Despite the chilly start to the morning (38 degrees F), we jumped right in to the beginning of a beautiful, sunny day. I'm sure the grounds staff can appreciate the working conditions on this 65 degree F day that is 40 degrees cooler than those inferno-like summer days. The photos above were taken last night when we completed our walking tour of the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Collection. I'm not often in the gardens at 6 pm with my camera but it worked out last night. The top shot looks similar to a sweet shot taken by John Hutchinson, the winner of our photograpy contest that granted his winning submission the cover shot on our 2013 RBG calendar ($10 in our gift shop by the way!). I wanted to mention that my blog layouts will now follow this more simplified arrangement with "stacked photos" with interspersed text as I am having a horrible time figuring out the new BLOGGER protocols for including more inset photos. Photos and content wont change, it will just be a more primitive arrangement for now. Thanks to all that read the blog and please share with others. Over 200 people read the blog daily now! The original intent of the blog hasn't changed since I started it three years ago. It's meant to inform, educate and inspire our current and potential volunteers, members, visitors and other interested parties. Directly below is the 'Rozanne' perennial geranium (Geranium hybrida) which has been blooming sporadically since June. I like this geranium a lot (full sun or part shade) and it benefits from being cut back severely in mid-summer to encourage fresh growth and another solid flush of 2" diamter, violet/blue blooms. The next photo down is the 'Dark Beauty' toadlily (Tricyrtis formosana). This 3-4' tall perennial does well in part sun and is a strong bloomer well until the hardest frost. This specimen is in the woodland walk. Take a close look at those crazy blooms! The third photo down shows the 'Red Cauli' stonecrop (Sedum telephium) which is an award-winning sedum (Royal Horticultural Society in the UK) with bluish foliage and smaller flower clusters (like cauliflower florets) that age from pink to a bright red.
We saw quite a few volunteers today and it again was the perfect day to be outside. Kay, directly below, was here all morning. She spent her time tidying up her assigned portion of the shade garden. She also went thru many other areas with the focus of removing spent annuals and collecting leaf/twig debris. She is one hard worker and has been a consistent and impressive help at the gardens for many years now. The next photo down shows Ron K. in the woodland walk garden. Ron accepted the responsibility to maintain this garden space as an assigned gardener this past April. He has done a spectacular job and has the most square footage to maintain of all our assigned gardeners. Today he was planting more perennials in open locations and next week, he'll start to plant some bulbs. I've warned him about the 3,657,896 leaves that will soon flutter down in to that garden! We also saw Amy, a new volunteer, this morning. She spent time in the sunken garden tidying up before the wedding tomorrow. Dr. Gredler did his mowing rounds this morning and we also saw Dr. Yahr and some others as well.
The grounds staff bounced between various tasks which included watering and preparing for the weekend weddings. Big John push mowed this morning and moved on to removing two good-sized purple-leaf plums (Prunus sp.) that really needed to go. Terry started the day with some backpack blower rounds in the main parking lot which was becoming quite messy. He also push mowed, watered and worked on some other projects. Janice made some signs this morning and later went out to work on tidying up our moss collection, debris collection and container watering. Marv spent a good portion of the day using our CASE endloader near the Horticulture Center. He finished his graveling job behind the Horticulture Center but is also excavating an area where we will soon establish a gravel pad for a small greenhouse that will be donated to the gardens. We'll have three small greenhouses that we'll use for various purposes between April and November. We wont heat these houses but they will be invaluable for storing tender plants in spring and starting tropicals earlier each year. Marv also ran irrigation, watered and worked on other projects in the afternoon. I was in the gardens briefly this morning but actually spent a good portion of this fine day inside. Marianne freshened up the cutting display and worked on producing new labels for our recently planted alpine perennials. My desk work commitments increase each year and are easier to stomach on the rainy days! Directly below are the wispy seed heads of the 'China Purple' bush clematis (Clematis heracleifolia). They still have some color but those structures are also quite engaging in terms of texture. The next photo down features the showy fruits of the 'Chichen Itza' hot pepper (Capsicum chinense) that are considered a habanero-type. The fruits ripen from green to this orange and the heat is intense at 180,000 Scoville units. This variety is in our vegetable beds at the Horticulture Center. Not far away are the 'Super Chili' hot peppers (Capsicum annuum) seen in the next photo. This semi-compact plant features a profusion of upwards facing, cone-shaped fruits that mature to this red. This All-America Selections winner (1988) is ranked at 50,000 Scoville units so still packs quite a punch. At the bottom are some of the hardworking Chestnut House volunteers that were lifting potatoes yesterday afternoon near the Horticulture Center.