I would say that of all the days I've worked at Rotary Botanical Gardens (almost 5,000!), today really epitomized what I feel the gardens were created to accommodate and promote. It was a crazy and busy day with oodles of visitors, volunteers, youth education programs, tours (including some for mobility impaired guests) and lots of activity on a beautiful day. It was one of the busiest Thursdays I've ever seen but we got through the day and the progress was impressive. Thursdays are traditionally well-attended by our Grumpies and our WWW (Women Weed Warriors) and today was no exception. However, we saw the return of some familiar faces and had two new volunteers start as well. I was pleased to hear the laughter of children as they enjoyed our Youth Education Program and give Kris K. and our volunteers lots of credit for handling such high energy groups (see the two photos directly below). The program was well received and you couldn't ask for a nicer day out in the gardens.
The photo above shows a volunteer group from Edison Middle School and these eight young men along with their teacher, Mr. Jackson (center with the sunglasses), did a wonderful job planting out in the terrace garden this afternoon. This crew quickly planted 500 plants and had time to enjoy the gardens as well. We rely on groups such as this to keep up our rapid planting pace! The photo below shows Mary R., Karen, Winifred, Terri, Suzie and Marilyn. These ladies did a great job cutting back bulb foliage in the entrance garden and shifted to significant planting in two other areas. The second photo down shows Marilyn getting a little too cozy with Dick, one of our Grumpies. The fact that they have been married forever made it slightly less awkward (and nauseating). The third photo down shows Vicky and Steve who returned today for some clean-up duties in the terrace garden... Welcome back! Kathy and Eva did a great job weeding in the formal gardens and Bev W. was in to plant in the sunken garden. The sixth photo down shows Shirley who helped orient our new volunteers, Donna and Jim (seventh photo down). This trio did a great job planting and then moved to some weeding and bulb foliage removal. The Grumpies had a busy day. Dick P. and Dick H. worked on installing bricks while Vern, Jim, Dave and Ron Y. installed the last door in the Jungle Garden (fourth photo down) and worked on some other much needed carpentry projects out in the gardens. Bob K. did some electrical work and helped here and there. The fifth photo down shows Gary B. (left) and Ron P. spreading cocoa hull mulch on the rose garden. We do this annually and it really dresses that space up nicely. The guys did a nice job and enjoyed the smell of chocolate all morning. Larry H. and Bob C. worked on a big composting project and Maury ran some errands. Jumbo Jim was in with RECAPPERS this afternoon and they did a great job in the Japanese garden and helped water as well. Marianne G. helped Janice plant in the Thomas Jefferson Collection this morning. We also saw Gary S., Pat C. (labels), Mary Kay T. and many others. I was on the move all day so inevitably have missed mentioning someone! Sorry!
The grounds staff had an equally busy day and were all very helpful with not only gardening tasks but helping to accommodate and assist volunteers. Cheryl worked on tidying in the entrance garden and helped haul plenty of debris generated by our volunteers in that same area. Larry checked water features, push mowed, watered and did a lot of string trimming around the gardens today. Big John repaired some path areas, removed two small, dead trees, went on a trip to pick up plants, watered and push mowed among other duties. Janice helped orchestrate the morning volunteers, planted in the Thomas Jefferson Collection, matched labels to "outgoing" plants and watered. I tried to keep up with all of the activity mentioned above and probably added a couple more strands of grey hair today. It's for a good cause though!My goal has always been to keep our volunteers active and eliminate any idle time. Below are some plant photos from the gardens this morning.
'Carolina Moonlight' false indigo (Baptisia hybrida)
'Kokumon' tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)
'Shaker's Prayer' Siberian iris (Iris siberica)
Magnolia hybrid (sieboldii x macrophylla)
prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) living up to its namesake!