Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Plant Sale Preparations

It was nice to be back in action and it didn't take long to "reconnect" after my week long vacation. I did take a nice stroll thru the entire garden and it looked even nicer than when I left. The grounds staff and volunteers continue to do such a nice job and we're very happy with the overall appearance of the gardens this year. The top photo show two of the beautiful blooms of dwarf okra (Abelmoschus esculentus 'Lee') over at the Horticulture Center. While I don't eat okra often, I sure like those mallow-like blossoms and that lightest shade of pastel yellow. Above are a couple of the Grumpies helping unload mums this morning for our looming Fall Plant Sale. Held this Saturday and Sunday (September 8th and 9th) at the Horticulture Center, the sale will run from 9 am until 4 pm daily. RBG Members get 10% off all plant sale purchases and are invited to the Members Only presale (also 10% off) on Friday, September 7th from 9 am until 4 pm. To the right is Del watering just some of the 600 mums that arrived today for the sale. We'll be getting plenty more and offer these gigantic specimens for only $7 each (plus tax). To the left is one of our annual ornamental millets (Pennisetum glaucum) out in the gardens. This is the variety 'Jade Princess' that is known for 30" tall chartreuse foliage and showy inflorescences as seen here.

Due to a shift because of Labor Day, we had a full house of Grumpies and grounds staff today. Larry and Big John came in to water yesterday and there was plenty of watering going on today. Hopefully we'll get some of that rain tonight. Grumpies included Dick P., Bob C., Larry H. and Del who all helped rearrange some of the plant sale this morning. Dick P. also helped fix our automated gate and worked with Maury and Tom C. on assessing some of our frustrating power issues out in the gardens. The rest of the guys moved on to tidying up paths around the gardens. Dick H. was in and Vern worked on getting all our hand carts ready for the big sale. Bob A. popped in and we also saw Gary, Dr. Gredler (mowing), little Jerry and many others. Mary H. and her daughter were out in the gardens and Stan spent some time in the Japanese garden. Ron K. did some weeding in the woodland walk garden and that garden looks the best it ever has thanks to Ron's unfaltering attention. Bill O. helped mow and unload plants today. We also saw our past Executive Director, Kelli, this morning as she stopped by with some yummy treats for the Grumpies. To the right are more Autumn crocuses (Colchicum autumnale 'The Giant') amongst some blue petunias. Our 10,000 or so Autumn crocuses are really starting to peak. Directly below is the beginning of the seed structure for the annual balloon plant (also called "hairy balls"). This milkweed relative (Gomphocarpus physocarpus 'Oscar') gets over 8' tall and is now starting to really produce these interesting structures (typically 1-3" in diameter).During my "Reconnection Tour" of the gardens this morning, I was down in the fern & moss garden and heard many "kerplunks" as I walked by the small ponds and streams. I noted many frogs like the little fella above (only 1.5") enjoying a swim. Hopefully our resident great blue heron doesn't find the same area! Tim B. had me on his radio show (WCLO) and we talked gardening and the fall plant sale. Today was also a reunion of sorts for the grounds staff. This was the first time since early June that we had everyone together (Larry, Marv, Terry, Marianne, Janice, Pat, Big John, Jenny and me). Little Jerry was briefly around too which brought back memories of his time at the gardens. We didn't get too nostalgic as a full, hot and humid day of activity was waiting for everyone. To the right is the 'Hot Lips' turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) in the woodland walk garden. To the left are the blooms of our 'Thailand Giant' elephant ear (Colocasia gigantea). The white spathe and spadex are quite interesting and remind me of the peace lily (which is in the same family). These blooms come out ultimately in groups of six and seemingly emerge from the stem as it splits. This exact variety is new to horticulture (2003) and has been one of our BIG hits of the year (pun intended).

Pat and John started pushmowing right away, as did Larry. All the guys moved on to significant watering projects throughout the day and Larry also continued repairing irrigation heads out in the gardens. Larry also kept irrigation going nicely around the gardens. Just when the yard was becoming empty, the watering needs for this space are increasing exponentially each day. We had Marianne, John, Larry and Del all helping out today with yard watering needs. Marianne spent most of the day taking care of pre-plant sale details and she continues to astound me with her memory of past events and what worked and what didn't. She is truly our fall plant sale maven and is so organized. Marianne also did some watering and put together her cutting display today as well. Jenny spent some time weeding out in the garden but otherwise helped with plant sale preparations including processing our bulbs (for the sale) with Marianne. Marv and Terry set up sprinklers in many locations, brought in our oak leaf art project in advance of the auction of these art pieces (this Sunday at 1 pm), sheared and worked on an edging project. Janice spent most of her time watering and tidying in the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Display which continues to be one of our most popular gardens this year. Janice also checked over our moss areas, watered in many locations, made signs and helped with myriad other projects. It was nice to have the entire team around today and everyone was helpful with processing plant sale deliveries as they arrived. More deliveries tomorrow and Thursday too. To the right is a showy, dwarf goldenrod (Solidago hybrida) called 'Little Lemon' which is just a mass of color at only 15" tall. Here is a goldenrod for the front of the border. Below are two water lily (Nymphaea sp.) photos taken in the lower pool of the fern & moss garden. I'm not good with variety names on these but sure appreciate the color. When you come to the plant sale this weekend, be sure to pick up your copy of our totally awesome 2013 RBG calendar!

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