Saturday, October 18, 2014

Final Volunteer Work Day

Our last volunteer work day of the season was very successful today.  With Lily above leading the charge, we were able to plant 3,000 tulips (Tulipa) in the front entrance garden.  We had a lot of great help which included Lily, Sue, Bob D., Bev D., Tom F., Brian, Jason, Big John, Gary S., Fran, Dr. Steve B., Talen, Bill O. and Larry O.  We were not only able to plant all those bulbs but removed most of the remaining annuals from the entrance garden (led by Big John and Tom (seen directly below)).  Our Compost Clearance Sale went well as we sold another 200 bags or so.  Thanks to Joy for running the register and both Russ and Stan (eighth photo down) helping as loaders.  We also saw Maury, Dr. Yahr and many others today.  It was a great day and Lily made us all feel younger (or maybe older..).  See her at the bottom next to 'Princess' elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Peak October Color

I think fall color is at peak out in the gardens after touring today.  The maples are outstanding right now.  Above is the Korean maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum) looking nice near the arboretum.  The gardens have a wide range of reds, oranges and yellows right now and visitors this weekend will certainly get a treat.  We had a busy day out in the gardens but the weather was perfect with overcast skies and a high in the mid 50 degrees F.  Great gardening weather was appreciated by both volunteers and staff.  We had many volunteers this morning and a productive grounds crew.  After one last wedding this afternoon in the rose garden, the outdoor wedding season comes to a close and we can really turn our attention to getting set up for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  The premiere lighting of this event is a component of the November 22nd Taste of Chocolate event which is currently open for ticket sales.  See our website soon as this is traditionally an event that sells out very quickly.  Below are some additional photos from my walking tour of the gardens this morning.

 color coordination seen above in the North point garden with yellow Adirondack chairs overlooking the fall color of the willow-leaf bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) - perennial
 red maple (Acer rubrum) looking sharp - woody tree
 shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is looking like pure gold right now - woody tree
sumac (Rhus sp.) looking spectacular - woody thicket

The volunteers kept busy today with lots of garden tidying.  Above (left to right) are Kathy, Terri and Eva.  These ladies did a great job continuing to purge the reception garden of spent annuals.  We're clearing spaces like this in advance of HLS preparations and the ladies shifted to the sunken garden later where John and Dawn were working (next photo down).  Ron K. (second photo down) did a great job continuing to collect and haul off debris from the woodland walk garden.  He's a heck of a worker and as reliable as they come.  Shirley and Kay (third and fourth photos down respectively) did a super job purging annuals and cutting back perennials in the shade garden and larch area.  These veteran volunteers were productive as usual which is no surprise.  Tom F. (fifth photo down) continued purging the last of the Jungle Garden (will be back in 2015!) and had other projects to attend to as well.  Cookie and Resa were in this afternoon to begin purging annuals out of the North point garden.  Dr. Gredler came in for his mowing duties and we also saw Marv B., Dr. Yahr, Jris K.,Tom J. and many others today.

The grounds crew had a very busy day.  Cindy spent time continuing the arduous task of purging annuals and cutting back perennials in the "Pollinator's Paradise" garden and also did the cutting display and some greenhouse watering.  Pat continued his efforts on preparing lights and displays for the looming HLS.  Pat will also be in charge of getting the two 20' tall obelisks (aka..the "Towers of Power") moved and decorated with lights.  Big John and Terry had some gardening tasks including push mowing but then shifted to more HLS set-up in various garden locations.  I'm working on the 2015 budget and finalizing some tasks related to past and upcoming events. Below are some additional images from today.

 'Double White Shades' pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) - annual
 start of fall coloration on dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) - deciduous conifer
 'Ozawa' ornamental onion (Allium thunbergii) just starting to bloom - perennial
 fall color of the fragrant abelia (Abelia mosanensis) - woody shrub (fragrant spring blooms)
speckled fall color of 'Autumn Moon' fullmoon maple (Acer shirasawanum) - woody tree
 clear yellow fall color of tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) - woody tree
nice Japanese garden shot this morning

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Super Fall Color

The fall color is at peak for many of our woody trees and shrubs.  The 'Green Cascade' fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum) seen above and directly below has turned this wonderful shade of crimson orange.  This is certainly quite eye catching in the Japanese garden.  Fall color on average is quite good this year but seems oddly spaced out in terms of timing.  It's tough to explain what I mean by that but we've had some weird weather patterns over the last couple of seasons and I've given up trying to predict if we'll have great fall color each year.  We'll just enjoy whatever we receive!  Some other examples of fall color can be seen further below...

'Green Cascade' fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum) - woody tree
 'Green Column' black maple (Acer saccharum subsp. nigrum) - woody tree
 three-flower maple (Acer triflorum) getting more orange by the day - woody tree
 big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is getting some nice fall color in our prairie - perennial
'Emerald Elf' Amur maple (Acer ginnala) - woody tree (sheared)

Despite a skeleton crew of just Janice and I today, we were able to keep a lot of volunteers busy.  Above are Eva (left) and Kathy in the reception garden where they continued to remove annuals from this garden.  Below are Sue (left) and Peg, who along with Bonnie (off camera), created some huge piles of debris in the sunken garden.  Our Grumpy raking crews included Gary B., Alan M., Ron R. and Bob C.  The guys collected lots of leaves off of the paths and helped haul accumulated debris from the reception and sunken gardens.  Del had some indoor work with painting as did Ken.  Betty H. removed more plants from her garden space and Bill O. was in for quite a bit of mowing.  Jim worked on carpentry projects while Pat M. and Ron P. finished up some Holiday Lights Show (HLS) testing tasks.  Pat also had some duties out in the gardens.  Terry came in to move the compost around with the end loader and loaded up debris for Dick H. to haul off to the dump.  Dick was also working on one of the trucks today.  Rollie and Maury made a run for memorial bricks.  We also saw Big John, Larry, Charlotte and many others today.  Further below are more images from this morning.

 flowering kale (Brassica oleracea) - annual
fall color of katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) - woody tree
dead sedges (Carex) with painted culvert pipe planters

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three-Peat Victory

We received exciting news yesterday that we won 1st Place in the Landscape Design Contest hosted by All-America Selections (AAS).  This is the third year in a row that we've won first place and were honored by the announcement. We were excited to again participate in promoting the use of AAS winning plants (which is easy to do!).  We have been a Display Garden for AAS for many years and have enjoyed creating these novel displays.  Winning first place in this competition (did I mention three years in a row?) results in some wonderful marketing for our small garden and we hope it brings future visitors, supporters, volunteers and donors!  All of the photos in the blog today are from the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden which utilized over 90 varieties of AAS Winners for this 2014 display.  Note the use of re-purposed containers of different heights (and painted different colors).  Kudos to the grounds staff and volunteers that all helped with planting, weeding, watering and primping this space.  Special thanks to Cindy B. who, as a grounds person, adopted this space and kept it primped all season long.

It was another cloudy, misty day.  Pat, Cindy, Cheryl, Terry and John bounced between gardening and Holiday Lights Show (HLS) tasks and came in and out depending on the severity of rain.  Volunteers this morning included Tom F., Kay, Kathy and Eva who all had plenty of gardening tasks to accomplish including the significant removal of more spent annuals. 

re-purposed plastic containers became increasingly colorful with plants!
Lily was one of many volunteers that helped plant this garden in May

'Summer Jewel Red' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) in an elevated container - annual (hummingbirds loved it!)

'Magellan Coral' zinnia (Zinnia elegans) in repurposed container - annual
 Cindy (above) spent lots of time in this garden!
photo from a bucket truck where I fought my fear of heights!