is currently working on the best way to get these mounted and secured. I wont have the time to recognize all the artists of these examples but do visit the gardens later this year to enjoy all of these unique art projects. Each will have a sign indicating the title, artist and sponsor (if applicable) of the art piece.
With the consistent rain this morning, the gardens staff worked inside on many projects that have been accumulating recently. Two photos up is Jenny painting one of six culvert pipe planters that will be used out in one of our collections. Dr. Gredler helped Jenny later in the morning but these six different colored pipes will be part of our "Plant a Rainbow" garden which focuses on color but also nutrition. Ultimately, Jenny and Doc were able to paint all of the pipes although some will need another coat. Kris and I are still working out some details on the collection associated with these pipes. Directly above is Cindy working on processing some labels. She's actually removing errant or non-necessary labels from our "anchored stakes" for trees and shrubs. Ultimately, we're reclaiming these stakes for future use with labels ready to be assigned to incoming plants. Cindy also worked on many other projects. Big John and Terry hauled Holiday Lights Show (HLS) items to storage, prepared our potting bench soils, hauled (and picked up) sun projects and accomplished myriad other indoor duties. Janice continued work on many projects related to upcoming sales and events. Larry was up in the garage working on equipment all day and is making sure our mowers are all ready to roll (and mow).
Directly above is another re-purposed plastic pipe that Pat M. painted today. Dr. Gredler was painting some other ones as we'll have four of these that will be used in one of our collections. Pat also worked on some of our obelisks and is augmenting the bases of each so they don't wick up so much moisture when set on the ground. Dick H. ran for some supplies and did a nice job cutting one of our culvert pipes down to size. Our sanding team consisted of Dave, Jim, Ron Y., Gene and our newest Grumpy, Al B. Vern continued with his resealing of the sanded benches and we think we only have 6 or so left to finish. It's been an epic project and while we're all sneezing up fine sawdust, the end results are very impressive. We also saw Jumbo Jim, Jason O., Urban, Maury, Dick P., both Bill O.'s, Dave G., and many others. Directly below is my patch of "cat grass" growing at home. Did you know that cat grass is really just common oats (Avena sativa) and is very beneficial for cats and will help keep them away from your houseplants. Cat grass benefits cats with digestion and also helps them cough up those fur balls. I wont mention how many cats I have at home but we're sowing these containers every two weeks or so and we buy the seed in bulk. The seed, sown generously and uniformly, germinates quickly after being lightly covered with growing medium and watered. We always have a batch going and it is cost effective to grow your own (outside too). The sample below wont be shared with the cats for another week or so. Enjoy the suns further down!