Monday, August 13, 2012

Nice To Be Back In A Drizzle

It was nice to see the gardens (mine at home too!) nice and damp after some decent rain last week. While we missed the majority of the rain moving thru the area this morning, we did get a light drizzle for the first half of the day. The cooler temperatures and overcast skies are helping keep the gardens damp as well. The top photo is the umbrella of Trudy, a new volunteer that was helping Gary with labels this morning. The second photo down shows the start to our Grumpy morning with (left to right), Larry H., Lloyd, Bob C. and Del all peeling labels. This was a perfect job for a damp morning and the guys moved on to other tasks as well (after asking for a deck of cards). Directly above are the bright orange blooms of the 'Britt Marie Crawford' dark-leaved ligularia (Ligularia dentata). This perennial has almost black foliage in spring, likes damp soils and really offers some nice flowers in August and September. To the right is one of our pallet planters (made by Terry) filling in nicely out in the gardens. This year I've seen another half dozen or so pallet planters and ours seems the most sturdy and full of plants.

Other Grumpies today included Rollie, Maury, Dr. Yahr, Gary, Russ and Dick H. The carpenters (Dave, Bob, Vern and Jim) continued work on their shed project. We also had Trudy (helping with labels) and the duo of Joan and Corky out watering vegetables around the Horticulture Center. Dr. Gredler was in for some mowing as well. With recent precipitation, the grass has greened up nicely and needed a haircut. Unfortunately, the drizzle today didn't amount to much but as always (particularly this year), we'll take what we can get. To the left is a new, variegated annual fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) called 'Skyrocket'. This variety is very prevalent in our white/silver/blue theme this year as are some other annual grasses. As I toured the gardens this morning, I was in the Smelly Garden and kept smelling this sweet, heady fragrance. I tracked it down to the plant you see to the right. New to our Smelly Garden this year is the "lady of the night" (Brunfelsia gigantea) which has very fragrant blooms that become even more fragrant at night. If I had known how strong the scent was on this selection, I would have incorporated dozens more in choice locations for scent (including in front of the visitors center). The 20 or so that we have out there are covered with these 3" diameter, clear white blooms. Directly below are three scenic shots that I snapped this morning. In order, there is the annual border (east of the shade garden) maintained by Don and Pearl, the All-America Selections display garden and the fern & moss garden (note the new moss island!). The grounds staff had a busy day despite not having to engage in another full day of exhaustive (and exhausting) watering and irrigation. Larry did run some irrigation though, we checked containers and there was some fertilizing as well. However, the gang kept busy with other garden duties. Larry worked on repairing some irrigation heads that were having issues and helped with some of the Grumpy projects. Big John worked on some planting, weeding, cutting back some perennials, fertilizing and many other projects. Marianne did her cutting display, did some inside organizing and spent lots of time checking over areas for weeding needs. She also matched new labels to our newly donated hosta collection. We'll get these out shortly. To the right is a photo that Janice sent me from last week. Note the two lightning strikes (one on each tree). Some of our other cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) have been hit in the past and while this isn't usually a fatal injury, it takes years for the tree to adjust to this significant injury.

RBG continues to generate more and more produce as the summer progresses. We have bumper crops of tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and certainly eggplants. To the left is the 'Gretel' eggplant (Solanum melongena) which was a 2009 All-America Selection. These narrow, 4-6" long fruits are showy and tasty on a more compact plant (30" or so). The counterpart to this variety, is 'Hansel' which has the same fruits (though black) and plant stature. To the right is 'Kim's Knee High' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Topping out around 18" tall, this variety is not short on flower power. We planted this specimen this spring and it is peaking nicely right now. This variety is one of many alternatives for a smaller-statured coneflower that is not prone to flopping or excessive height. I envision this variety being around for a very long time. Directly below are four shots that Santos, one of our many talented volunteer photographers, snapped at the gardens over the last week or two. I like the panorama shots a lot. What sort of conversation do you think the heron and turtle would be having in that bottom photo? :)

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