Today included lots of plantings by volunteers. Don and Thelma worked on planting their area with seasonals and I had Kay and Heidi clearing another area for planting later this week. Elaine, Leslie, Dr. Yahr and Vern all worked at planting other areas I had laid out. Marianne continues to sort our annual vinca collection for planting next week and Jenny has been awesome about keeping up with labeling. I think we finally streamlined our process for getting metal labels out to our seasonals shortly after planting. In past years, we've been very retroactive in getting labels out and sometimes don't even get to it. Up above is a beautiful new blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata 'Amber Wheels') that has frilly yellow petals and a dark, amber-red center. This blanket flower reaches over 30" tall and continues to bloom thru the summer.
Today was tangential because I had various meetings and other duties that took me out of the gardens. These other activities were essential but it's tough to walk away (for even a short time) from all the work that still has to be done. One of the meetings involved planning for our 20th Anniversary next year and deciding on what we'll be doing to celebrate and promote the gardens. Lots of good ideas came out of that meeting.
I caught a nice image of the foliage of the tricolor beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Roseo-marginata') that has such a vivid maroon leaf with very conspicuous pink margins. Drawbacks are that they are fairly expensive and slow growing but what a wonderful tree for foliage. I've seen three large (40' tall) specimens of this including one at Great America, north of Chicago. This theme park has one near their white water rafting ride (the loading area to get in the raft). It is quite impressive. Our specimen is about 12' tall but beautiful. I'll be six foot under when this finally fills out but I hope our progeny enjoys it. Spot them in an area where they receive afternoon shade so the leaf margins don't burn. We also protect this specimen from winter winds. Truly one of a kind for a woody plant. See our Japanese garden waterfall below.