Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Clean Up (and Set-Up) Continues

We had a busy morning with volunteers and staff around the gardens. The weather was chilly but the day turned out decent although it was fairly overcast much of the time. The top picture shows Larry (left) and Dennis (right) who hauled and spread woodchip mulch all morning. I had a pretty extensive "Grumpy List" out this morning and the guys made it thru a good portion of the list by lunch time. The image directly above is the bronze fall color of the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) which is a deciduous conifer with an interesting history ( of discovery and later distribution around the world. We have five of these trees in various locations and I always enjoy this "bronzing effect" in fall before the needles fall off. To the right is the interesting fall color on the foliage of the 'Golden Zebra' foamy bells (Heucherella) in the woodland walk. Keep a watchful eye on your perennials in fall as many do contribute fall color late in the season.

To the left are Gary (left) and Dave (right) securing snow fencing this morning as a deer barrier around our arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) hedges in the sunken garden. This will be the fourth year in a row that we've resorted to these physical barriers in the attempt to thwart significant browsing from an increasing deer population in our greenbelt. Big John, Ron and Dick H. were spotting and pounding in stakes for Dave and Gary to use for securing the fence. The work went very well and this process has been streamlined over the years. We'll finish the remainder of these protection initiatives on Thursday and probably next Monday as well. While Dennis and Larry worked on woodchip mulching around the west end of the gardens, Pat cleared out mums around the North Point arbor structure to make room for incoming bulbs (1,000 'Blushing Lady' tulips) later in the week. Dick P., Maury and Tom C. worked on some electrical projects at the main building while Rollie was out mowing in the arboretum (see photo directly below). Urban was out pruning crabapples (Malus sp.) and continuing the work that Little Jerry started last week. Del continued working on his reindeer cuttouts and the carpenters (Dave, Jim, Bob A. and Vern) built a new "riser" for the Parker Education Center and were involved with a meeting (also including Kelli, Amanda, Bev D., Deb G. and me) to discuss options for the art project out in the garden (i.e. the butterflies from this year) next year. We have some great ideas and will explore them further. We also saw Mary W., Laura B., Kelli and others today. Above and to the right are the cool seed heads of the Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) which even rattle in the breeze and look great in dried arrangements.Directly above is a visual update on the kale (Brassica) still looking showy out in the gardens. While I was able to run some cords this morning, I spent a good amount of time with preparations for the upcoming symposium this Saturday. I'll keep pecking away at running cords though as we have a tight timeline with set-up and testing being completed in the next three weeks. Larry continued setting up arches for the lights show which will be decorated with lights tomorrow. He'll also start setting up what we call the "Olsen Pavilion" in the reception garden which involves lots of stakes, ropes, lights, etc. Big John worked on pounding plenty of stakes for the deer fencing, hauled our Adirondack chairs back to the yard and did some gardening tasks as well. John was also in this past Saturday with a list of tasks which included hopefully our last use of the push mower out in the gardens. Marianne worked on lights, sorted bulbs for planting, worked on garden tidying and continued placing luminaries out in the gardens for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS). Marv and Terry continued honing their decoration skills as they ran more displays out for placement, secured decorated obelisks and continued putting lights on various shrubs and hedges. We've had such wonderful teamwork for not only fall clean-up efforts but also the monumental task of getting the HLS up and ready to go. The "behind-the-scenes" work is quite extensive.

Despite the light frosts, the roses are still blooming nicely. To the above right is the Double Pink Knockout rose (Rosa 'Rakdtkopink') looking great as are many others. The majority of our rose collection are shrub roses and we appreciate how low-maintenance many of them truly are for us. To the left is the upright bloom of the 'Wichita Mountains' goldenrod (Solidago sp.). This variety is quite late blooming and is striking with narrow "columns of bloom." To the lower right is just some of my handiwork as I get out there and get the power "web" in place. I'll have to get pretty serious about this task this week and keep plugging along (pun intended). Directly below is the maroon/red fall color of the paperbark maple (Acer griseum) and at the bottom, another shot (from underneath) of the fall color of the three-flower maple (Acer triflorum).

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