It was nice to see Marv and Terry reunited (directly above). They have been a great team for many years and despite Marv's retirement from the grounds staff, the guys didn't miss a beat today and collectively tackled a wide range of projects including plenty of rototilling. It was a busy day and with chances of rain for late in the day, the grounds staff and volunteers all hit the ground running with a wide range of tasks. It was our busiest Monday to date with lots of great help. As I bounced between projects, I was able to take some quick snapshots of exciting plants like this hybrid magnolia (Magnolia sieboldii x tripetala) below which has such showy and rich white blooms later than most of our other magnolias. Despite what we thought would be marginal winter hardiness, this hybrid has done well overlooking the zig-zag bridge. The next photo down shows the rare golden spikenard (Aralia cordata 'Sun King') in the gazebo garden. I can't wait until this is a 5' tall golden giant topped with white flower clusters. All in due time of course! Our sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) is seen in the third photo down. This groundcover is quite beautiful this time of year and both the foliage and flowers are fragrant, particularly when crushed.
We had easily 20+ volunteers out in the gardens today. Above are Dick H. (red suspenders) and Dick P. installing the newly refurbished 'Dancing Waters' fountain just north of the alpine garden. Getting this fountain centered and anchored is a trick and we just hope that we don't have more "ill-intentioned" swimmers messing with it this year. The fountain was so beautiful once it was turned back on, Dick P. (below) had to sit and enjoy the view! The next photo down is Sidley, a new volunteer, who started today and jumped right in to planting two areas with Cindy this morning. She is definitely a "keeper"! The third photo down shows Gary with many of our labels trying to match up our labeling needs with labels that have already been produced. He and Pat C. did a great job matching up more labels and determining future labeling needs in many garden areas. The fourth photo down shows (from left to right), Jim, Ron Y. and Dave T. who along with Vern, continued repairs on our zig-zag bridge. The carpenters have plenty of future projects including more bridge work that requires widening a current bridge for better accessibility. The next photo down shows Sidley, Cindy and Ron (green shirt) planting our American Garden Award (AGA) Display. They did a great job and Ron previously installed our new terrace umbrellas and brought back our older ones from nearby storage. Pat M. (next photo down) is showing his converted recycling bin now used to haul debris! With upgraded garbage and recycling bins for Janesville residents, there are thousands of these around and Pat made good use of this one. Pat painted and dug out six more shrubs for removal after more obelisk paintin. Russ, Bob C., Lloyd and Gene all worked on mulching various locations. Larry H. collected more debris from the paths while Bob T. was in for more air edging duties. Dr. Gredler and Del did their Monday mowing rounds which was timely after some more vigorous growth over the weekend. Stan came in later for more pine (Pinus) shaping near the Japanese garden. We also saw Dr. Yahr (helped plant), Rollie (helped the fountain guys), Maury (many errands), Nancy N., Janice and many others. The seventh photo down shows Dave T. finishing the top for the last new obelisk (12' tall?) that Pat has been painting. I'm sure I forgot some people too!
The grounds staff had a busy day as well. Terry and Big John went on a gas run right away and then John went mobile for our first plant run of the day. John moved on to other gardening duties after his return. Cindy and I then went for the second load of plants which were mostly impatiens. Terry rototilled, watered and kept busy with myriad projects, many Marv was involved with as well. Jenny spent more time in the yard matching labels to incoming plants, organizing plants by collection and otherwise, streamlining the process for me to find and load up these plants. She has a great eye for detail and her "yard maneuvering" is very helpful to keep our pace going. Jenny also watered in various locations. Cindy weeded, planted and went on the plant run with me. Larry did some push mowing, digging and other tasks related to ongoing projects. Directly below are the showy blooms of the Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Royal Cloak') which is a beautiful shrub but barberries are becoming a real problem in woodlands where the seeds are ultimately "distributed" by birds. The next photo down is the pink Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) which are fine in full sun or part shade. The last two photos show the vigorous but beautiful purple gromwell (Buglossoides purpurocaerulea) near the gazebo garden. Despite it's spreading nature (12" tall), I can't bring myself to remove it because of these electric blue flowers. Neat!