Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Great Volunteer Help Today!

It was a busy day at the gardens.  We knew the rain was predicted for later in the day so we hit the ground running and had lots of volunteer help from start to finish.  The weather ended up quite warm and sunny by late morning and while recent rains have kept everything wet, it was quite humid outside as well.  I saw lots of visitors around the gardens including many school groups enjoying a program with our youth education volunteers.  Directly above is a shot towards the Rath Environmental Center with lots of ornamental onions (Allium sp.) in the foreground.  While we're just past "peak" spring color, there is lots to enjoy this time of year and we continue to plant more summer annuals daily.  Directly below is a perennial, hybrid bluestar (Amsonia hybrida 'Blue Ice') which has some nice flower clusters well in to June.  The next photo down show another specimen of 'Starlite Prairieblues' hybrid false indigo (Baptisia hybrida).  I really enjoy the color shades on these flowers and this is a very long-lived perennial for full sun.

We had a wide range of volunteers throughout the day at the gardens.  Dr. Gredler was in for mowing and Dick P. came in to place more memorial bricks.  This morning, I worked with a group from Parkview High School (10 students and one teacher) that can be seen below.  They did a nice job hoeing out weeds in an area near the North point garden and they then spread a huge volume of shredded bark throughout this area once it was cleaned up.  The next photo down shows Magda (left) and Jenny.  Magda did a nice job planting in her assigned garden and Jenny helped her haul in containers and bring out more plants.  Magda has maintained her same garden space for 15 years or so and Marleen helps her as well.  Patrea (third photo down, see to the left) worked with Cheryl in the English cottage garden where they planted about 100 foxgloves (Digitalis) and 100 or so snapdragons (Antirrhinum) to start filling the gaps.  The ladies also did a nice job weeding that entire space. Roy (fourth photo down) and Mary did more planting in the shade garden and planted just across from their assigned garden as well.  Ron K. did more weeding and clean-up in the woodland walk with more planting to come soon!  Resa and Cookie (fifth photo down) planted almost the entire North point garden (their assigned garden).  There are two more small spots to plant in that garden but they planted all eight containers and the large beds around the structure.  Our Wednesday afternoon team came in to plant in the sunken garden.  The sixth photo down shows, from left to right, Myrt, Nancy, Mary and Gena.  The ladies did quite a bit of planting in that garden as well as some weeding.  Stan did more work in the Japanese garden and we also saw Del, Mary W., Maury, Vern and many others.

All the grounds staff "broke a sweat" today including me.  Pat cleared the gazebo garden border which I'll spray next with herbicide and we'll replant this reclamation project later this year.  He also continued his superb mulching out in the arboretum.  Cindy planted in front of the Parker Education Center which included converting four containers from spring pansies (Viola sp.) to our summer scheme.  Cheryl planted in two locations, worked with Patrea and continued work clearing weeds and bulb foliage near the gazebo garden.  Jenny did some more label work but spent most of her time weeding some rough areas east of the Parker Education Center.  She also cleared lots of bulb foliage and helped with other projects as well. Big John hauled and staged materials and tools for the high school volunteers this morning and moved on to a monumental task with Terry. The guys composted and prepared all the rose beds for some new roses we'll install shortly.  Both guys had other projects too but this took up the bulk of the day.  Below are some additional plants of interest out in the gardens and at the bottom is one of our cool garden art projects.  We have 36 of these out in the gardens and they sure are beautiful!

gas plant (Dictamnus albus 'Rubra')
ornamental onion (Allium karataviense 'Ivory Queen')
'Joseph Rock' peony (Paeonia rockii)

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