I've been watching the doppler radar the past couple of days and we've been missed by many storms that have gone north or south of Janesville. It looks like we'll be hit later tonight with some heavy rains and the winds really picked up throughout the day. I'm glad we were able to get the past couple of days in for gardening as I thought the entire week would be a "rain out". I just hope the rain isn't happening this Saturday morning for our fourth of six volunteer planting work days (8 am until 12 noon)! I hope to plant three more large areas and look forward to another solid turnout. Above is the white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) just starting to bloom in the color rooms garden. We have three nice specimens and these lacy, draping flowers are quite showy (and fragrant!). Directly below is the 'Red Majestic' purple contorted filbert (Corylus avellana) in the Scottish garden. There is another variety called 'Red Dragon' that looks similar and I'm just pleased with having maroon selections essentially of the Harry Lauder's walking stick or contorted filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta'). I trimmed some root suckers (green leaves and straight stems) off this specimen today which doesn't take long. The next photo down shows the beautiful (also fragrant) dangling blooms of a pink locust (Robinia x slavinii 'Hillieri') which is asked about by visitors almost daily. The third photo down features another neat false indigo (Baptisia hybrida) called 'Purple Smoke' which is one of my favorites for color. The fourth photo down shows a classic lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus 'Chatelaine') in the English cottage garden. Over the years we've bulked up on the classic English cottage garden perennials like lupines, hollyhocks (Alcea), foxglove (Digitalis), etc.
Despite my lack of volunteer pictures today, we had a great turnout. Directly below (left to right) are Bob, Bev, Corky and Joan planting vegetables at the Horticulture Center in a bed that they cleared of weeds. Janice has an entire team of volunteers (including the four below) dedicated to the vegetable beds and they collectively do a great job with planting, weeding, watering and harvesting. Kay and Suzy were out in the gardens doing some major weeding while the Grumpies kept busy as well. Larry H., Ron W. new Ron, Bob C. and Gene worked on various outdoor projects like path clean-up, mulching, etc. Dick P. and Dick H. placed more memorial bricks while Jim, Vern and Ron Y. continued their carpentry projects. Bev W. continued weeding in her garden in preparation for planting next week. Pat C. did a nice job matching up more labels out in the gardens and organizing her labels for future and immediate use. The Chestnut House volunteers came in this afternoon and planted two sizeable areas just outside the reception garden. Del and Dr. Gredler worked on mowing and we also saw Dr. Yahr, Bill O., Mary W., Bev F., Maury, Janet M., Renee and many others. The second photo down shows some of the student groups that came in today for the youth education program. Our education volunteers do a dynamite job.
We had a light crew for grounds today but were able to cover a lot of ground. Note the sweet bearded iris (Iris germanica) shot above although I don't know the variety...How would you even begin to describe that coloration? With the rains missing us these past couple of days, we've kept up with watering containers and newly planted areas. Cheryl was in for a half day and did some weeding and bulb foliage clearing as well as container planting and watering in the formal gardens. Janice got the Grumpettes (Kay and Suzy) organized this morning, worked with vegetables at the Horticulture Center, watered and had the Chestnut House volunteers planting this afternoon. Larry spent most of the day with the string trimmer going around the entire gardens. The grass has not slowed down yet and we have three upcoming weddings this weekend and want everything looking tidy. I bounced between a couple projects after my plant pick-up and am trying to catch up the desk work that was planned for these rainy days that haven't materialized (yet). Directly below is one of the dozens of peony (Paeonia) varieties blooming with ornamental onions (Allium) right now along our Palmer Drive flower beds. The third photo down was taken today from the upper porch overlooking the English cottage garden and at the bottom....a female cottonwood (Populus deltoides) twig that blew down today showing that the "cotton" (seeds) will be ready to drop over the coming weeks. When that happens, it will look like it's snowing and we'll then deal with many, many seedlings over the entire gardens.