Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tribute To Orange

It was a grey day outside with some very light drizzle to start the morning. Overall though, it was good working weather to be outside and everyone worked on a combination of lights and some gardening. I put down my first cords today and found that I haven't lost the advanced skill of unwinding and stretching out cords! As I was out in the gardens, I was amazed at all the extended color, particularly with the "oranges." I think the fact that we haven't had a hard frost is one of the factors but regardless, I was glad I had my camera with me to catch some nice plant shots and images of our staff in action. The top picture is the "orange stage" for the fall color of the fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium') in the Japanese garden. This brilliant orange will soon go to a brilliant red. The four specimens that we have spaced throughout that garden are in various stages of fall color depending on the sunlight they're receiving. Note the bottom picture in this blog as that bright red tree is the peak fall color for this maple (same as the one at the top). The second image down shows the fall color of the three-flower maple (Acer triflorum) which ends up "coloring up" quite nicely although the degree of orange fall color is quite variable each year but usually quite nice. The keys above are Kay's and the brick "key chain" is so she doesn't lose her keys...(courtesy of Big John). To the above right is the fall color of the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) near the arched bridge. These needles will fall off shortly (deciduous conifer). To the left is the "fire orange" fall color of the 'Green Cascade' fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum), also in the Japanese Garden.

Kay was in to continue her clean-up efforts in the shade garden and did a very thorough job. We'll see her Friday and she'll continue gardening in that garden space. Little Jerry (image directly below) was in to prune some crabapples (Malus sp.) in the North American garden which is an annual task as they tend to sprout up plenty of suckers each year. It was nice to have Little Jerry back in action. Pat was also in to continue filling luminaries for use out in the Holiday Lights Show. He also peeled and processed many of our annual labels from this year that were brought in after the plants were removed and composted. We also saw Maury, Dick P. and others today. Our irrigation guy, Ray, was in to look at some problems we're having with our water system. To rhe right is the brilliant fall color of the Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) in the Japanese garden. I hope this specimen thrives as it is in a protected spot (marginal hardiness). The great fall color is always expected but as this specimen ages, the "camellia-like", white blooms will be interesting (ours has not bloomed yet) and the bark is extremely ornamental with age on this species.Above are Marv (left) and Terry (right) hoisting our huge wreath display in to place. The guys spent most of the day on the HLS and have hauled out many displays and secured them in place. I could have helped them with this 200 lb. display but opted to just take a picture and shout encouragement. The guys also worked on some brief turf repair and will have no shortage of lights or displays to put up over the coming weeks. Marianne and John bonded today and started with lights preparations and then worked together on decorating the "slanted pyramids" (see to right) on the entrance garden slope. We were able to purchase quite a few more LED twinkle lights for the event this year and not only do they look great, but their power draw is so minimal that they will lend themselves perfectly to our "trouble areas" for power. Marianne moved on after lunch to clearing plants and cutting back perennials in the English cottage garden. We're clearing all garden areas at this point as most will have lights displays and need to be ready. Big John moved on to planting shrubs in and around the Japanese garden. He planted yews (Taxus sp.) and variegated dogwoods (Cornus sp.). After running cords in the morning, I worked on desk work and ran handouts for my Bulbs lecture this evening (6-8 pm, come enjoy the program!). To the left is the "bronze-orange" fall color of the shingle oak (Quercus imbricaria). I think this specimen (near the zig-zag bridge) has its best fall color this year and is quite prominent from a distance. Note the "un-oaklike" leaves. These leaves will turn brown and stay on the tree thru winter until new growth pushes them off. To the right is the orange fall color of the Korean maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum) in the arboretum. This orange will also go to a nice deep red over the next week or so. The transition of color is always exciting to observe and this species has later fall color which frequently peaks in November.

Over the coming weeks, we'll continue our clean-up around the gardens and will remove the last of our annuals and container plantings. The color in the reception garden (directly below) is one of our last beacons of seasonal color (picture from today). We'll remove those plants soon but didn't have the heart to do it quite yet. At the bottom is a nice shot of the Ma' Chii structure in the fern & moss garden with that fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium') at peak fall color.

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