Today was the best day of the year so far with sunshine and temperatures near 72 degrees F. It was downright balmy in the sun and we had a great turnout of volunteers and one of our busiest Fridays yet this year. The crew from the Oakhill Christian School (see above) came and did their annual mulching job in the daylily (Hemerocallis) collection. This group has done this huge project many years in the past and does a dynamite job. Their teacher Kath (front row, second from right) was a great motivator and these teenagers were all hard workers. This garden space has limited access so we have to bucket all the mulch in to this area. I even got in to the act and Janice captured my feelings on hauling buckets and getting my baby soft hands all calloused this morning (see directly below). Janice was a huge help with this group this morning and Big John helped get everything set up yesterday and also assisted with buckets/set up this morning. John and Janice also tidied up after the job was complete and hauled back all the tools, buckets, tarps, etc. John had a busy day of securing obelisks, preparing containers, composting, etc. Cindy did a nice job tidying up part of the terrace garden and completed the outer portion of the gazebo garden which benefitted from her attention to detail. Many loads of debris came out of the gardens today. Janice had other tasks and Pat M. worked inside this morning on various painting projects and obelisk preparations. I had a meeting and am still working on preparations for looming events.
Other volunteers today included Pat C. (seen above) who was back in action as our mobile sign medic. After a tough winter, we always have broken signs and she was out doing an inventory and assessment for the repair and maintenance of these signs while it is still spring and easier to access the gardens. We love our new labels but need to spend this valuable time making sure they are in good shape. Pat is the perfect person for this job (despite her questionable driving skills...). Ron K. (below) was back for his second day of tidying the woodland walk garden. Ron has maintained this garden for two previous years and is one of our best assigned gardeners with the most square footage of anyone. Kay (second photo down) did a great job of collecting more debris and few can match her pace and comprehensive approach to any project she starts. She brought back many loads of leaves and other debris. Eva was in as well and focused on multiple areas closer to the Parker Education Center. The third photo down shows our painting crew of Suzy, Pat M. and Dr. Gredler (far right). Look at how colorful our Horticulture Center interior has become! Maury came in to continue work on the English Cottage Garden fountain and ran some errands for us as well. Maury is invaluable and saves us so much time and $ with his involvement at the gardens. He also has a huge ego and hopefully isn't reading this blog.
I was able to get around the gardens this morning before our volunteers arrived and captured more beauty out in the gardens. After seeing a posted shot of the pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) on our RBG Facebook page, I sought it out this morning in the alpine garden. This is the first of dozens that are just starting to emerge. That "fur" should help protect the flowers from the cold/rain/sleet/snow combination next week! Below are the first daffodils (Narcissus) I've seen blooming at the gardens although many are poised and ready to open up. The third photo down shows more crocuses (Crocus sp.) in full bloom and I'm surprised the resident rabbits and visiting deer haven't nibbled these yet. Further down is the Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) which is starting to bloom around the gardens with that electric blue color (I like the white form too though!).
John was doing some work down in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden today which will feature the second year theme of being a "Pollinator's Paradise". This theme went very well last year although this year we have a new twist with incorporating lots of All-America Selections (AAS) winners that are great for pollinators. Just some of the selections that will be utilized can be seen below. In essence, the "Pollinator's Paradise" will also be our AAS Display Garden and will be entered in their annual landscape design competition. We'll compete with other gardens and locations that are AAS Display Gardens and will be also featuring a prominent use of re-purposed containers in this garden. We've won this competition two years in a row (not bragging, just a fact) and are aiming for a three-peat victory (now we're bragging). Regardless, this will be a fun space for all our visitors; humans and pollinators alike!
'Prairie Sun' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta)
'Summer Jewel Pink' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)
'Fiesta del Sol' Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)
'Lady in Red' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)
'Cosmic Orange' sulphur cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)
'Zowie! Yellow Flame' zinnia (Zinnia elegans)