Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Bumper Crop of Volunteers

Today continued the trend of sunny days with temperatures around 60 degrees F.  The breeze was a bit chilly but refreshing.  We had a HUGE turnout of volunteers today and I bet we saw 40 different volunteers throughout the day.  The Grumpy and Grumpette population was impressive but we also had other volunteers helping in lots of different capacities.  Lots of gardening was accomplished as were myriad indoor tasks like painting and carpentry.  With the Spring Plant Sale coming up in a week or so, our duties will shift towards the preparation and facilitation of that event next week.  We'll still have our Pansy/Compost Sale this Saturday (8 am until 12 noon) but will be focusing on our own planting very shortly after the plant sale.  We have been doing some minor planting recently (today included) but will be doing it "in earnest" very shortly.  Color abounds out in the gardens like that of the 'Prinses Irene' (correct spelling!) tulips (Tulipa) seen above.  The 3,000 tulips in front of the Parker Education Center should be at peak in a week or so with a strong representation of orange.

 'Mt. Hood' grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)
 species tulip (Tulipa tarda)
white grape hyacinth (Muscari botryoides 'Album')

What an amazing group of volunteers today.  Where to start!?  I hope I don't miss anyone.  Gary (above) was our painting guru this morning and was later joined by Gena, Myrt and Nancy (9th and 10th photos down) who started on our entrance garden pyramids (conversion from 2014 pink to 2015 red!).  Vern (below) worked on various carpentry projects with Dave, Ron Y. and Bob K.  The second photo down shows Alan (left) and Ron P. loading mulch for their arboretum project which involves weeding/edging all the tree circles and then applying fresh mulch.  The third photo down shows Sandy, Peg, Kathy and Bonnie.  This mulching quartet did a great job in the gazebo garden and Big John was hard pressed to keep up with delivering mulch for them!  Mary Ann G. (fourth photo down) worked in the Thomas Jefferson Collection which she also assisted with in 2014.  The fifth photo down shows Bob C. composting and along with Lloyd, Ron R. (sixth photo down) and Larry H. (not photogenic today), the guys composted some major areas and did a dynamite job.  Rollie (seventh photo down) mowed as did Dr. Gredler.  Doc also worked on some turf repair.  Dick H. hauled loads to the dump and worked on cutting/bending new plant label stakes.  Pat M. (eighth photo down) got his giant obelisk up with some help and is seen here getting it secured.  Hal and Doris (11th photo down) did a nice job in their area and both Joan and Corky were in to work on the front planting bed at the Horticulture Center (weeding and rototilling).  The Chestnut House volunteers (12th photo down) did a great job planting up tropical bulbs and headed out in the gardens for some work as well.  There were twelve helpers in this group and Janice helped get them going on their projects.  We also saw Maury (errands), Cheryl D., Leigh D., Dr. Yahr and many others!

Janice, Larry and Big John all had a wide range duties, many of which included helping get our volunteers efficiently organized and supplied.  The grounds crew also did tidying, planting, fertilizing, watering, mowing and a wide range of activities.  The brevity of my description of grounds staff accomplishments shouldn't minimize the amount of work they accomplished.  I was able to get outside for a bit to mark locations for new trees and shrubs but find the Spring Plant Sale needs at my desk becoming more vital for my attention.  Great day!

 Alan (left) and Ron P.
 Sandy, Peg, Bonnie, Kathy (left to right)
 Mary Ann
 Bob C.
 Lloyd (left) and Ron R.
 Pat M.
 Gena (left) and Nancy (hiding)
Hal (frisky) and Doris
Chestnut House volunteers
 'Goldheart' bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
 'PJM' rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.)
 variegated sweet iris (Iris pallida 'Albo Variegata')
garden hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) are still going strong!
 the daffodils (Narcissus) have extended bloom this Spring!
double-flowering plum (Prunus triloba 'Multiplex') both above and below

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More Color Daily

Today was another nice one although we did have some clouds later in the day.  The 30% chance of precipitation didn't get us too excited although we can sure use the rain.  We ran irrigation all day to start making up for such a deficit in moisture since December!  There was lots of color out in the gardens like that of the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) seen above in the woodland walk garden.  We had a productive grounds crew and some great volunteers in attendance today with a strong focus on gardening.  With the Spring Plant Sale just over one week away (see for details and plant lists), we wont lose focus on the gardens but will have plenty of activity with picking up plants, arranging the sale, pricing, etc.  It will be a busy week.  We'll continue to sell compost and pansies this weekend (8 am - 12 noon) though and look forward to a great plant sale and exciting time to see Spring color out in the gardens.  Below are some additional images from today.

 'King's Ransom' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) has hints of chartreuse in the foliage which ultimately fades by mid-summer
 corn-leaf iris (Iris bucharica) is just finishing up
 early tulips (Tulipa) have started - unknown variety above, 'West Point' below

 serviceberries (Amelanchier sp.) are at peak bloom today
Celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are looking nice and bright

We had a great batch of volunteers today.  Above is Rose who is back in action with painting these windows and doors that will again be featured in the Alphabet Jungle Garden theme this year.  Rose did a great job and Dr. Gredler continued painting some of these after a full morning of mowing and turf repair.  Del was also in to paint and worked on one of the giant Adirondack chairs.  Marv (below) worked his kung fu on the moss garden which is looking quite lush.  He does a great job.  Roy and Mary came in to compost their area in the shade garden while Kathy continued her mulching onslaught in the Woodland Glen garden.  Kay did some planting in her garden space and shifted over to help Kathy with the mulching.  Pat M. was in and we also saw Maury, Dick H., Glenn D. and many others over at the Horticulture Center today.

The grounds staff had another very productive day with plenty of activities and tasks.  Cindy (half day) helped pot up more tropical bulbs with Cheryl then moved out to the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden to continue weeding and spreading compost.  That garden is looking darn nice and the return to the Smelly Garden theme for 2015 will certainly be well-received.  Cheryl, after helping with bulb planting, moved to the rose garden where she tidied up, marked dead roses and continued with plenty of other gardening tasks including watering the yard and greenhouses.  Big John and Terry (above) push mowed, edged, hauled debris, installed chairs and really had a busy day of doing a lot of odd jobs.  I had meetings and continue to prepare for the Spring Plant Sale.  Below is more color as seen today on my stroll through the gardens which are showing more color daily!

bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)
 weeping katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum') foliating
 'Black Diamond' hellebore (Helleborus)
 wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
 fresh foliage of 'Caramel' coral bells (Heuchera)
 'Miranda' variegated climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)
 prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) blooms
bright new growth of 'Sutherland Gold' elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gradual Warming Trend

Today was another beautiful one as seen in the photos both above and below.  I love when the pond (3 acre) is still as reflections are really maximized. The daytime temperatures are creeping up there as are the evening temperatures.  We moved many of our tropicals and tender plants in to the greenhouses today to take advantage of the daytime heat as we're getting less worried about severe frost.  We'll see!  We had an amazing group of volunteers today and the entire grounds staff was here and was extremely productive.

Our volunteers included Nancy (above) who continued painting our giant Adirondack chair and many other items.  Kay (below) did a nice job tidying in three different areas and never had trouble finding weeds to decimate and debris to collect.  Kathy did a nice job continuing her substantial mulching project and Urban was in to size up some pruning for tomorrow.  Stan worked in the Japanese garden and Jumbo Jim stopped by to plan out some work later this week in the gardens.  Dr. Gredler went out for aerating and mowing while Bill O. also did some mowing after accomplishing some turf repair.  Bob K. was a big help with many tasks today. Maury ran errands for us and we also saw John J., Dr. Yahr, Lynn and many others today.

The grounds staff kept busy with myriad tasks.  Larry ran irrigation all day as we are still quite dry after missing the rain on Saturday.  Larry also repaired irrigation problems and helped prepare our water features.  Cindy and Cheryl worked together today on potting up tropicals, shifting plants out to the greenhouses (no small task) and did a super job tidying up in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  Janice worked on Spring Plant Sale preparations, planting, watering, preparing the cutting display and other tasks.  Big John and Terry did a nice job installing obelisks, containers, signs and the guys helped get the wishing well moved successfully in to place (thanks Todd).  I worked on various projects and took advantage of the heat and sun to spray more herbicide in an area that really needed it!  Enjoy the color below (photos all from today).

the serviceberries (Amelanchier sp.) are starting to bloom
brilliant golden new growth of 'Princeton Gold' Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
daffodils (Narcissus) continue to look great
white checkered fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris 'Alba')
checkered fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)
'Pinot Gris' coral bells (Heuchera) with new growth
'Banana Boat' sedge (Carex siderosticha) looking good
barrenwort (Epimedium x rubrum) starting to bloom
emerging foliage of weeping larch (Larix decidua 'Pendula')
'Golden Eclipse' tree lilac (Syringa reticulata)