Friday, July 20, 2012

A Fun Tour

Today was beautiful with a cool start to the morning and afternoon highs in the upper 80 degrees F (like it should be!). The remnants of that rain early in the week could be seen with still damp soils. We took another day off of irrigation and sprinklers but will resume tomorrow as needed. We did water the yard and check containers though as that sun was beating down pretty good this afternoon. We had a fun tour come late this morning from the Milwaukee area. These were members of the Southeast Master Gardener group and it was a full bus load of Master Gardeners. I call it a "fun tour" because they were an enthusiastic group of gardeners, many of whom I know. Doris did a nice job arranging the tour (no surprise) and they started the day up at Allen Centennial Gardens on the UW-Madison campus and received a tour from Ed Lyon. We hit the ground running (see top photo) when they arrived at RBG and they had time to enjoy lunch at the gardens and were able to tour on their own a bit too. We received lots of compliments which are important to share with our hard working volunteers! One of the "hits" of the tour was the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Collection (seen directly above). To the right is the 'Kona Gold' copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana) which has some very funky foliage. To the left is a portion of the formal Italian garden. You can see the nice symmetrical work on the boxwoods (Buxus sp.) and yews (Taxus sp.) that Marv and Terry recently accomplished.

The grounds staff was actually able to accomplish more gardening today with the brief respite from daily watering until early next week. Larry and Big John will have some watering this weekend for sure though. Janice planted "filler" annuals in many locations today. She also spent time weeding, making signs and watering the yard. It was nice to get some more plants in the ground. Pat was in for a half day and finished his edging around the Moss Rose Collection. He also push mowed and weeded a tough area along the Palmer Drive fenceline. Marv and Terry also did some weeding and planting. The guys can be seen to the right in the terrace garden where they weeded and planted moonflowers (Ipomoea alba) on those powder blue obelisks. The guys also cleaned the ponds and Terry push mowed. They both sheared and watered containers at the end of the day. Directly below are some of our deck planters above the English cottage garden. That blue grass is the 'Blue Dune' lyme grass (Elymus arenarius) which is a vigorously spreading perennial grass. However, this is a perfect application of this thuggish (but showy!!!) grass as we'll compost all of this at the end of the season. The next shot is a view from that back deck in to the formal gardens.

Directly above is another shot of the enormous leaf from the 'Thailand Giant' elephant ear (Colocasia gigantea). This specimen, in the copper cheese vat planter in the English cottage garden, should get up to 10' or so this summer with umbrella-sized+ leaves. We didn't have a lot of volunteers today with Dr. Gredler out of town. Kay came in to weed and tidy the shade garden and she later did some work in the sunken garden. Don and Pearl came in to tidy up their area at the end of the shade garden and it it looking top notch. Gwen and Rose were in to work on the vegetable collections at the Horticulture Center and we also saw Russ, Ron W., Bev W. and Hal R. Marianne was in as a volunteer and tidied up her cutting display and did a nice job purging some of the "undesireables" out in the yard. Janet came in to weed and plant some annuals in the orange planting (seen to the right). She's doing a nice job keeping that looking sharp. To the left is the showy 'Cherokee Sunset' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) which is known to have both double and semi-double blooms in a range of oranges with occasional mahogany accents. This variety also makes a great cutflower.

Tomorrow is our 18th Annual Home Garden Tour (10 am - 4 pm, rain or shine). It looks like it will be a hot and sunny day with temperatures over 90 degrees F. It's tough to predict attendance but we hope we'll have some "day of" attendees. Tickets, while still $10 today, will be $12 tomorrow and are for sale at RBG, K&W Greenery and Patty's Plants (Milton). The seven participating garden owners have done a fabulous job keeping up this summer and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's garden. This is usually a very smooth event and I expect the same tomorrow. We hope to have at least 500 attendees but we'll see how it goes. To the right is the 'Blue Jay' bell pepper (Capsicum) from one of our collections and directly below is the 'Arizona Apricot' blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata). This variety is flowering heavily and I like that hint of apricot orange in the petals. At the bottom is a nice shot of the gazebo this morning. Sporadic blogging for the next week or so!

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