Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still Some Green Out There! (UGH)

Today was just beautiful with sunshine and temperatures in the low 40 degrees F. There wasn't as much wind so it was quite comfortable. While I've been working on desk work the past couple of weeks, I was able to get out in the gardens for an hour or so with Luis (below right) to review the last of his woody plant inventory. We looked at the woody plants around the Horticulture Center, prairie and along the north path. He's done a superb job and my next task is to go over all the spreadsheets and make sure the data is ready for our label entry process. I had my camera with me as usual and did catch some greenery (see above). Unfortunately, this is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) which stays green late and will be one of the first green plants noticeable in March (which also accomodates early detection/eradication efforts). Although it's getting a bit chilly for herbicide applications, these plants can still be dug and removed (get that root!). However, don't consider that space clear of garlic mustard as your digging will stir up the hundreds of seeds already in the soil from previous dispersal and you'll need to target the first year "sprouts" next spring too. Be vigilant. To the upper left is the colorful but aggressive Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) vine which has already dropped seed. Below are some of our tulip displays for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) positioned near the arched bridge. This grouping looks great from across the water. We also have daffodils and other flowers down in the sunken garden. Further below are just some of our sand buckets ready for path applications as needed for the HLS. During snowy Decembers, we have to be on top of snow removal and making paths safe and ice free. I was the only grounds staff member here today but Pat came in to continue work on securing burlap around our delicious yews (Taxus sp.) out in the formal gardens. We still have some wrapping to do but should finish that by next week. Our heaviest deer browsing month is typically February but we'll get our protection efforts in order shortly as we already see evidence of deer intrusions. Maury and Dick H. came in to go pick up larger table tops for our Taste of Chocolate event this Friday. This event is sold out (200 attendees) and should be another success. I'll be around that evening to fire up the HLS for the premiere lighting after dessert. Cora and Barb T. were over to spray paint some interior, HLS decorations for the Parker Education Center although maybe they are for the Taste of Chocolate now that I think about it. Possibly double usage?

We also saw Art and Jumbo Jim at the Horticulture Center today. To the right is the late fall color of the leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) which is just starting to turn this nice maroon. Below are the fallen leaves of the 'Saratoga' ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) which has a distinctively different shaped leaf than other ginkgo varieties with a longer leaf that is frequently indented quite dramatically. This variety did not have the clear yellow fall color though... More desk work tomorrow although I'm making progress in regards to many of our 2012 themes and projects.

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