Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekend Preparations Under Cloudy Skies

We had some nice rain overnight (3/4") which was welcome although the high winds did make a bit of a mess.  We've had the threat of rain throughout the day but as I type, we haven't had any (yet).  It looks like it could be a rainy weekend but I hope we just have a dry spell at least between 8 am and 12 noon for our Volunteer Work Day (planting) tomorrow.  After a nice soaking rain like that though, it's nice to have a day off from running irrigation and watering containers.  We had a very productive day and spent much of it getting ready for volunteers tomorrow and three weddings (one tonight and two tomorrow).  Of course we tidy the entire gardens but are now in the time of year where we have lots of planting and lots of weeds to manage.  Directly above is the 'Star of Persia' ornamental onion (Allium christophii) which is just starting to bloom around the gardens.  This fall planted bulb has softball size blooms on 18" stalks.  The spherical blooms are a cluster (umbel) of metallic violet blossoms.  We have a couple thousand of these around the gardens and they sure look great when they peak and are nice dried as well.  Directly below is the foliage of the 'Lance Corporal' knotweed (Persicaria virginiana) which spreads a bit but also has nice long, pink flower stalks late in the season.  I like the clean foliage but this plant does have an impressive reproduction rate!  The next photo down shows one of our thousands of columbines (Aquilegia) blooming throughout the gardens. This is a double form (unknown variety) seen throughout the color rooms garden.  The next photo down shows the needles of the Korean fir (Abies koreana) that looks neat with the silver undersides of the needles offering nice contrast.  The fourth photo down shows another of our many bearded iris (Iris germanica) varieties at peak bloom this week.

The grounds staff did a wide range of tasks today.  Directly above is Jenny who weeded, planted, cut back bulb foliage and bounced between many different projects.  All her hard work making labels and matching them to incoming plants has been extremely handy and helps us immediately install signs with our newest of plantings.  Jenny is also quick about making signs as we need them.  Terry worked on edging, weeding and hauling out plants for the planting work day.  Terry also hauled and positioned flats of impatiens for planting tomorrow as our "back up plan".  Big John push mowed and also hauled plants in preparation for planting tomorrow (the reception garden).  Pat mulched more trees, push mowed and worked on excavating an area that will ultimately be asphalted in the coming weeks.  Cindy weeded and cleared bulb foliage in the entrance garden and did some watering in the greenhouses.  Janice planted, weeded, worked on labels, did the cutting display and kept busy with a variety of projects.  I helped haul plants this morning and got a jump on laying out our planting scheme for tomorrow.  I'm also catching up on desk work that has been saved for the rainy day that hasn't arrived late this week.  

We had a nice volunteer turnout today as well.  Above is Rose who is working on entering volunteer hours in a database.  It was nice to have Rose over at the Horticulture Center as her usual location is at the Parker Education Center gift gallery.  Mary and Roy W. did some planting and weeding throughout the shade garden expanse.  Kay tidied up her area of the shade garden then planted and weeded in the sunken garden. Ron K. was in to tidy up the woodland walk garden and never has a shortage of tasks to keep up with during his visits.  We'll get him more perennials to install next week once the weeds and "undesireables" are effectively purged.  Mary H. and her daughter Kathy came in late this afternoon to plant a couple more annuals before the potential rains descend.  Dr. Gredler was in for extensive mowing and we also saw Vern, Maury, Bob K., Elsa, Lois and many others.  Below are some more interesting sights from today (identified under the image). 

perennial campion (Lychnis viscaria 'Fire')
variegated Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica 'Variegata')
golden foliage of 'Lightning Flash' tall tickseed (Coreopsis tripteris)
Coppertina ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Mindia')
beautiful but aggressively re-seeding, non-native dame's rocket  (Hesperis matronalis)

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