Thursday, August 23, 2012

The WWW Is Formed

Mark your calendars. August 23rd, 2012 is the official designation for our Women Weeding Warriors (WWW)! Formerly called "Grumpettes", the ladies decided to rename themselves and they were here in full force today. Whereas all our other volunteer groups (Grumpies, Assigned Gardeners, workday volunteers, etc.) have remained steady in terms of the number of volunteers involved, the WWW has grown from four ladies a couple years ago to well over ten volunteers each Thursday morning. Some of their activities can be seen above in the All-America Selections (AAS)display garden. We had Karla, Sue, Glenna, Mary R., Suzy, Karen, Nicole, Zoe, Maya and Donna in this space today and they did a great job deadheading spent annuals, removing failing plants and weeding. This display is part of a landscape design contest arranged by AAS and we are competing with other gardens for the best and most creative use of our AAS selections. I think our display is awesome and these ladies have been involved since it was planted back in early June. To the left is some early fall color on the Tiger Eyes sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger') which we normally wont see for another six weeks or so. To the right is Glenna doing her balancing act thru that garden to target weeds and other plants to snip. Grumpies included Del, Bob C., Eugene (new), Ron W., Ron Y., Larry H., Bob A and Dick H. We also saw Maury, Dick P. and Rollie at other times during the day. The second photo down shows Sue C., Mary R. and Karla while the third photo down shows Ron W. (left), Larry H. (back) and Ron Y. I asked if the guys if they were just joy riding and mentioned that "Joy riding" would be a good blog title with that picture at the top! We also had Dr. Gredler in mowing and saw Hal, Doris, Sarah, Kris, Stan, Bev, Art, Marv, Marianne and many others. It was a busy day around the Horticulture Center and out in the gardens. A bus tour from MN also enjoyed the garden today. It was nice to see another day with visitors in abundance. We had a smaller grounds crew today but managed to get plenty of tasks done. Janice got the WWW ladies organized and motivated this morning and later moved on to watering, working on some signage and interpretation. She and I are both giving presentations at the Garden Festival this Saturday (August 25th) at the Rock County Fairgrounds, hosted by the Rock Prairie Master Gardeners. Janice is talking about "Grains" and I'll discuss "Ornamental Edibles". Big John set-up sprinklers right away and had them moving around all day. It's interesting how dry it has become again and although there is a chance of rain over the next three days, we're not going to count on it. We're no strangers to major watering and will continue with these efforts tomorrow as the gardens are at peak and we don't need thirsty and wilted plants! John also worked on edging, mulching, planting and container watering. Pat was here early to continue staining the wood siding around the Horticulture Center and later transitioned to finishing a mulching project from yesterday. He also helped John water containers. Larry had irrigation zones running all day and he spent significant time on repairing irrigation heads around the gardens. He later helped John water and accomplished some odds and ends around the Horticulture Center in preparation for the upcoming fall plant sale (see for more details on the sale). Incidentally, we still need plenty of volunteer help for the sale. Call Lori (608-752-3885 extension 20) to see what times are available. To the upper right is the grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor 'Tunisian') forming seed at the Horticulture Center. I thought this seed head looked like a column of steel ball bearings as I walked by this afternoon. To the left are the ornamental fruits of the 'Chilly Chili' ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum). Of course these get more coloration as the season progresses and their best months for showy color are August and September. We probably have 40 varieties of ornamental hot peppers (Capsicum sp.) around the gardens and being "ornamental" doesn't mean they're not "edible". To the right is one of the white mandevillas (Mandevilla hybrida 'Giant White') blooming in the entrance garden. These are really growing well now and there is no shortage of new blooms.

I spent the day helping with volunteers, in meetings, some watering and getting ready for being gone on vacation next week. I'll blog tomorrow but wont be back online for a week or so. Directly below are three plants of interest and a nice shot of the formal gardens today. Directly below is the native, white wood aster (Aster divaricatus 'Raiche Form') near the fishing pier. This one is blooming early but that has been the story all year! The next photo down is the annual bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii 'Brilliantissima'). Also called the "chicken gizzard plant", this foliage annual has bright pink and maroon highlights and really catches the eye in both full and part sun. The next photo is a perennial stonecrop (Sedum 'Razzleberry') which is a nice low plant at 10" or so. The foliage emerges a bluish-grey but darkens to light maroon. The raspberry colored flowers start in late summer and extend well in to fall.

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