Monday, November 7, 2011

A Nice November Day

Today was just perfect weather with some sun and some clouds but a nice warm up in to the upper 50 degrees F. This was a nice day for lots of garden work and set-up duties for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS). We had lots of volunteers as usual on a Monday morning and almost the entire grounds staff was here too (Pat as a volunteer). At the top is some of the glossy fruits on our 'Red Peacock' crabapple (Malus sp.) that has always put on a nice fruiting display. Birds seem to go after these berries once January comes around. At the Saturday, Plant Appreciation symposium, Dr. Laura Jull spoke on winter interest with woody plants and mentioned the impact of the showier crabapples that have a reliable fruit set that persists on the tree before the birds come after it. Dr. Jull also featured one of my favorite conifers which can also be seen to the right. This is the 'Blue Cloak' concolor fir (Abies concolor) near our alpine garden which is one of two specimens that we have of this showy variety at RBG. Tired of blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca')? Try a concolor fir (Abies concolor). Directly above is another shot of our photogenic entrance in to the Japanese garden. The 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) to the right gets an even brighter red fall color that is really quite showy. Not far from this location, I ran across Tina B., one of our volunteer photographers, taking late season pictures of plants and people. She did such a stellar job last year of photographing our iris collection, she's thankfully continued to help and photographed the marigold (Tagetes) collection this year too.

Grumpy projects included bulb planting supervised by Big John. To the left are Dick P. (left) and Gary (right) planting a clump of tulips (Tulipa) in the beds around the new North Point arbor (see photo below). The guys made quick work of the 1,000 tulips planted in those beds this morning (50 groupings of 20 bulbs each). Dave, Bob C. and Dick H. also helped plant bulbs which included another 800 or so miscellaneous bulbs planted along the new North Point border across the road from their morning planting. Dick P. later helped Tom C. troubleshoot all sorts of power issues we were having with our lights show. Maury returned our rental screen for the symposium to Madison and ran out for supplies. Dennis and Larry worked on collecting leaves and Dennis was later helped by Jenny, our lone Grumpette today. Pat skimmed the fourth, and last, rose crescent bed of the older cocoa bean hull mulch. Pat took care of all four sections himself, over the past week, which is remarkable. Urban was on a ladder all morning pruning suckers off of crabapples (Malus sp.). Ron W. and Dick K. spent the morning hauling back benches to the Horticulture Center (see second picture below). We bring all of them back for safekeeping, repairs and possible re-staining this winter. The guys have developed a good system for keeping track of where benches should be returned when spring comes around. I believe the guys haul back almost 40 benches this time of year. Dave, Bob A., Vern and Jim were in to finish working on some carpentry projects which included the all-accessible planting table seen three photos down. Those inserts will contain the plantings which are easily reached from the curved, inset edge. Great job guys. Rollie did a nice job with another round of mowing and we saw Bill O. in the afternoon (he collected leaves/debris). We also saw Kelli, Mary W., Chuck S. and many others at the Horticulture Center today. To the right is the showy, Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) which not only has nice, upright form and flowers, but also starts getting a golden-orange fall color (picture here in the parking lot islands).

The grounds staff kept busy today and most of us were involved with HLS preparations. After supervising the morning bulb planting crew, Big John worked out in the parking lot islands of the visitors center. He removed signs from trees that will be shortly removed as part of a rennovation project and cut back perennials and collected debris from that same area. Larry helped me run cords in many different areas but he also found time to plant some bulbs and continue with some other duties. I've normally run every cord in the past but we have so many veterans of this event, I had Marv, Terry, Marianne and Larry all running cords to areas that are ready for some "juice." This was a huge help and became even more vital once we learned that we may lose the next two days of HLS preparations to some cold and persistent rain. To the right is the clear golden fall color of the White Tigress hybrid maple (Acer tegmentosum x davidii) which I also featured recently for it's white striped, ornamental bark. To the left is the "hard to compete with" fall color of the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua). I like this fall color stage when you can see maroon and red on the exterior but all manner of yellows and oranges on the interior of the canopy. Cool.


Marianne finished up her final luminaries, did some garden clean-up and helped wire up displays (run cords) in the reception and sunken gardens today. Marv and Terry ran cords, pounded in more tree stakes, installed more displays and started installing their C9 candle displays to help guide traffic. The guys have almost all the displays secured out in the gardens and are positioned to help with the last touch up phases of the set-up next week. Janice worked on some of the last obelisk displays and we'll see her for more tasks tomorrow. With the exception of some minor deskwork and some small distractions, I was able to place cords for most of the day out in the gardens. I really feel good about how far along we are and I don't think we're that far away from one of those brutal weather days that REALLY makes us appreciate the early start. To the right are some Italicof our golden weeping willows (Salix alba 'Tristis') along the shoreline that really glow this time of year (and in spring). Directly below is a foliage close-up of 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) which was quite striking in the distance (and up close) with that yellow obelisk in the background. At the bottom is some neat fall foliage of the European cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum opulus) which can be quite variable. The golden edges on the reddening leaves caught my eye today.

1 comment:

thomas peter said...

My Japanese Maple Bloodgood is always appreciated at this time of year it keeps it's leaves for a week or two after all the native trees have shed theirs. Online Nursery