Friday, May 17, 2013

Frantic Fridays Begin

Today began the "Frantic Fridays" that involve getting the gardens in shape for a busy weekend, including one wedding and a work day.  Fridays have traditionally been busy days for both staff and volunteers as we get ready for not only lots of visitors and events, but as is the case tomorrow, our second of six, sequential volunteer work days (8 am - 12 noon).  Aside from a minor sprinkle this morning, the rain has held off and I hope we get a dry window for the work day tomorrow.  Overnight rain would be acceptable though!  Above is a nice shot of the Japanese garden which is still featuring peak spring color.  Directly below are the showy and fragrant blooms of the cutleaf lilac (Syringa laciniata) which many people recognize by the flower (as a lilac) but not the fine foliage texture.  The next photo down shows a shot of the dangling white flowers of the mountain silverbell (Halesia tetraptera....maybe monticola) which is at peak right now in the shade garden.  The third photo down is the interesting bloom of our paw paw tree (Asimina triloba 'Sunflower') which is blooming for the first time out in the gardens.  I hope to see some fruit this year and if you've never eaten a ripe paw paw (tastes like banana custard), you're missing out!!!  The fourth photo down shows another of our hundreds of columbines (Aquilegia sp.) blooming throughout the gardens.  This is the 'Pink Lanterns' which is a variety of the wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

We had more great volunteer help today and were fortunate to have a dry day to accomplish all of our planned activities.  Stan (directly) below continued his work pruning/shaping our pines (Pinus) that are tiered or pruned to have "levels and layers."  He does a great job.  Dr. Gredler came in for his mowing duties and Ron K. (second photo down) installed about fifty new perennials throughout the Woodland Walk Garden that he maintains as an assigned garden volunteer.  Note that he's working right under our bronze bear sculpture.  Magda did a nice job planting her assigned garden as well with both annuals and perennials.  Many members of the Janesville Area Herb Society (including Chris G. and Carl three photos down) were out tidying and planting their three herb garden sections.  This group has been involved since the inception of the gardens and does a great job.  We also saw Chuck S., Dr. Yahr, Jenny and Dave E., Mary, John P., Jerry B. and many others.  We also had the "Green Team" from Clinton High School with their teacher/facilitator Marcia.  See the gang (Marcia on the far left who is also a RBG volunteer and Rock Prairie Master Gardener) on the arched bridge four photos down.  The group did a great job mulching the Scottish garden and also lifted some tulips (Tulipa) in front of the Parker Education Center.

The grounds staff had a busy day and everyone's schedule was modified many times as a result of no rain (more watering duties) and lots of volunteers.  Janice did the cutting display and helped organize, motivate and supervise the "Green Team".  She also did odds and ends as time allowed.  Cindy did a nice job weeding in various locations including the sunken garden which is always a "target area".  She also had the monumental task of hand watering all of our yard plants which continues to add plants daily.  Terry ran for more plants and helped haul mulch for the "Green Team".  He also hauled compost, rototilled, watered hanging baskets and accomplished many other tasks.  Pat push mowed and lifted tulips (Tulipa) in select locations that we'll be planting soon.  We only "lift" tulips (and give to volunteers for transplanting) in areas where we'll be replanting a different color of tulip to start next spring with that new color scheme (the 2014 color scheme is currently unknown...or is it?).  We'll focus on the big orange theme for 2013 first though!  Big John hauled some major loads of shredded bark to stockpile for the "Green Team".  He also push mowed and worked on some other projects.  I bounced between our volunteers and prepared plants for our work day tomorrow morning as the weather looks favorable.  Below, enjoy five of the over a dozen varieties of Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum) and painted fern hybrids (Athyrium hybrida) that we have emerging in the fern & moss garden.

Athyrium hybrida 'Ghost'
Athyrium niponicum 'Wildwood Twist'
Athyrium niponicum 'Samurai Sword'
Athyrium niponicum 'Ursula's Red'
Athyrium niponicum 'Burgundy Lace'

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