There is a chance of rain every day this week and today certainly had its share of precipitation ranging from a drizzle to a downpour. We did get some garden work accomplished during the "dry spells" and we had a zesty crew over at the Horticulture Center all morning. Above is an early species (Tulipa tarda) opening up for the start of our tulip season. I'm hoping our 4,000 pink tulips (Tulipa) in the entrance garden will still be timed for Mother's Day weekend!? They have a ways to go yet. Our blooming bulbs out in the gardens are only a couple days behind the average bloom time and the cool weather has extended the bloom windows of those that have already started. Below are some shots of "floating windows" in our annual beds just east of the Parker Education Center. We have seven planting beds that will be our "Jungle Garden" this year with large and lush tropicals that will engulf these windows and colorful doors that we have yet to install. The garden was developed along the themes in the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. We're excited about this lush garden and the windows will make more sense in about three months!
We had some great volunteer help today despite the rain. Above is Gary B. working on our pink bike rack which will be located out in the pink-themed entrance garden. I should mention that Gary is not a fan of pink and that opinion hasn't changed after all his painting projects utilizing that color! The fourth photo down shows that at least one of our volunteers appreciates the value of pink! Dave, Vern, Jim, Bob K. and Ron Y. continued efforts on our many carpentry projects including further work on our second 20' tall obelisk. Pat M. worked on many projects including some painting and preparing of our first giant obelisk for installation out in the gardens. We had a team (see below) working on removing old bricks from our entrance garden pathways. Dick P., Maury, Kevin C., Larry and Rollie all helped remove bricks on paths that will be converted shortly to concrete. The guys has a good system and made quick work of this project. Dick H. (third photo down) started working on the brakes of one of our utility carts and Gary S. had a full morning of producing the signs for our 2014 Garden Art Project items (Adirondack chairs). Bill O. worked on servicing one riding mower while Dr. Gredler was out in the gardens mowing with the other one. Janice came in for some office work and a meeting. We also saw Mary W., Bev F., Darcie, Linda K., Art H., Elaine W., Karen B., Kris K. and many others today. Both our Horticultural Therapy and Home Garden Tour Committees met later this afternoon with many more participating and involved volunteers.
These last four shots are of hellebores (Helleborus) I photographed at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI) last Friday. Your spring garden should have hellebores and hopefully these inspire you to consider planting these durable and long-lived plants in your partly shaded garden spaces. Above is 'Red Lady' with those below identified beneath the photo.
The grounds staff kept busy with rainy day projects and tasks outside in between raindrops. Big John and Terry went on a shopping run for more potting soil and various tools and moved on to preparing more containers, pressure washing and a multitude of other tasks. Cindy potted up more recently arrived bulbs (cannas & fragrant tuberose) and bareroot perennials. She also processed labels and did some tidying up around the Horticulture Center. My efforts were focused on the spring plant sale and the most time-sensitive projects...my desk wont be clear until December at this point in time!
'White Spotted Lady'