The image above has nothing to do with the blog topic and very little to do with January for that matter. However, it is one of the neat annual grasses that I'm trying to locate for this spring. This is the variegated purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) called 'Fireworks'. We've grown this neat grass for the past couple of years and I just included an image of this colorful grass in my upcoming presentation on Annuals of Interest. I'll give this talk twice up at the WPT Garden Expo (www.wigardenexpo.com/) coming up in February. Two years ago when we had the maroon/red theme, we used a couple hundred 'Fireworks' fountain grasses and wow!, it sure turned out great. To the left are our ten pvc planters waiting to be painted (three different colors). Envision these secured about 8' above ground (supports on both ends), filled with soil and those open slots planted with various trailing vegetables. Our visitors will be able to walk under all these! Should be fun although we've been debating how heavy these will get and what we have to accomplish to safely secure them out in the gardens. To the right is Nancy continuing work on organizing our reference library and to the left is Janice working on some research projects this morning.
Tonight is the first of our three Volunteer Soup Dinners where we'll get together, talk about 2012 plans and I'll do a short presentation at each of them. Tonight I'll talk about Japanese Gardens with a focus on the recent improvements in our Japanese garden. These have always been fun and this is the second year we've organized these gatherings. We're never sure how many volunteers will attend as the RSVPs come last minute. We've always had a healthy crowd though. This is sure a nice way to keep in touch with our volunteers (the non-"snow birds") and be poised for a busy spring.
Urban and Pat came in to do some pruning out in the gardens while Bill and Larry took the remainder of the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) down from the gardens around the visitors center. They also took the remainder of the lights off the main building. There isn't too much left out there from the HLS which is hard to believe ended just over three weeks ago! Now that's progress. We also saw Maury over here and Luis continued working on woody plant labels. The laser engraver was humming along all morning and I'm sure Luis made another 150+ labels or so. To the right is our John Deere gator that is need of some repairs. We're fortunate to have Dick H. who is taking care of the repairs. It's hard to establish a value on "saved labor costs" from our volunteers like Dick H., the carpenters, Tom C. (electrician), etc. I'm glad we have so many handy volunteers here at the gardens as their skills extend beyond traditional garden duties! Below are the silver finial tops that will go on our blue obelisks (for the reception garden). Pat re-secured these this afternoon. Our assembly line will continue for the next couple of weeks as we continue repainting obelisks, repairing garbage bins, restaining benches, etc.