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 cruised 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.