Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Warm Sunshine

Today, though chilly in the morning, warmed up to about 77 degrees F with plenty of sunshine. It was a great day to be outside as evidenced by Magda in the top picture. She has a very nice border that looks great thru the summer but really hits stride in the fall with plenty of late blooming perennials, annuals and grasses. Magda is a volunteer that is considered an "assigned gardener" as she has her own garden space to maintain. She is one of about thirty or so volunteers that do take care of their own area. Magda, a retired floral shop owner and talented floral artist, has a great eye for combinations and we're fortunate to have her skill. The picture directly above is the leaf of the annual hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella 'Maple Sugar') which offers some deep maroon coloration and a bold texture.

We had some recent, generous donations that will allow us to purchase spring bulbs for planting yet this fall. To the right are the bulbs that are left over from our fall sale. The good news is that they are still for sale and were transferred (by Big John) to the gift shop at the Parker Education Center and will be on sale for the next 6 weeks or so. We plant bulbs well in to November and my talk on Bulbs (October 26, 6 pm - 8 pm) should cover the wide range of options available for our climate. Many visitors still remember our Tulip Time display from 2000 and 2001 where we displayed over 500 varieties of tulips in clusters of 50 bulbs per variety. That was an awesome display although quite costly. To the left is the start of some fall color on the fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium') in the fern & moss garden. We have three specimens of this maple and they always look dynamite for fall coloration. Many maples (Acer sp.) around town are starting to show color, particularly the red maples (Acer rubrum) and Freeman maples (Acer x freemanii) which are the cross between red maples and silver maples (Acer saccharinium). Aside from Magda out in the gardens, Dr. Gredler was here to mow and Tony F. was out in the gardens as well. Joanne A. was in her garden area weeding and we had a couple visitors as well. It's amazing how many people stop by after the plant sale to see if we're still selling plants (from the Horticulture Center) and what sort of a deal they can get! Nice shot to the right of a lantern in the Japanese garden with the new waterfall in the distance.
Directly above are more Autumn crocuses (Colchicum autumnale) coming up in the Japanese garden amongst the American ginger (Asarum canadense) plants. These bulbs are really starting to attract attention, particularly when that pink combines with the orange of marigolds (Tagetes) as seen to the right! That is definitely colorful and a warm combination for late in the year.

The grounds staff kept busy today with all sorts of projects going on throughout the day. Larry continued repairs on damaged irrigation in the Japanese garden and later moved on to watering and some tree pruning. Big John worked on hauling bulbs over to the gift shop, collecting leaves, rototilling and organizing the remainder of the plants that we still need to install (this is always a daunting task!). Janice worked on more tidying up in the sunken garden, reception garden, ornamental edible area and other select spots. She also watered the yard and continued her work putting out our new labels. I had multiple meetings and finished preparations for my talk tonight (Late-Blooming Perennials) at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI). I hope to get up there earlier and take some time enjoying (and photographing) the garden as I haven't visited since June. Time sure flies but I rarely miss the opportunity to visit other gardens for ideas and inspiration. To the left is one of our many Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum) varieties in the fern & moss garden. This is 'Samurai Sword' and while I don't notice much coloration difference from other painted ferns, this variety has sure been tough and vigorous. To the right is the southern entrance structure for the Japanese garden that includes a nice circular opening for a view to the pond.

We're actively and avidly promoting our Fall Symposium called Plant Appreciation that will occur on Saturday, November 5th. Our speakers include Roy Klehm (Song Sparrow and Beaver Creek Nursery), Jim Nau (Ball Seed Co.), Richard Hawke (Chicago Botanic Garden) and Dr. Laura Jull (UW-Horticulture Dept.). See www.rotarybotanicalgardens for more information and/or to download and print the registration form. I'm sure this symposium will be sold out just like our spring event. Directly below is the underside of the giant castor bean (Ricinus communis 'Zanzibariensis') leaf. This leaf is almost 4' across and our specimens this year are well over 12' tall. Very tropical look!

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