Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Shift To Gardening

There are more signs of spring daily out in the gardens.  Today was a bit warmer with afternoon temperatures near 45 degrees F.  While the morning was chilly (25 degrees F), it warmed up quickly with ample sunshine.  The top picture shows a carpet of winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) in the gazebo garden.  Over 10 years ago, we planted little clumps of this early, spring blooming bulb and it has slowly naturalized and spread over this border (by seed).  I can't imagine what this border will look like in 100 years!  I've seen older displays of this "carpeting bulb" and it can create quite an effect this time of year!  Directly above is a hellebore (Helleborus) bloom emerging and getting ready to open with colorful, nodding flowers.  I spent the day in meetings but was able to get outside for another tour and am starting to place our new woody plant labels out for installation (second photo down).  The snow should be gone by the weekend although we still have some icy spots in the shade. The photo directly below shows our colorful obelisks awaiting placement out in the gardens.  Big John and Terry took a dent out of this assortment and secured eight of these out in the gardens already (5 lime and 3 powder blue).  The third photo down shows some re-purposed, plastic "tubing" that was donated by Stoughton Trailer and brought to us by Vik M (thanks Vik!).  Dr. Gredler has started painting these already for use as elevated planters out in our American Garden Award ( display....  The fourth photo down shows just some of the burlap that didn't do much to stop the deer from nibbling.  In fact, I think they started to eat the burlap for fiber!  They were sure hungry in February and March and the damage, while moderate, can be seen throughout the gardens.

The grounds staff had a busy day.  Cindy (directly below) had another stellar performance on her third day and spent time cutting back more ornamental grasses and doing a nice job cleaning up borders near the observation pier.  She is showing nice attention to detail and is a great addition to the team (if she buys donuts and lunch more often...).  Big John and Terry bonded today by removing all of our burlap and mesh coverings in the Japanese garden, digging out culvert pipe planters from last year, securing obelisks and accomplishing other tasks.  They worked well together and got some good exercise today.

We had a nice volunteer turnout today.  Pat was in to continue modifying the Spring Tree Sale signs (held in conjunction with the Spring Plant Sale established dates and times).  Urban was out in the gardens collecting debris and Dr. Gredler also did some clean-up outside (second photo) down as well as had his daily allotment of painting.  Myrt (red sweatshirt) and Gena (third photo down) are back in action and did a great job tidying up the pathway that leads from the shade garden to the sunken garden. There was lots of debris to tackle and they made quick work of that project.  John and Steve were out doing some tree pruning (climbing) in some tough areas near the Scottish garden and we'll collect that debris tomorrow.  They are thinning out some large cottonwoods (Populus deltoides).  The fourth photo down shows Bev (left) and Deb who are working with Denise to organize the return of the garden art projects (suns).  We printed out pictures of the incoming artwork and they are all very beautiful and unique (I'll feature some tomorrow).  We'll get them secured out in the gardens in the coming weeks.  We also saw Bill O., Glenn D., Maury, Dick H. and some members of the Blackhawk Golden "K" Club.  We talked over some details regarding the rescheduled tree sale.  Marsha M. was out in the gardens taking more shots.  We are kindred spirits in that we appreciate the smallest of ornamental details out in the gardens.

After all the snow this winter, I was amazed to see the dormant 'Blonde Ambition' blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) still looking good as seen below.  Some specimens were a bit flattened but the horizontal seed heads still looked good!  The gardens are beautiful right now but I can't wait for more bulbs to emerge over the coming weeks.  The deer have been nibbling on bulb foliage but I hope they find something else to focus on and leave something for the visitors!  The second photo down shows the dwarf/miniature conifer section of our alpine garden and another arched bridge shot at the bottom (taken from the North path).

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