Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Minus One / Plus Three Hundred

Today saw the loss of a large mulberry (Morus sp.) tree in the gazebo garden. This tree had become a hazard and was being held up by a neighboring hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). We thought it was one wind storm away from coming down and I'm glad we didn't test that theory. L.P. Tree Service came early with five guys (see pictures). We had Larry, Pat, John, Jumbo Jim and Dick H. helping as well. The access in to the garden went well and clean-up was top notch as the process only took 2 hours or so total. While we lost one tree today, we planted about 300 perennials, shrubs and small trees (more on that later). The top photo is of the 'Fatal Attraction' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) which is a selection from the Netherlands (Piet Oudolf). This is a strong-stemmed variety with large, vivid blooms. The stems even have some color as well. This is a good example of what a coneflower should be as so many of the new varieties have beautiful flowers but wimpy, floppy stems. Directly above is the 'Stripe It Rich' golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra) in the woodland walk garden. It sure softens that little nook between the rocks.

Ron K. was in to do more planting in the woodland walk garden today and installed about 120 perennials throughout that space as well as some really neat witchhazel (Hamamelis sp.) varieties ('Purple Ribbons', 'Grape Fizz' and 'Kohanke Red'). These should grow in to beautiful specimens. I have more plants for Ron but he'll get increasingly challenged to keep up with falling leaves in that space too! Kay came in for some tidying in the shade garden then more weeding/removals in our All-America Selections Display Garden. We continue to primp our annuals but those that are spent are quickly removed. Kay filled her cart quickly today. Mary W. did some weeding and planting in the herb garden this afternoon and Vern spent the afternoon working on some carpentry projects. Maury, Glenn D. and I met this morning regarding our spring tree sale (April 2013) and Dr. Gredler spent the morning mowing out in the gardens. We also saw Dr. Yahr and many others as well. Bill O. came in for mowing and other duties too. To the mid-right is Big John preparing a border for planting today. He removed the annuals, composted and installed a nice collection of perennials and shrubs along the length of this space (just opposite the Smelly Garden and North point garden).

Directly below is one of our elevated PVC pipe planters with trailing tomatoes (Lycopersicon) in the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Display. These look nice and have finally filled in well. Some of that collection is past peak but overall, it's still very colorful and popular with visitors. I wanted to share the next photo down from home. This is one of our planter boxes on the back deck. The colorful ornamental peppers (Capsicum annuum) are from the 'Pretty In Purple' variety which also "colors up" nicely late in the season. The orange flowers are lantanas (Lantana camara). The entire composition cascades nicely out of the planters and has become more colorful in late summer than it was previously! The flower above is on the Mexican flame vine (Senecio confusus 'Sao Paulo') in the Smelly Garden. While I haven't detected a scent yet, this vine has finely hit stride and is blooming strongly (3" diameter blooms). Butterflies are flocking to it as well. For some strong, sweet fragrance, consider the seven-son-flower (Heptacodium miconioides) which is a large shrub/small tree with fragrant white flowers as seen to the right. These blooms extend in to October and end up appearing pink as the petals fall and the calyces turn bright pink. The exfoliating/peeling bark of this multi-stemmed woody plant is quite ornamental too.

Our Tuesday grounds staff had a busy day. Larry, Big John and Pat began the day by getting ready for L.P. Tree Service to arrive. We had to move and remove some plants that would be in the way of their access. All three guys helped with the tree removal process. Larry also push mowed, put up signs and worked on some other projects as well. Big John prepared the border as described above and accomplished planting in that space and in the fern & moss garden. He also worked on smoothing out some of our gravel pathways. Pat did a nice job doing the final "tidy up" of the gazebo garden after the tree removal. This was timely as there was an event in that space this afternoon. Pat also planted a wide ride range of perennials in various locations and weeded the North point garden this afternoon. To the left is the consistently showy foliage of the 'Purple Flash' ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) which we have all around the gardens.

Janice worked on preparing some signs for our upcoming Electronics Recycling event which will be held this Saturday, September 22nd from 8 am until 4 pm in front of the Lion's Beach House just west of the Parker Education Center. Check out our website at www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org to see more information on this "green" fundraiser and for information on what items will be accepted for recycling. Janice also worked on preparing labels for our new hosta collection and inventoried some garden spaces for label needs. To the right is the soft, silvery foliage of the 'Berggarten' sage (Salvia officinalis). This is a culinary sage (hardy to zone 5) that is a big component in our white/silver/blue theme this year for obvious reasons. I like the foliage contribution and this plant always looks good with some morning dew on the leaves. Directly below is the 'Skyrocket' variegated fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum). This annual grass has a nice clean variegation and is just peaking with the flowing pink inflorescences (flowers/seed heads). This grass is also a component of our 2012 color theme. At the bottom is one of our many morning glories (Ipomoea sp.) that have reseeded along the fence at the Horticulture Center.

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