Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Arrives Right On Time

It was beautiful weather for the first day of Spring with temperatures right around 50 degrees F.  This is t-shirt weather in Wisconsin and we sure took advantage of the day and saw the return of some of our volunteers as well.  With much of the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) still out in the gardens, it was a nice day to bring in more elements like those seen above.  I believe Larry H. brought back this load and there were some other Grumpies (Terry, Pat, etc.) out and about to pick up additional HLS lights and cords.  Pat M. was processing much of these "retrieved elements" inside and was outside as well.  Multiple volunteers also helped with additional cord and light processing for storage.  We did have some gardening Grumpies today with Bob and Steve (red hat) seen below. The guys swept, collected pruning debris and are seen here cutting back ornamental grasses.  Gene worked on staining benches while Gary B. and Dr. Gredler continued their painting efforts.  Gary S. worked on new perennial labels and some computer troubleshooting for me.  Dick H. was in to help out and Bill O. arrived after lunch to help Larry this afternoon.  Maury was back in town and picked up the big screen for our Spring Symposium this Saturday. Big John came in to help him get this gigantic screen set up.  We also saw Mary Kay, Bill O. (#2) and some others.  I spent the morning delivering seeds to our growers and had some meetings as well.  I'll make another seed delivery tomorrow for two of our growers near Evansville, WI.  One will be growing all of our plant sale vegetables and will sow the seed as early as next week to keep everything on tap.

I'm putting together some more thoughts on our "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden for this year.  This is the second year of that collection and we hope to improve upon and diversify the collection from last year.  The Pollinator's Paradise theme was very successful in terms of visitor feedback but also (or more importantly) was effective in attracting a wide range of pollinators.  The collection this year will also feature All-American Selections (AAS) varieties that will be effective in helping attract pollinators.  It is important to mention that this AAS-themed "Pollinator's Paradise" will feature repurposed containers, a wide range of varieties and is ultimately entered in to the AAS Display Contest that we've won over the past two years.  We're excited to participate again and look forward to a successful collection (and three-peat victory of course...). Two examples of AAS winners that worked well last year and will be included this year include the 'Summer Jewel Red' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) seen above and the 'Summer Jewel Pink' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) seen directly below.  There is an older red variety of Salvia coccinea called 'Lady in Red' which is also dynamite (not pictured).  Salvias (both annual and perennial) are butterfly and hummingbird magnets.  Keeping in mind that many of our perennial salvia bloom strongly in spring and while they may have some reblooming qualities, they don't have a consistently long period of interest for our pollinators.  However, many of our tender or annual species will bloom throughout the summer and offer both color and the potential for bringing in interested pollinators.  See further below for some of my favorites.

'Summer Jewel Pink' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)
'Summer Jewel Red' and 'Summer Jewel Pink' scarlet sages (Salvia coccinea)
'Van Houttei' scarlet sage (Salvia splendens)
'Wendy's Wish' hybrid salvia (Salvia hybrida)
blue anise sage (Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue')
hummingbird photo (at RBG) by Santos M.
hummingbird photo (at RBG) by Santos M.
hummingbird photo (at RBG) by Santos M.
gentian sage (Salvia patens 'Oceana Blue')

No comments: