It was extremely busy around the Horticulture Center and the gardens today. It was nice to see many visitors out in the gardens although we had our share of volunteers helping today with both the Spring Plant Sale preparations and out in the the gardens. The top photo shows Pearl and Don C. working on tagging peppers (Capsicum) for the looming sale. They are veterans at this tagging process and also are assigned garden volunteers that maintain their own garden space near the shade garden. From left to right, the next photo down shows Pat, Cheryl and Renee tagging the tomato (Lycopersicon) selections for the sale. Other tagging assistance was provided by Patrea, Cora, Janet, Bev D., Terri, Jerry and others. Jenny, Cindy and Janice spent most of their respective day as STAFF out in the sale as well. It was some great teamwork preparing for this monumental sale which is quite expanded from the early days. This is the first year we'll be offering a wide range of shrubs, small magnolias and an expanded selection of perennials. Of course the vegetable and herb offerings are also substantial as well (see our website for lists!). With a busy Mother's Day looming with potential garden visitors, our work out in the gardens is equally vital. Directly below are Kay (foreground) and Terri doing a nice job composting in the shade garden. Gena and Myrt helped maintain their momentum with continuation of the same project this afternoon. The second photo down shows Bob T. who was out doing a nice job touching up the edges along garden areas where turf needs to be confined and garden beds defined. He is our best at this task. Ron K. finished mulching the entire woodland walk today and did a nice job getting through the many piles of mulch (provided by Big John and Terry). We also saw Mary Kay T., Mary W., Bev F., Glenn, Lori, Maury, Kris K. and many others. Dr. Gredler did his mowing rounds too and the Chestnut House volunteers again descended on the Horticulture Center beds for weeding and hoeing.
It's not hard to take pictures of beautiful flowers out in the gardens. Directly below are the large and showy blooms of the flowering quince (Chaenomeles sp.) that have so much impact. I don't recall the variety but this tough shrub does very well for us and I think we're selling two varieties of flowering quince in the Spring Plant Sale. The next photo down features a close-up of a Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica 'Chiba Gold') which is smothered in these 1" diameter flowers. The golden summer foliage is further highlighted by showy green stems that have interest in winter as well. The third photo down is a close-up of the exquisite blooms of the wood anemone (Anemone nemerosa) which we have in vast clumps (6" in height) throughout the Scottish garden. It spreads by rhizomes and is creating some fairly impressive colonies.
The grounds staff had a busy day. Jenny and Cindy worked together on pricing perennials and later help inventory, tag, move and otherwise process many plants and other elements of the sale. Jenny also potted up some trial plants, watered, secured signs and otherwise, bounced between projects. Cindy also helped develop new tags as needed. Janice was a whirlwind and shifted between coordinating volunteers, making signs, moving plants, etc. She also coordinated volunteer work by the Chestnut House volunteers. We feel pretty good about the sale and will put the finishing touches on it tomorrow. Big John hauled out more mulch for Ron K. this morning, loaded up some compost and then he and I went on a plant run (with truck and trailer) for our plant sale basil (Ocimum) and some other goodies. He later helped water the plant sale, mulch, prepare for the Spring Tree Sale, etc. Terry stockpiled compost for Kay, rototilled, dug out shrubs, fertilized and did some other handy tasks. He was the only grounds person out in the garden all day. I worked mostly on plant sale tasks but also had other numerous duties as well. I was glad to be out in the garden albeit briefly and caught some barrenworts (Epimedium sp.) in full bloom as seen below. Respectively, these are Epimedum x rubrum, Epimedium hybrida 'Fire Dragon' and Epimedium grandiflorum 'Purple Prince'.
I think we're at spring peak right now and just in time for Mother's Day. The past five years or so we've had a somewhat advanced spring (last year being very advanced) that has shifted the "spring peak" before this upcoming weekend. The timing is perfect. It's tough to keep up with all the beauty out there but I'll keep snapping photos as time allows. The two photos directly below feature the golden-leaved bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart') which is a real "beacon of brightness" with this fresh growth and showy pink "hearts" on arching stems. The white bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba') further below is also quite striking with such a unique flower form. At the bottom is a shot looking up through the young foliage of the variegated Norway maple (Acer platanoides 'Drummondii') near the gazebo garden.