There was a threat of rain today but we only had the lightest of drizzle to complete a solid week of overcast skies! Next week looks better. Of course, the overcast day was perfect for photography and capturing more color around the gardens. Above is the start of bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) just starting to open up. We have lots of bleeding heart species and I enjoy every one of them out in the spring garden. Directly below is the white snake's head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris 'Alba') just starting up. The cooler weather has slowed down the start of some bulbs (they'll catch up!) but those already blooming have had an extended window with this "preservative cold spell"! The hellebores (Helleborus sp.) are looking dynamite with the variety 'Blue Lady' seen two photos down. We had a great day out in the gardens although Janice and I had more plant sale preparations at the Horticulture Center. With six deliveries early next week for the Spring Plant Sale and trees arriving mid-week for the Tree Sale, we'll need to be "ready to receive!"
We had a great day of volunteerism. Above is Ron K. tidying the woodland walk garden which he has kept pristine for many years. He'll be mulching this garden next week as we can still get "in the gaps" with this slow emergence of perennials. Directly below is Kay who did an awesome job composting her garden area in the shade garden. She was later joined by Shirley (second photo down) who started with some weeding and transitioned to "composting helper" for Kay. Urban came in for more pruning and both Dr. Gredler and Bill O. worked on the riding mowing of the entire gardens.
The grounds staff had a very productive day as usual. Pat can be seen in the above photo (center) preparing this space for our second giant obelisk. Pat finished training our weeping ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'Pendula') and had some other projects as well. Cindy tidied a wide range of areas with a focus on the sunken garden and gazebo garden. She also composted in the terrace garden along the perennial border in that garden. Janice had some outdoor labeling work and refreshed the cutting display. She also worked on a wide range of plant sale preparations as I did as well. Below are Terry (foreground) and Big John continuing edging the Thomas Jefferson Collection beds. We continue to add plants to this collection every week and are focusing on the cool season crops and early greens right now. The guys also did a nice job edging in the sunken garden and divided up all the push mowing duties. Further below are some other colorful images from today.
'Sunningdale Variegated' masterwort (Astrantia major) - the variegation fades by mid-summer unfortunately
a specimen of the 'Royal Heritage' strain of hellebores (Helleborus)
'Black Diamond' hellebore (Helleborus)
our 18" diameter, painted culvert pipes are ready for plants as part of the expanded Jungle Garden this year