It's been cloudy most of the day and a bit cooler and in the low 70 degrees F. There was a promise of sporadic rain throughout the day although we've only had some very "light stuff" on and off which hardly did any good. Perhaps we'll get an overnight "soaker" that will have some benefit. I'm glad John ran irrigation today which took care of some of the areas that were starting to get dry or had new plantings. Directly above is an unknown bearded iris (Iris germanica) which is a remnant of the big iris collection from many years ago (600+ varieties) that were featured as part of the American Iris Society National Convention (held in Madison, WI). I sure do enjoy irises when they are in bloom (who doesn't!). Directly below are a few of our tens of thousands of ornamental onions (Allium 'Purple Sensation') blooming throughout the gardens. These bulbs are blending nicely with a small, 'Jade Butterflies' ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) overlooking the zig-zag bridge which is still under repair by our Grumpies although they should be done by tomorrow.
I was deciding on indoor projects for the rainy periods today but as it never became more than a light drizzle, the gang was able to work outside all day. Above is Terry who insisted on being photographed with flowers in the shot. He's definitely high maintenance but a great worker. Terry edged the sunken garden, mowed, went on a plant run with Pat and continued edging progress in the future All-America Selections (AAS) display garden. Big John (directly below) did a nice job rototilling, running irrigation, helping Terry with edging and many other tasks. Pat did some nice edging work in front of the Parker Education Center and moved on to mulching in the arboretum. He and Terry picked up some of our elephant ears (Colocasia) from winter storage which we'll re-plant back out in the gardens shortly. Cindy did a nice job in front of the building clearing tulips (Tulipa) and weeds. She helped with some other duties too and put together a nice cutting display yesterday. Cheryl spent some serious time weeding down in the sunken garden and later came up to help Jenny with some watering in the yard. She is a very thorough weeder! Jenny never left the Horticulture Center yard as she spent major time organizing plants and labels (mostly for the soon-to-be-installed AAS display) and later watered. I worked on various projects including placing plants for planting today and tomorrow. I'll try to keep a step ahead of the volunteers over the coming weeks!
There is color around every bend in the gardens. In the sunken garden, the meadow rue (Thalictrum aquilegifolium 'Alba') seen above was at peak bloom and looking nice. This is a transitional time from peak spring color in to the combination of later spring interest and the shift to summer color with all of our annuals. Some areas will be addressed later as we wait for bulb foliage to die back and go dormant. The weeds are coming up quickly too but this time of year is no surprise in terms of juggling our duties; we just hope to have enough hands to keep up! Directly below is a wild hyacinth or quamash (Camassia cusickii) which is a nice shade of the palest blue (almost white). This spring blooming bulb (planted in fall) loves wet soils and we have many species and varieties of camassia out in the gardens. The next photo down shows the classic peony (Paeonia) and ornamental onion (Allium 'Purple Sensation') mix featured in a bed along Palmer Drive. The early peonies are peaking but many more are still getting ready to bloom in to early June.
Despite the threat of a rainy day, we had many stalwart volunteers help out today. Above are Mary H. (right) and her daughter Kathy out taking care of their assigned garden. Our condolences go out to both of them as Mary's husband Dave just passed away and had long been involved with the gardens as a volunteer. Kathy and Mary are a great team and will continue to keep up the high quality of care in their family garden space. Directly below is Stan who spent significant time "candling" or shaping our pines (Pinus) in and around the Japanese garden. He has a nice eye for detail; here working on layering a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). The next photo down shows Patrea who was a whirlwind in two garden areas where she removed spent bulb foliage and weeded as she went along. She did a great job. Dr. Yahr helped her a bit this morning as well. The third photo down shows (from left to right), Mary, Gena and Myrt planting near the gazebo garden. They were joined by Nancy and the four ladies did a great job planting over 500 annuals in this garden bed. They are a productive and efficient crew to say the least. Dr. Gredler was out mowing and we also saw Mary W., Elsa, Ron W. and many others. The fourth photo down shows Shirley S., an education volunteer, helping facilitate youth programming at the gardens today. We saw many children and our talented education volunteers. Further down are some more colorful images from today.
hanging basket on the pergola (1 of 8)
English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
doublefile or Japanese snowball viburnum (Viburnum plicatum 'Popcorn')
late tulips (Tulipa) - unknown variety