Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Smelly Kids

The blog title does not refer to malodorous kids but those that were in the gardens today enjoying our Smelly Garden Fun Day. I saw lots of parents, grandparents and kids around the gardens and as seen above, the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden was quite active with visitors of all ages enjoying all the fragrant plants, crafts and activities. Kris did a great job with this event as she did this past Sunday. Janice and Mary D. were out in the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Display also sharing information on the various vegetables and displays in that area. Visitors were being directed to enjoy both areas and it was nice to see so many people out in the gardens. To the right is a morning shot of the moss island that was refurbished this past spring by Dale S. (Mr. Moss). To the left is a simple combination of 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) and Double Pink Knockout rose (Rosa 'Radkto Pink') which is getting another significant flush of blooms as are many of our roses (Rosa).

Today was another clear and sunny day and the temperature was a bit more "August-like" with highs in the upper 80 degrees F. The mornings are still cool which makes for great working weather. The grounds staff hit the ground running as usual. Marianne did quite a bit of tidying in the entrance garden (see her directly below buried in a sea of grasses). She also watering, weeded and refreshed the cutting display. She ended the day purging and watering the yard (in that order). The grass in the picture below is the annual feathertop grass (Pennisetum villosum). Big John and Pat installed our 10 new, custom tree signs out in the main parking lot islands. These signs will be for our new trees that were funded by a WI DNR Urban Forestry grant. John moved on to helping Lisa I. purge and plant daylilies (Hemerocallis) in the Potter Day collection. They planted some new varieties and removed some of the less exciting varities as well. John also did some watering. Pat finished planting some hostas from his task yesterday and after installing signs with John, moved on to mulching and watering. Terry did a nice job cleaning up the main parking lot with the blower right away and both he and Marv set up sprinklers in many areas. It's starting to get dry again and we'll continue to irrigate as needed. The guys also edged in the terrace garden, sheared shrubs and took care of the container watering needs. You can see the guys two photos down scooting thru the gardens. To the right is the 'Arrabona' plume celosia (Celosia argentea plumosa) in the Fleuroselect garden this morning. That red was quite vivid and I like this new variety. Today saw another strong volunteer turnout. Above are the showy leaves of the variegated pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea') in the hosta hollow garden. This small, understory tree has the same branch layering as the green-leaf species but the leaves really "pop" due to this variegation. Pat C. came in today to help with inventorying our labels which will become a full time task as we attempt to streamline our interpretation. Kay helped out this morning with weeding many areas and continues to always to put a dent in the enemy weed population. Gena and Myrt arrived in mid-Morning and spent time working out in the North point garden. I had them cutting back South American verbena (Verbena bonariensis) severely in that space so it will bounce back and continue to bloom. If we were to leave it go, it would quickly lose color as it went to seed. This severe cutback will add another 4 weeks of bloom on to this plant. To the right is Rose touching up one of our many entrance garden benches. Her husband, Urban, came in to do some pruning on two larger trees (crabapple and willow) and continues to show his pruning prowess. Bill O. came in to shear and help collect debris. Jan R. spent some quality time tidying up in the Scottish garden as she has for the past 15 years. We also saw Lynn in the English cottage garden this morning but chased her away when the irrigation system came on. We also saw Maury, Dr. Yahr, Lori, Ed G. and many others. Of course this doesn't come close to listing all the wonderful volunteers that helped Kris and Sarah with the Smelly Garden Fun Day. We appreciate everyone helping with the smelly kids.

To the left is the 'Bonfire Scarlet' trailing begonia (Begonia boliviensis) which is positioned nicely on this new retaining wall leading down in to the sunken garden. To the lower right is the 'Tie Dye' Helen's flower which I featured awhile back. I had to share this better picture though. If you look closely, the bi-color look is offered by the curling (fluting) of the petal which combines the reddish underside of the petal and the orange coloration on the top of the petal. That's really neat and those blooms, while small (1" diameter) are prolific and long-lasting. Below is one of our goldenrods (Solidago sp.) blooming. The label said 'Golden Baby' but I don't think that's right. Regardless, the goldenrods are poised and ready for September and we have close to 30 species/varieties out in the gardens and they are all "contributors." The bottom picture is a sweet morning shot of that entrance garden slope. Note the drift of annual feathertop grass (Pennisetum villosum) and dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea 'Lacinato') amongst all the other neat plants.

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