Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let It Snow

We saw some big snowflakes come down this afternoon after observing the combination of drizzle, rain and sleet all morning. At the top is some of the snow accumulating in the grass for a short period of time (no need for shovels...yet). Directly above is Bill (left, with green jacket) coming in to the Horticulture Center. We were watching the radar to see if/when we could target a "dry period" and found that window to be between 10 am and 12 noon. With a steady rain this morning, Big John, Marv, Terry and Marianne worked on indoor projects which included more lights processing, display assembly, bringing down more Holiday Lights Show (HLS) decorations (interior) from storage and tidying up the Horticulture Center. It was the perfect day to catch up on indoor work and organize a good portion of our work space and storage area. We even had an early visit from Santa (to the right)! He was casual today with jeans, no hat, no elves and no reindeer. To the left is a little clay pot of turf prepared by Janice for Dr. Gredler yesterday. With the mowing season almost over, we thought he might miss his turf and Janice gave this to him with the rake (seen in the pot) and a small pair of scissors for trimming! Doc has been such a huge asset for the gardens with all the time he spends volunteering here. This will be our last week for mowing and we'll then get our snowblowers ready to roll for the HLS. I would estimate that we're about 80% set-up for the HLS but will still have to run cords to all the displays, dangling icicles, etc. Our entire process has been streamlined and coupled with an early start to set-up, we should be done by the end of next week. We should still have time to test and tweak as needed. We've had some nice power upgrades out in the gardens and one of our volunteers is an electrician (Tom C.) that has been a huge help with our troubleshooting efforts. To the right are just some of the lights (C9s) that have yet to be used but we'll have no shortage of places to put up the remainder of our lights and displays. The trick each year is making the gardens look different than previous events with new color themes, shifted displays, etc. Before the sleet and snow hit the gardens, I was able to see some very nice, late season, fall colors out in the gardens. The leaves below had fallen off the Golden Raindrops crabapple (Malus transitoria 'Schmidtcutleaf') near the arboretum. What a nice combination of yellow, golds and fire reds. I was trying to take pictures of the leaves still on the tree but the wind was blowing sideways so I settled for a decent ground level shot! Aside from our indoor work, we were able to get out in the gardens for a brief period of time.
Marianne went out to work on some lights troubleshooting and then moved on to collecting more debris. We have done about 2/3 of our fall clean-up (collecting leaves, cutting back perennials, etc.) and should finish the remainder by the end of the month. We should have volunteers over the next two weeks to help with the rest of these fall efforts. We still have the remainder of our bulbs to plant too (probably tomorrow)! Marv and Terry set up a huge wreath (with lights) on the southeast corner of our property which should look great along Palmer Drive. We put little "teaser displays" along the road that we occasionally leave on during the evenings in December to entice people to come back to see the HLS. The guys also set up our first batch of deer cutouts (courtesy of Del) down in the sunken garden. We'll scatter more deer around the route of the HLS later this week. Big John also did some clean-up, collected a sign for me out in the gardens and did some other odds and ends. I was able to run about 1,000 ft. of cords but the sleet drove me inside before the blizzard hit. The image to the upper right is the cutout that will be used for the 2012 art project. These oak leaves (40+) will be painted/decorated by area artists and displayed out in the gardens. This is the same program that saw both butterflies (2011) and daisies (2010) out in the gardens too. This is a fun program and we've all been amazed by the quality of these art pieces as they are returned, mounted and enjoyed by garden visitors too. So, it's oak leaves for 2012! To the left is the golden fall color of the hedge maple (Acer campestre) that has some dark highlights along the primary veins of the leaf. To the lower right is the peak fall color of our dwarf Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum') near the gazebo garden. The fall color seen here is only rivaled by the fragrant pink flower clusters in early spring. Below is another cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum opulus or trilobum?) although I'm not sure which one this is as they look so similar. The combination of yellow foliage with showy red fruits is a nice look though. At the bottom is one of our weeping larches (Larix eurolepis 'Varied Directions', also called Larix decidua...) turning golden before needle drop. I love the form of this specimen that is an eye catcher from Palmer Drive, even at 35 mph (actual speed limit is 25 but that is rarely followed).

No comments: