We had our smallest crew of the year today with just Larry, Big John and myself. Thankfully, the rain last Friday has kept most of the gardens damp but Larry still augmented with irrigation throughout the day. Larry also worked on significant pruning on two 'Camperdown' elms (Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii') which are quite unique in their weeping, umbrella form. We have two specimens trained over a steel arch and Larry has spent plenty of time over the years keeping the elm trained to the shape of that archway. He and Big John later worked on removing a large golden black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia') that is too close to the Rath Center. They'll need a couple more hours to finish the removal but got a good start today. The guys also watered all the containers, set up some sprinklers, etc. John also hand watered, processed more elephant ears (Colocasia gigantea 'Thailand Giant') for storage, etc. The guys kept busy while I caught up on a huge amount of desk work and had a productive meeting with Kris K. regarding education for 2013 and how it relates to our garden themes and initiatives. Janice also popped in briefly.
Last night I presented the topic of "Vertical Gardening" to the Racine/Kenosha Master Gardeners (meeting in Sturtevant, WI). I was impressed with the size and dedication of this group and saw many familiar faces (including Patti N. and Barb L. from UW-Extension). The topic was well received and I hope I sufficiently encouraged the 50% of the crowd that hadn't yet been to the gardens to come and visit! Neat shot below. Note how the flowers of the 'Flamingo Feather Pink' wheat celosia (Celosia spicata) have bent upwards after the plant had flopped over in the sunken garden. The next photo down is the interesting leaf of the 'Kumson' greenstem forsythia (Forsythia viridissima var. koreana) which is quite unique. This variety doesn't bloom strongly but the foliage is nice. In early November, the leaves turn a deep maroon but leave the cream "webbing" over the veins. The bottom photo is the "fireworks-like" flower plume of the 'King Tut' giant papyrus (Cyperus papyrus). Now that is some impact as that plume is the size of a beach ball!