The Skies Open

The day started overcast and based on the doppler radar, we knew our time out in the gardens was limited with incoming storms!  Everyone hustled out there and quite a bit was accomplished before the rains started around 10 am.  It then rained for about three hours with a break in the afternoon and rain resuming later in the day.  Regardless, we still had a great crew come in and many of them ended up quite saturated this morning.  The photo above shows one of our Ticket Booklets for the Home Garden Tour which is coming up in exactly one month on July 11th (9 am – 3 pm).  The cover art was donated by the talented Connie Glowacki and shows the lannon stone wall leading down in to the sunken garden at RBG.  She is such a great artist.  Thanks to all our sponsors of this fundraising event and we hope you’ll purchase tickets soon at K&W Greenery or RBG.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the event (also sold at the homes).  The photo below shows the program for a very exciting educational opportunity coming up on September 1st at the gardens.  This Green Industry Field Day (our first) is being held in conjunction with UW-Extension and the University of Illinois Extension.  We hope to attract green industry professionals, master gardeners and any others interested in some horticultural updates, tours and presentations.  Check out our website at to download information on this event or online registration can begin at

With the rains arriving around 10 am, our volunteers had a busy morning and some headed back out in to the drizzle to finish their tasks.  What a dedicated bunch!  Above are Lloyd (left) and Ron R. unloading cocoa bean hull mulch for use in the rose garden.  The guys did a nice job mulching as did Bob and Gary below (Bob driving) in the North point garden.  All four of these guys also helped put up a tent for the Botanical Blues on the Terrace event tonight (5 pm – 7 pm, $10, drink ticket and light appetizers).  The event will happen inside even if it’s raining so come on down!  The second photo down shows a “meeting of the minds” with (from left to right), Dave, Jim, Ron and Vern.  Our carpenters were mobile today dealing with some issues out in the gardens.  Bob K was also in to help and Alan was out air edging in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children’s Garden.  Rich came in to help the guys and Maury ran some errands.  Dick H. made multiple runs to the dump.  The third photo down shows Eva (left) and Kathy weeding an area that will be planted very soon.  Shirley H. was out tackling weeds in the entrance garden.  The fourth photo down shows Marilyn (left) and Susie, who along with Bonnie (fifth photo down), did a nice job planting before the rains arrived.  Vicky was out tidying in the sunken garden and both Dr. Gredler and Rollie were out mowing briefly.  Gary came in to produce signs and Pat M. had some indoor projects.  We also saw Dr. Yahr, Urban, Bill O. and many others today.

Janice (above) worked mostly in the Thomas Jefferson Collection this morning and has it mostly squared away.  She ended up quite drenched as she was on a mission to finish planting out there.  This collection is back by popular demand as it was so very popular last year and is already generating some “buzz” for this year.  Big John worked on push mowing and various other tasks before the rains arrived.  He also went mobile to pick up and drop off various items and supplies.  I was able to take out a good sized load of plants but ended up catching up on the six weeks of desk work that has stacked up on my desk during this busy planting time!  Below are a couple photos from yesterday and today out in the gardens.

 ‘Golden Eclipse’ Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata)
variegated fiveleaf aralia (Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’) – woody shrub
 the last ‘Bartzella’ peony bloom (Paeonia)
 ‘Pink Dawn’ beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) – perennial
‘Purple Fountain’ weeping European beech (Fagus sylvatica)