Friday, March 21, 2014

Genesis Of The Reception Garden

I was ordering some additional plants today for our reception garden (seen above a couple of years ago) and thought I'd share some historic photos of this space as part of our 25th Anniversary and celebration of the creation and further development of RBG.  The image above features the common blue and silver theme that we have typically follow every year in this small garden space just west of the sunken garden.  The archway is from the Parker Pen World Headquarters and is on permanent loan from the Rock County Historical Society.  This archway separates the reception garden from the sunken garden and is considered a feature of both gardens.  The reception garden is interesting in that I've never seen an actual reception held in this area although it is the perfect staging area for events in the sunken garden like weddings, musical venues, Shakespeare in the Garden (years ago), etc.  The asphalt paving is not ideal as it gets pretty hot (and soft) in summer but the predominantly blue scheme helps "cool it down" visually.  Years ago we used to put a tent (or tents) over this space for events but that was always challenging with containers and plantings.  The space is very formal in arrangement and has some beautiful hardscaping with lannon stone walls, raised beds, center planter and a druid sculpture that was on top of the House of Mercy Nunnery many years ago.  She is positioned on a "sight line" opposite of the arch seen above with a view down the middle of the sunken garden.  Colorful containers and surrounding evergreens help complete the scene which always fills in nicely.  Further below is a sequential progression showing the development of that garden back in 1992?  I need to pick Dr. Yahr's brain when he comes back from AZ so I can connect some of these "historical dots."
We had a productive day and the weather was very cooperative with sunshine and temperatures in the mid 50 degrees F.  Pat worked on processing more lights from the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) and Terry came in to bring in more HLS lights and displays as well.  Bill O. was out tidying up in the garden and also helped with some HLS duties.  Urban came in for some pruning and Maury, Glenn and I met regarding the Spring Tree Sale (held in conjunction with the Spring Plant Sale, see our website!).  Janice worked on plant sale duties amongst other things.  We also saw Bev W., Leslie L. and students from Shepherd's College (Union Grove, WI) that brought plants for the symposium tomorrow.
original reception garden site with the sunken garden ultimately being developed between the tree lines in the distance
early wall work by masons
a segment of the archway goes up with help from the Wisconsin Conservation Corp
the "archway gang" above with Harold Todd (center) as their leader/mentor
early site after archway and first wall are developed
same as above
preparing the site
asphalting (see the start of the sunken garden in the distance)
the cast elements in the foreground will go to form the center planter
same as above
early view looking southward (note the Parker Pen on the left and another structure on the right)
This structure in the distance was put in place and ultimately removed for some reason.  However the flared columns were re-used to support an arching bronze duck sculpture in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden and the three pieces seen above that form the arch were separated and used in the Scottish garden (look for the bench) and hosta hollow.
the druid sculpture from the House of Mercy
the druid (after refurbishment) being lowered in to place
same as above
early Grumpies posing with the druid (note the new hedge)
the druid last year with a backing of arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
above is our pink theme in 2012?, the only year we strayed from the blue/silver theme

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