We had some very light rain over the evening hours but not much in terms of volume. I hope we have some rain tonight and/or tomorrow as we'll otherwise have to get our sprinkler system going again. The winds today were fairly fierce and we did have to water containers and keep the yard plants wet as well. Above is a nice shot of our Ma Chii' this morning. The white blooms are the first tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers that I've seen blooming yet this year. There should be more to follow soon although the remainder of the week looks significantly cooler. There are more small trees in bloom out in the gardens aside from our many crabapples (Malus). Directly below is the 'Toba' hawthorn (Crataegus x mordenensis) which has pink buds that open to these white flower clusters. The next photo down features the rare yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium) which has these beautiful flowers typically through early June.
The grounds staff had plenty of action today. Pat (above) added some soil to the horizontal planters that he prepared a couple weeks ago. Safety is our number one concern (this is actually quite stable!)! He then planted these (all seven pipes) with trailing plants that will make these fun to walk under this summer. Pat also push mowed, edged, tidied and lifted tulip (Tulipa) clumps from the entrance garden. Big John also push mowed, rototilled, watered and worked on various projects too. Cindy and Cheryl teamed up to work in the rose garden for bulb foliage removal and a general tidying throughout the four rose crescents. We lost quite a few roses this winter and will have to replace many this spring. Cheryl and Cindy each had other projects as well. Janice checked on our moss collection, tidied the terrace garden, set out labels and watered the yard (among other duties). Larry and I both went on separate trips to pick up our plants and the yard continues to fill with new plants. Larry continued to work on a water line problem and I had to spend some time catching up on a severe backlog of paperwork. Directly below is prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) starting to bloom in the alpine garden. The next photo down shows the beautiful red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) which also attracts the earliest of hummingbirds in the area. We have two beautiful specimens of this small tree out in the gardens.
Volunteer help today consisted of Ron (below) who did even more planting throughout the woodland walk garden. He's doing a nice job keeping up with tidying and weeding and I still have plenty more plants for him to install. Kay did a nice job tidying up after the wind storm and spent time weeding in the gazebo garden. I always appreciate her attention to detail. Dr. Gredler was in for his mowing duties and Dr. Yahr was in briefly and helped us unload one of the deliveries. Bob T. continued his "air edging" duties which are really effective in cleaning up the edges between turf and beds where we don't currently have any traditional edging. Terri N. was in this afternoon to help Cindy and Cheryl in the formal garden and we also saw Maury, Art and many others. Further below are four more plants showing some colorful spring contributions (identified under their photo).
Hosta 'Grand Prize'
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) bloom close-up
'Starlite Prairieblues' false indigo (Baptisia hybrida)
variegated mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius 'E.A. Bowles')