Friday, May 3, 2013

A Drizzlin' Day

I don't think the rain stopped all day.  It was primarily a slow drizzle but we did have some heavier rains come down sporadically throughout the day. Above is my 'Ricki' magnolia (Magnolia hybrida) at home starting to open up nicely.  Despite the weather, we had a wide range of tasks we were able to accomplish throughout the day.  Kurt N. arrived today (both photos below) with our delivery of tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers and eggplants for the Spring Plant Sale next weekend.  Check out our website for sale details including vegetable and herb listings.  Kurt is a bit camera shy (witness protection program) as seen below but his product was looking good and we're excited to have the start of the sale plants arrive.  On Monday, we'll have the herbs, shrubs and perennials all arriving from different sources (hopefully not at the same time!).

Big John and Terry did a great job organizing the yard by purging non-essential items and putting up tables, benches and other needed sale elements.  The guys also hauled some containers in to the sale, unloaded plants, picked up new umbrellas for the terrace garden and worked on myriad other tasks around the Horticulture Center.  Cheryl, seen below potting up peacock orchids (Gladiolus murielae) for an early start, spent most of the day out shifting plants between the greenhouses to make room for plant sale items and impending deliveries.  Janice did a great job keeping up the momentum with all the plant sale preparations.  She organized the yard, incoming plants and continues to create vital signage for the sale.  Cindy came in this afternoon and helped Janice organize the veggies out in the yard.  We'll have an army of "tagging" volunteers next week to label and price all of our plants for the sale (20,000+).  I spent most of the day on the sale and finished my presentation for the International Lilac Society (ILS) meeting next weekend which is being held in Madison.  It's nice to see that the lilacs (Syringa) should be blooming nicely up at Longenecker Gardens (UW-Arboretum) for the ILS tour.  I sure love lilacs and we have our share as well at RBG.  The second photo down shows some of Janice's unrooted cuttings (primarily impatiens) doing well.  These are part of our trials (from Sakata Seed) as a participant in the National Plant Trials Database ( program.  We're excited to participate this year and in to the future.  

We encountered a few volunteers today as well although none went out in the gardens except Dr. Gredler.  Doc used the lawn roller on some bumpy spots and did some staining work inside later in the morning.  We had to reschedule our high school volunteers from Oakhill Christian as the weather was just too poor to be outside all morning. These kids have been great volunteers and come twice annually to tackle a large project.  We'll see them in two weeks on a make up date.  Maury (directly above) and Glenn D. came in to talk details on the Spring Tree Sale coming up on Mother's Day weekend as well (see the RBG website for tree listings, descriptions and event details).  Polly gave us (including Janice) some training on a smart phone credit card application for checkout and we finalized some logistics.  Note Maury's fancy glasses and his apparent bewilderment at the device in front of him....(he actually did pretty well with it!).  We also saw Urban, Rose, Vern (picked up some lumber for us), Linda B. and Kay.  While it was a quiet day, we accomplished a lot of work.  Directly below are some photos from some recent, less rainy days!  The first photo features a hellebore (Helleborus purpurascens) looking nice in the color rooms garden.  The next two photos show a Snow Fountains weeping cherry (Prunus hybrida 'Snofozam') located across from the shade garden.  This is one of only two weeping cherries out in the gardens.  The next photo shows the native merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) blooming in the gazebo garden.  I love these nodding yellow bells although they finish quickly when we get more hot days in May.  The next photo down shows the ever popular and much appreciated Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) starting to peak around the gardens.  I like this stage with pink buds opening to flowers that quickly transition to sky blue.  

The two images below are "teasers" as they are images that would be taken later this month and in late October respectively.  Below are the fragrant, "bottlebrush-like" flowers of the Red Monarch fothergilla (Fothergilla major 'KLMfifteen') which is one of the many shrubs that will be offered at the Spring Plant Sale next weekend.  At the bottom is the awesome fall color of this selection as well.  We have over 30 selections of woody shrubs, peonies and fifteen selections of magnolias this spring.  We'll be pushing and promoting "Magnolias for Mother's Day" as there are some real nice ones available.  This is the first time we've offered woody plants at the sale but expect some significant interest in these showy selections.

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