The Volunteer Potluck this evening went well with over 80 people in attendance (seen above). It was a nice turnout with quite a spread of food and desserts. Lori, Mary and I all made comments and I did a little slide show later in the evening to talk about some of the RBG past, present and future. It was nice to see so many veteran volunteers and many new ones as well. Lori, Janice and the Volunteer Committee did a nice job getting this event set-up and thanks to Jumbo Jim and the two RECAPPERS for helping clean up and get the room ready for tomorrow. It's cloudy as I type this evening and I hope we get some rain overnight as our water system to the gardens is still "down for the count" and Mother Nature could really help us out. There is a chance of rain over the next three days as well although I hope to have some clear weather in the morning to get some work done including a large planting project for 25 zealous 7th graders... Directly below is the 'Shaker's Prayer' Siberian iris (Iris siberica) near the North point garden. Now those are exquisite blooms!!! The second photo down shows a cluster of the Star of Persia ornamental onion (Allium christophii) which is just starting to peak by the thousands around the gardens right now. The third photo down shows the dark maroon foliage of the 'Dark Towers' perennial beartongue (Penstemon digitalis). This variety will bloom with light pink, trumpet-shaped flowers in a week or two but the foliage is certainly a "color contributor" from May until frost.
The weather was again nice today with some overcast skies and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees F. While this is fairly cool for early June, it's been nice working weather and helps reduce my stress knowing that our watering system is currently crippled (hopefully only until tomorrow). We had a great volunteer turnout today. Above are Cookie and Resa (blue) planting the remainder of the North point garden which is their assigned garden. They did great job planting and watering everything in nicely. They even had time to do some planting in the reception garden that was left over from yesterday. Kay was in to tidy up her large portion of the shade garden. She's clearing bulb foliage, debris and masses of drifting cottonwood (Populus deltoides) seeds. The "cotton" was sure thick today with a light breeze. She'll plant perennials in her space later in the week. Directly below is Rose repainting the door at the Horticulture Center. In the distance are Urban, Vern and Dr. Gredler. Dr. Gredler and Bill O. did some major mowing and Vern was in to size up some looming carpentry projects. Cora (second photo down) planted over 25 of our containers today both in the English cottage garden and sunken garden. In this photo, she's up on the porch planting eight "planter boxes" positioned along the railing. She did a great job and will be back for one more round to finish the remainder of our 60+ outdoor containers. Pat C. had another busy day of matching labels and taking inventory of rose labels that we need to have produced. Hal and Doris (third photo down) planted the majority of their corner planter and used a wide range of orange-blooming annuals to match our overall color scheme. They've done a great job in this same space for many years. Ron K. (fourth photo down) was in to tidy up the woodland walk garden which is his assigned garden. He also planted another 30 or so new perennials along the section adjacent to the pond edge. Stan came in for more pruning in the Japanese garden and we also saw Mary W., Dale, Kris K., Larry H. and many others.
The grounds staff kept busy from start to finish today. Larry had push mowing duties, installed some mailbox/signs (to hold information) and did plenty of watering the old-fashioned way with watering cans. Big John collected pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) from our spring containers (in advance of Cora planting the summer scheme today)., push mowed, planted the rest of the new roses, composted, rototilled and watered. Janice cleared a large area of bulb foliage, did a nice job on the cutting display, watered and spent time preparing for the Volunteer Potluck this evening. Cheryl did a tidy job cutting back daffodil (Narcissus) foliage along the front slope in advance of us preparing it for planting this Saturday (volunteer planting workday from 8 am until 12 noon!, next two Saturdays!). She then shifted to removing bulb foliage and weeds from the west section of the shade garden which needs some new plants shortly (maybe tomorrow). I ran plants out for Cookie, Resa and Cora and staged plants for our volunteer planters tomorrow. Directly below is the viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare) in the English cottage garden. This biennial is great for bees and has a nice shade of blue flower spikes (smaller trumpet shaped flowers) in to early summer. This native of Europe has been a hit in this garden for many years. Unfortunately, the last three photos are of unknown varieties of a rhododendron and two tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) respectively. The beauty is amazing though!