Today was the first of our four plant sale clearance opportunities. The weekend sale went quite well (September 9-11) but we still have quite a few plants left that need homes. The clearance sale is currently 15% off everything and we'll have the sale thru this Wednesday and will have our final clearance opportunity on Saturday morning (September 17th) from 8 am until noon. We've had some traffic in the sale but hope to see more patrons soon! The photo at the top is of Jenny (left), our new Grumpette, working with Janice (right) in the fern & moss garden. Directly above is the gigantic leaf of the 'Zanzibariensis' castor bean (Ricinus communis). Some of the leaves on this tropical plant (annual) are over 3' wide! I like this variety as it gets quite large and doesn't typically form seeds, which are extremely poisonous. We have grown other castor bean varieties for maroon leaves or interesting seed capsules and they all have a bold contribution in the garden. To the right is a bloom stalk of the 'Autumn Bride' alum root (Heuchera villosa). This perennial coral bell has nice leathery green leaves but comes in to its own with these creamy wands in late summer. To the left is 'China Town' celosia (Celosia plumosa) blooming in front of 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) which is a great, upright perennial grass.
We had another nice volunteer turnout today. Shirley, Joanne, Alice and Judy helped Marianne in the plant sale and Mary Q., Mary W. and Dennis all helped water the sale earlier. Mary Q. then went out to weed and Dennis moved on to Grumpy work which included a lot of brush removal with Alfredo. Jenny was in to work with Janice and we had a good group of Grumpies that worked on a wide range of activities that included, but was not limited to, composting, hauling mums, watering, path clean-up, brick installation, gate repair, brush removal, gravel replacement, wagon hauling and many other tasks. I saw Dennis, Alfredo, Del, Ron W., Ron B., Rollie, Gary, Dick P., Dick H., Jim, Bob A., Dr. Gredler, Bob C., Dick C., Bill S. and others. Geesje brought in some goodies too. To the right is the start of some rock edging that Nature's Touch is installing near the North Point garden. We continue to refine our bed areas and this edging will run a good 100' or so to create a nice separation between the North Point, alpine and rose garden. Directly below are Dennis (left) and Alfredo (right) hauling one of many brush loads this morning. Further below is the fragrant chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata) in the Smelly Garden. This one really does smell like chocolate but as is typical of so many fragrant blooms, has a stronger scent at dusk. The Smelly Garden was a HUGE hit and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year (totally different look though....). Directly above is a neat sandwort (Arenaria sp.) called 'Wallowa Mountains' that is forming an interesting, moss-like mat in our alpine garden. This non-flowering form really does catch the eye. Incidentally, the Wallowa Mountains are in the Columbia plateau of Northeast Oregon (there's your trivia for the day). This 6 square foot patch of sandwort started as three little plugs over 10 years ago and I like the mat-like appearance that has developed around that rock. Nice shot to the right of our 'Dancing Waters' fountain which continues to be a nice focal point from the formal gardens and the North Point garden. This fountain is over 15 years old and still going strong. The picture to the left of the Adirondack chairs in the North Point garden shows one of the few times we don't have visitors sitting there!
The grounds staff had another spectacular day. Marianne thankfully kept the plant sale moving along with volunteers and will help for the remainder of the sale. Janice tidied up the Japanese garden and fern & moss garden (with Jenny), worked on the cutting display, watered, etc. Larry had a full day of running irrigation and weedwhipping which also included the area along the water near the Smelly Garden. This area had plenty of good stuff but also some annual weeds that would be going to seed soon. Marv and Terry set up lots of sprinklers, loaded up plants for a delivery and did a nice job converting a mediocre bed in to a masterpiece of flowering kale (Brassica). They also converted six containers to new plantings in the reception garden. I dropped off a plant delivery today, helped a bit with the plant sale and am working on some looming presentations (three yet this month!). Although I've shown it before, I took a pretty good shot this morning of the "popcorn plant" seen to the right. This is the tropical Cassia didymobotrya which we have punctuated throughout our blue/yellow theme (for obvious reasons) and we also have many nice specimens in the Smelly Garden as the flowers/buds smell like burnt popcorn when rubbed and sniffed. What an interesting plant and one of the stars of the Smelly Garden this year (and next!). This plant can get 8' tall in our summer although most of ours are currently around 5' tall. Directly below is the fan flower (Scaevola) that is part of our American Garden Award display. This is 'Surdiva Light Blue' and this annual is one of seven that are part of this program which involves voting for your favorite. See www.americangardenaward.com for information on this program, to vote and/or to see the current voting status for all the participating flower entries. At the bottom is a morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) called 'Venice Pink' that can be seen in our pink-themed reception garden this year.