Thursday, July 5, 2012

More Of The Same

Today was another hot one (officially reaching 104 degrees F) and we didn't see much for visitors as you can imagine. We checked a couple thermometers and online references for our afternoon heat and had a variability of 101, 102, 103 or 104 degrees F. At that point, does it really feel any different? I have a better respect for those that live in dry climates that experience these temperatures! We had a small grounds staff today and a smaller turnout than usual in terms of volunteers but that wasn't unexpected with this brutal heat. The top photo of the arched bridge I took this morning with the pond being totally calm. Note that the water level has dropped a good foot or so on the bridge supports as you can see where the guys painted to the water line back in late May. To the right are the clear white blooms of the 'Snow Lady' dwarf shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) which we grow as a seasonal (technically a perennial) for its flower power on a 12" tall plant. This showy annual is an All-America Selections (AAS winner) as is the 'Sundance Bicolor' blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) to the left. This annual blanket flower has solid blooms throughout the growing season and really catches the eye.

The photo above shows Sue (foreground) and Karla in the distance. Along with Suzy and Cheryl (off camera), the four ladies spent the morning planting and watering annuals in the All-America Selections collection. We've had some early losses and vigor issues on a couple plants and brought in another 500+ plants to fill in the collection. I normally don't like planting on such hot days but we've been stagnant with planting recently with this weather pattern and thought we'd just do it. Karen M. did some nice work in the Japanese garden today. Our Grumpies were very helpful with watering. To the right is Urban who helped water our yard plants and collections at the Horticulture Center. Directly below is Del who also hand watered some vast areas. Rollie came in and helped out as well by watering in the gazebo garden, rhododendron garden and back terrace garden. Dave, Jim and Bob A. worked on the new doors for our "root box" viewer and accomplished some other projects. Two photos down are Dave T. (left) and Jim touring the gardens. Dick H. made a run to the dump and continued to cut and process our aluminum plant labels. Dr. Gredler was in for some brief mowing although he'll do most of it tomorrow before our weekend weddings. Bill O. was in later to work on some more shearing projects. We also saw Deb, Dave K., Mary, Marv, Marianne and many others.
I asked the grounds staff to help water until lunch time and decide what they wanted to do in terms of the afternoon heat. Aside from construction, roofing, mail delivery and some other occupations, gardening can be brutal in this heat as well. The gang (Larry, Big John, Janice and I) toughed it out and we were all outside most of the day (watering of course). Directly above is the 'Extra Apricot' moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) which is part of our neat collection (see to the right). Shelley Ryan featured these stalwart garden annuals in her taped segment (for The Wisconsin Gardener) this past Monday at the gardens. She commented on how she remembers the scraggly moss roses with single blossoms and was amazed at the variety of color in the double flower varieties.

Janice got the ladies started this morning with their planting task and prepped some hoses for immediate use by the volunteers. She then had a full day of watering containers, garden beds and our yard plants. She also mulched some of the vegetables at the Horticulture Center. Big John set-up many sprinklers and moved them throughout the day. He also push mowed, hand watered (containers too!) and helped collect myriad hoses, sprinklers, etc. at the end of the day. Larry had the irrigation going early and also spent time alternating those zones, setting up sprinklers, hand watering and push mowing. Larry also set-up a good fountain alternative in our sunken garden pool. We've had some issues with an older fountain and pump and this new approach should work well. To the left is the new 'Jams N' Jellies' annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) which is part of our All-America Selections collection and this variety is a 2012 winner. That dark velvety purple is quite showy with the white center on plants that reach 14" tall or so.

I spent another day moving hoses around but did take the time to walk through the entire garden to assess some of the drought implications. We now have trees and shrubs wilting down severely in areas where we don't currently have irrigation. We'll have to start addressing this moisture deficiency on many target plants over the coming weeks. Even a 1" rain wont help much although I would take anything right about now! Also in our All-America Selections collection is the snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) to the right. This is 'Rocket Golden' which was catching the morning light just perfectly this morning. In close proximity to this plant grouping were those seen below. Directly below is the 'Profusion Orange' zinnia (Zinnia angustifolia) which reaches about 15" in height and keeps blooming all summer. At the bottom is the double gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta 'Gloriosa Double') which tops out around 24" and blooms in to September. If you look closely at that photo along the petals on the far outer right, you'll notice the legs of a "daddy long legs" spider that was camera shy this morning. More of the same tomorrow in terms of watering and accomplishing our preparations for weddings this weekend.

1 comment:

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