Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Sunshine Returns

It was nice to have the sunshine back today after all the heavy rains and overcast days.  It was very humid and hot in the sun but that's pretty normal for this time of year anyway!  Our focus today was extensive garden clean-up after all the rainfall created muddy washouts and path issues here and there.  There is a chance of rain over the next three days but I hope we have some significant sunshine for our annuals to start filling in nicely.  Directly above is the popcorn plant (Cassia didymobotrya) which has been a big hit out in the gardens for the past couple of years.  The showy yellow flower spires on this tropical smell like buttered popcorn and this was a plant that we've used extensively in the Smelly Garden over the past two years.  Directly below is the 'Magellan Orange' zinnia (Zinnia elegans) which is one of the many components of our orange theme throughout the entrance garden and terrace garden.  This color collection is starting to fill in nicely and wont be subtle in terms of "visual impact"!  Our lime theme is also looking quite nice.  The second photo down is the perennial, Armenian basketflower (Centaurea macrocephala) which I featured in the "bud stage" in a recent blog posting.

We had a stellar cast of volunteers today.  It was an amazing turnout and I hope I can remember everyone that came in today.  Above are Eva (left) and Janice in the reception garden where we had additional weeding help from Steve, Vicki, Marilyn, Suzy, Karla, Mary R., Bob K. and Shirley.  The "target" weed was purslane (Portulaca oleracea) today although there were some other options as well.  Some of this group later helped with a planting project in the gazebo garden.  Marleen was in to work in her area and she also helped plant later in the morning.  Many of our Grumpies helped with path tidying which was vital after the mess all these downpours have recently caused.  The second photo down shows Larry H., Zach and Larry (left to right).  The guys are skimming the mud layer off the gravel which will later be covered with fresh gravel and smoothed out.  These guys were later joined by Ron P.  The third photo down shows Bob C. (left ) and Gene repairing gravel washouts on some of our paths.  Zach (Larry's grandson by the way) helped the guys with this project as well.  Dave, Vern, Jim and Ron Y. continued carpentry progress on our new obelisks and the newly widened bridge in the Japanese garden.  Dick H. helped here and there and ran errands as well.  Denny J. came in to help move some desks with John, Larry and Dick H.  It's always nice to have Denny's help (and strength!).  Hal and Doris R. tidied up their area and we also had Dr. Gredler out mowing.  Bill O. was in this afternoon to help too.  The fourth photo down shows Betty (left) and Shirley planting in the gazebo garden.  They were later joined by many other helpers.  Bob T. came in later for some air edging duties and we also saw Deb G., Jason O., Pat C.,  Dr. Yahr and many others.  

The grounds staff had an equally busy day.  Above is Big John helping with post rainstorm clean-up efforts in the sunken garden which had some mild flooding.  Here he's skimming up washed out mud that collected on many of the paths.  John also helped haul furniture, dig/pot perennials from the "soon to be upgraded" color rooms garden, watered, etc.  Larry push mowed, helped with various projects this morning, helped move furniture and other tasks.  Janice helped get the Grumpettes going today and worked on weeding/tidying multiple areas.  She also tidied the Potter Daylily Collection as we have a daylily group from Chicago touring the gardens this Saturday.  Janice also organized some of our trial plants and worked on labels with Jenny.  Jenny tidied up multiple areas including the sunken garden, entrance garden and English cottage garden.  Pat did a great job clearing our east border of bulb foliage, debris, etc. and helped tidy up other areas as well (with additional bulb cutting).  Cheryl was in for a half day and did a nice job getting closure to the weeding and tidying of the entire terrace garden.  I hauled and placed plants, helped with volunteers and continue to plan for more planting in the coming weeks.  While July can be hot, we still have some decent weather for planting and once the annuals are in place, we'll move to perennials and woodies.  We like to have the yard empty by August...just in time to start receiving plants for the fall plant sale in September.  Below are more plants recently photographed in the gardens (with identification underneath the image).

'Whirlwind' plantain lily (Hosta) near gazebo
Regal lily (Lilium regale 'Album') in children's garden (super fragrant!)
breadseed poppy (Papaver somniferum) in English cottage garden
'Gartenmeister Bonstadt' fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla) in shade garden (annual)
Incrediball smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Abetwo')

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