It was a busy day at the gardens and the only "slow down" of our gardening momentum was caused by a brief downpour right around the lunch hour. We had quite a group of veteran and new volunteers and had a very productive day with plenty of staff input as well. The gardens are really coming alive with color this spring (albeit a bit later than average) and it didn't take me long to notice the saucer magnolias (Magnolia soulangiana) blooming in the Japanese garden (as seen above). I hope to include more magnolias at RBG although there are fabulous collections already in place at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Green Bay Botanical Gardens and the Longenecker Gardens at the UW-Arboretum. I was able to work on a couple of tasks today but mainly tried to keep up with the various projects that were occurring today. Directly below is one of our many pasque flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) in the alpine garden which are exceedingly "photograph-able". The next two photos down show our spring hint of the orange theme in the front entrance garden. The double tulip (Tulipa) is 'Orca' and the hyacinth (Hyacinthus) is 'Gipsy Queen'. The tulips aren't quite at peak yet and there should be plenty of remaining color out there for our visitors over the coming weeks.
The newest member of our grounds staff, Cheryl D., started today (directly below). Cheryl went through the Rock County Master Gardener program and helped as a volunteer last year. She has plenty of gardening experience and jumped right in today. She and Jenny did a wide range of tasks including garden clean-up, pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) planting and other duties. She also did some timely inside tasks during our intermittent rainfall. I think she'll fit in nicely. Janice helped facilitate our volunteers this morning, worked on plant sale details, had a meeting (Volunteer Committee) and was out in the gardens as the remainder of her time allowed. Big John helped bring in signs and other elements from the successful May Day event yesterday and also stockpiled compost in the formal gardens for a volunteer project. John also helped consolidate and purge the holding yard in advance of the spring plant sale and ran out to pick up cocoa hull mulch this afternoon (for the rose garden). Larry helped repair a flat tire on our dump truck (with Dick H.) but spent most of his time finishing cleaning the sunken garden pond and getting it ready for the first wedding of the year in that same garden this Saturday. He's also finishing repairs on a large water line leak in the woodland walk garden.
Above are Jim and Carol, two new volunteers at RBG. They are already part of our Sunday watering team and today, did a great job spreading compost over both large perennial sections in the formal Italian garden. Directly below are Cookie (in black) and Resa who did a dynamite job incorporating mulch around our hosta collection in the gazebo garden. This was a finesse job as they had to avoid emerging plants, labels and other obstructions! Shirley H. was back in action and did a "debris sweep" through the color rooms garden. Urban M. was in later to do some pruning in the English cottage garden. The bulk of the Grumpies (Ron W., Bob C., Gene, new Ron, Dick P. and Dick H.) worked on putting up our tents for the Spring Plant Sale and Spring Tree Sale. Our website has details on both events including some plant lists and descriptions. Dr. Gredler went out to do his mowing for the weekend as we think tomorrow may be quite rainy. Deb and Bev put more of the signs out for the garden art projects (suns) and Gary continued making more signs for this program. Maury worked on one of our fountains and ran some more errands. Dave T., Vern and Jim D. continued work on a project for the education department. We also saw Del, Mary Kay T., Marsha M., Rollie and many others.
It's now becoming tough to select just a few plant images for the daily blog but that is a stress that I don't mind. Directly above is the 'Mount Hood' grape hyacinth (Muscari aucheri) which has this nice "tri-color" look with a "snow-capped" top! We have a couple nice patches of this spring blooming bulb. Directly below is the 'Blue Shades' windflower (Anemone blanda) which I've featured before but can't stop photographing. What a lovely shade of blue/violet! The next photo down shows a forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia 'Golden Times') in full bloom. This variety also has golden variegated foliage emerging in a week or so but look at that spring color! We "meatball" many of our forsythias for this rounded look as many can look "leggy" and thin. The next photo down shows more of our thousands of daffodils which are now coasting just past peak but still looking quite colorful in many garden areas. At the bottom is a nice morning shot of the picturesque arched bridge.