Monday, May 13, 2013

A Frosty Start To A Beautiful Day

I was glad that we protected so many of our plants last night by moving them in to our greenhouses and under cover.  A light frost descended on the area and above is some of the turf near the Horticulture Center.  I didn't see any damage to perennials and woody plants that were flowering or "leafing out" as I think it was the lightest of frosts (thankfully).  I think we're now "in the clear."  The day was sunny and immediately warmed up and was a nice day.  We all ended up shedding two of our three layers by the afternoon.  This was the one day clearance sale for both the Spring Plant Sale and Spring Tree Sale.  We saw steady traffic and sold out of many items in both sales over the past four days.  Based on what was left in the yard this afternoon, I think the sale was successful based on how many plants are left.  We'll see what the final numbers are but as a vital fundraiser for the gardens, we sure appreciate our customers, RBG members and supporters of the gardens.  Directly below is the colorful foliage of the 'Redstone Falls' foamy bells (Heucherella) in the woodland walk garden.  The next photo down shows one of our many crabapples (Malus sp.) starting to bloom throughout the gardens.  Unfortunately, this is an unknown variety.  The third photo down shows a small-statured (3"x3") moss phlox (Phlox douglasii 'Crackerjack') in the alpine garden.  This garden is peaking with spring color very shortly.  I had my camera with me all day and took many shots around the gardens and am always pleased to capture something new.  This phlox was one of hundreds of plants installed by members of the WI/IL Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society last fall.

It was a busy day at the gardens with many visitors and lots of volunteer action.  Thanks to Mary W., Renee, Stan, Leslie, Pat R., Pat M. and Janice for running the sale all day.  The traffic certainly warranted having the sale extended.  We also had a busy day with Grumpies.  Directly below (next two shots) are Dave T. Jim D. and Ron Y. working on some carpentry repairs out in the gardens including replacing a portion of the steps leading down to the zig-zag bridge.  They also worked on some other items including our last new obelisk for use out in the reception garden.  The third photo shows Bob C. (driving) and Lloyd, who along with Gene, did a great job composting the reception garden this morning.  Pat M. and Gene B. were out in the arboretum all morning tidying up the mulched tree circles and adding some mulch as needed.  Their progress is notable and looks nice.  Larry H. was out tidying up paths while Dick H., Dick P., Jim D. (#2) and new Ron helped disassemble and organize portions of both sales.  Dick H. also made some runs to the dump.  Maury helped run the tree sale clearance most of the day.  The fourth photo down shows Shirley who worked with Jenny all morning on a weeding project.  Dr. Gredler and Del were out mowing and we also saw Dr. Yahr, Jim R., Sue M., Kris K., Cathy I., Karen M. (working in the Japanese garden) and many others including members of our Home Garden Tour Committee that are finalizing details for the July 20th (9 am - 3 pm) Home Garden Tour.

Directly above is Big John working on our demonstration beds that will be planted shortly with flossflower (Ageratum) varieties.  These beds also have many of the garden art project suns and this space should be quite colorful.  John composted, rototilled and edged these beds and moved on to additional rototilling, mulching and tasks associated with the plant sales.  Terry also composted, tidied up the main parking lot (blower), edged with Cindy, watered and worked on myriad other tasks.  Cindy edged with Terry, weeded in the future "Pollinator's Paradise" (Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden) and finished the day with more weeding.  Jenny, with some help from Shirley, spent most of her day in the children's garden too and focused on an area that offered some challenging weeds.  Larry did his weed whipping rounds all day and worked on some other projects as well.  I helped at the plant sale when I could but also sprayed two rounds of herbicide out in the gardens, primarily to deal with some reseeding and re-emergence issues from "unwanted" annuals and perennials.  The tulip (Tulipa) below is 'Cairo' which is in the entrance garden and is just barely getting past peak color.  The next photo down shows the colorful golden foliage of the Gold Bullion pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Bachone') which offers some nice color as an understory tree.  Enjoy the final four pictures taken in or near the Japanese garden which is having some peak spring color as well.

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