Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sale Day Three (And An Auction)

After this third day of the Fall Plant Sale finished at 4 pm today, Marianne and I thought it was one of our best Sundays of the sale ever. I should mention that we have decided to extend the sale for one day only. The sale will also run tomorrow (September 10th) from 9 am until 4 pm and everything will be 15% off. The sale started slowly although this isn't unusual as we've always expected the crowds to come in after 11 am due to church obligations or other Sunday morning activities. The timing of the Packer game was also perfect as we had a nice crunch of customers from 11 am all the way until closing at 4 pm. The top photo shows Al Fagerly and Amanda Stella from WJVL 99.9 FM / WCLO 1230 AM. They did a live remote from the plant sale between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. We had a lot of customers come to the sale as a result of this promotion and there was also the opportunity for the chance to register to win an ATV. We had volunteers ask plant sale customers how they heard about the sale and there were many that heard the promotions on the radio. It's nice to get that feedback so we can evaluate what marketing works the best for us. The photo directly above is one of the many clumps of "popcorn plant" (Cassia didymobotrya) in the Smelly Garden. The 20 specimens we have in that garden have put on another impressive flush of blooms and our visitors continue to enjoy that scented plant among the 150+ varieties of fragrant plants in that space. To the upper right is the bloom from another plant in that collection. This is the 'Salmon Sunset' four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa) which has a slight fragrance but lots of showy blooms. Note that hint of pink in the throat of an otherwise salmon colored, trumpet-shaped bloom (1.5" in diameter). Hummingbirds like this as well although the flowers are closed from late morning until later in the afternoon (they actually do open around 4 pm!). To the left is one of four containers in front of the Parker Education Center that Marianne planted this spring as part of our white/silver/blue theme. The contents include blue lyme grass (Elymus arenarius 'Blue Dune) in the center, 'Berggarten' sage (Salvia officinalis) in the center and the trailing aluminum plant (Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls') cascading over the edges of the container. To the right is that same trailer in a container in the North Point garden which also has 'Diamond Head' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) in the center. Directly below is a shot of the Smelly Garden this morning and further below is the old-fashioned blue passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) in that same garden. What an interesting looking flower!
Big John was here this morning for a couple of hours and ran irrigation, watered containers and checked on the gardens as well. We had a little smidge of rain last night which was certainly welcome. Part of John's Sunday routine is to tour the gardens after our Saturday weddings and heavy visitation. He also checks our water features and is a nice "presence" out in the gardens for quick troubleshooting. Marianne and Janice again kept the volunteers organized and productive. Our slow morning quickly developed in to a steady flow of traffic so our "orange-vested" volunteers kept up a nice pace all day. Our mums were almost sold out and the shrubs were moving well again. I was wondering if our hot and dry summer would have an effect on sales at all due to the theory that many gardeners are "done" for the year after such a brutal summer. It's tough to say if that is true as those people would be the customers that didn't come to the sale. However, we still have a very impressive range of dynamite perennials (sun and shade) out in the yard and I had hoped to see more of those picked over this weekend. We'll see how the Plant Sale Clearance (15% off) goes tomorrow. Our volunteers were a huge help today in the sale and the past two days we've had our Garden Ambassador Volunteers roving the gardens to greet visitors, answer questions and keep an eye on the gardens. It's interesting to hear some of their stories regarding their interactions with guests (mostly positive...but not all...). To the upper right is the extremely fragrant night-blooming phlox (Zaluzianskya capensis 'Midnight Candy') in the Smelly Garden. I cruiItalicsed thru the gardens this morning to check things over and was glad to have my camera. This annual still had open blooms but they were just starting to close for the day. To the left are the prolific, tubular blooms of the variegated obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana 'Variegata') which is looking quite showy (20" tall) right now near the North Point garden. To the right are the interesting, upward facing, cupped leaves of the 'Coffee Cups' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) in the gazebo garden. The veins on these leaves really showed with the morning light working its magic.

Today was also the auction for the oak leaf garden art projects. The event started at 1 pm at the Parker Education Center and Deb, Bev and Polly had everything well in hand. I went over to bid on two of the oak leaves which were done by my daughters. There was a healthy crowd and I hope this fundraiser went well. Below is the copper cheese vat (from Monroe, WI) planter in the English cottage garden with a huge centerpiece of 'Thailand Giant' elephant ear (Colocasia gigantea). The pinkish maroon plant is the 'Blazin' Rose' bloodleaf (Iresine hybrida). We have this huge elephant ear in many locations and they have received lots of visitor attention this year. At the bottom is a shot I took this morning of our entrance garden slope planting.

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