We had some frost last night which tinged most of our early bulbs (crocus, daffodils, etc.) and other early bloomers like hellebore (Helleborus). Frost in mid April isn't unusual but a return to winter conditions isn't welcomed by most of us after a tough, previous four months. As part of my weekly installments promoting our history during our 25th Anniversary year, I'll show some progress in the gazebo garden which was started back in 1990. More to follow on the transformation of that shaded garden space adjacent to our pond and on the east end of our property.
We had a great day at the gardens despite the cold start this morning. The cold didn't stop Eva (above left) and Kathy P. from tidying up the Azalea/Rhododendron Garden and other locations. Big John worked on various projects but spent the bulk of his time with a pressure washer and was preparing some containers for repainting. Cheryl, Janice and Cindy did a wonderful job with some spring cleaning duties inside the Horticulture Center and moved on to other duties both inside and out. Cheryl tidied up the beds outside the Horticulture Center and then headed in to the gardens. Cindy did spring clean-up in other locations out in the gardens. Janice processed incoming plants and bounced between multiple projects. Pat worked on myriad indoor projects including painting, running phone lines for the plant sale, etc. I had more desk work but was able to get out in the gardens a bit as well. Urban came in to size up more pruning and Stan hauled back some loads from his pruning out in the Japanese garden. Lloyd and Nancy came in for painting duties and were later helped by Dr. Gredler. We also saw Maury, Chuck S. and many others.
When the gardens were founded back in 1989, the east end of our 3 acre pond (an old sand and gravel pit) looked as you see it above. This spring-fed pond (filled the old quarry) had been a popular fishing spot for many years but also accumulated plenty of debris and garbage over the years. This end of the pond is where most floating debris collected and continues to collect. With that shoreline being prime "real estate" for a garden space, work was initially done to clean-up the garbage (see directly below) and shoreline (second photo down). When the gazebo garden was being planned, the arched bridge in the Japanese garden has just been installed and the view from the future gazebo would take in to account this sight line and maximize a beautiful view across the water. Early shoreline development and stabilization after clean-up helped accommodate the re-purposing and installation of the steps from the old Rock County Courthouse. These steps lead down to the water and were part of the shoreline stabilization efforts. The concrete footing for the gazebo was then poured after plans for an eight-sided structure were agreed upon. The intent was that the structure would also frame a view to the distant arched bridge (see photos at the bottom). The historic photos below show the development of that garden space and specifically the structure. There were many volunteers involved with this work and Jim Cullen was instrumental in providing leadership with this project. Note how the top of the gazebo was built first, raised up and then the lower section was built underneath... Short captions help describe the progress. The gazebo garden, aside from the nice view, is considered the "coolest spot in the gardens" because of a nice breeze across the water and some mature trees throughout that garden. Peripheral planting include a hosta collection, perennials and lots of seasonal color. This popular garden hosts many weddings and other events throughout the growing season as well.
early Rotarian clean-up efforts
early shoreline work
boulders are brought in for shore stabilization
note the old Rock County Courthouse steps in the center
debris collection continued along that end of the pond
paths are mulched and the foundation is poured (below too)
the upper half of the gazebo is built first
same as above