It was both literally and figuratively sunny out in the gardens today. The clouds broke this morning and we had some nice sunshine for most of the morning. While there are still April showers in the forecast for later in the week, we should get more "dry time" out in the gardens early this week. The garden art project suns (see above) are also adding color to the gardens. Big John and Terry put up the vast majority of these art pieces today and they'll follow up with the remainder later in the week. We're also developing signs for each individual art piece.
I was outside for a good portion of the day and took out our new garden cart (second photo from the bottom) around the gardens to see how it negotiates some of our narrow paths and tight turns. I'll be determining a "mobile tour route" for when this vehicle is used for mobility impaired guests. I also set flags in various areas to mark out garden structure locations, temporary paths and some of the sun project locations. These "less wet" days are perfect for more garden clean-up which is our big priority right now. Seen below are examples of the emerging color out in the gardens. Directly below are the early blooms of the perennial lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.) and the second photo down shows the confetti-like blooms of the Grape Fizz vernal witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis 'KLM NN') in the woodland walk garden. The third photo down features the emerging leaves and flower bud of the twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) and more snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) can be seen in the fourth photo down (sunken garden).
Big John and Terry did a nice job securing the suns (example below) around the gardens and our double staking method should keep these anchored well. We learned some tough lessons with previous art pieces and high winds! A single stake approach to these would certainly not be sufficient. The guys also worked on some other projects but should be able to finish the installation of these projects by the end of the week. Larry (second photo down) helped unload these donated plastic cylinders (future containers) and worked on many vehicle repairs today. He also helped haul back some culvert pipe planters and kept loading our dump truck for trips to the dump by Dick H. He kept the skidloader in action all day. Cindy and Jenny both put some solid time in on garden clean-up and had no shortage of available areas to address.
Volunteers today included Urban, looking perplexed directly below. He transplanted two compact ginkgo (Gingko biloba) specimens this morning and planted them nicely in the alpine garden. Lloyd (second photo down) was back and in action with some mulching duties out in the main parking lot. The third photo down shows, from left to right, Gene, Bob C. and Dave T. finishing up the big bench sanding project of 2013! Vern is applying sealer to the last couple of benches but I believe they should be totally done by the end of the week. While they were finishing the benches, other completed benches were being hauled out to the gardens and secured by Ron W., Ron Y., Rollie and Dick K. Dick P., Jim and Maury made a road trip up to Stoughton, WI where they picked up the plastic cylinders seen directly above. Along with help from Bev D., Gary continued preparing the labels that will go out to each of the installed garden art projects. Other Grumpies included Del organizing tools and Dick H. making many trips to the dump. The fourth photo down shows Jumbo Jim, Karen and Stan (in orange) continuing to review a brochure for the Japanese garden that we're developing. Stan and Karen were out in the gardens after this meeting. We also saw Jason O., John J., Tina B., Bill O. and many others today. At the bottom is a nice shot overlooking the observation pier to the arched bridge in the distance.