Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Teamwork Abounds

We had a very busy day but everyone had a little bounce in their step, including Kay (left) and Cheryl who were two of many volunteers that helped at the gardens today. I think we were all happy with the 1" of rain that started last night and finished up early this morning. We didn't have to run irrigation and spent only a little time with spot watering out at the Horticulture Center. We did have some branches come down with the wind but the damage was definitely quite minimal.

We had a great crew of volunteers helping put pricing tags on our plant sale plants this morning. With the Fall Plant Sale presale for RBG Friends Members starting this Friday (9 am - 4 pm) we have to be ready for the weekend. Check out plant sale details at Aside from Kay and Cheryl, we had Ellen (to the left), Don, Pearl, Joy, Pat and Shirley. The gang put in solid morning of tagging many of our perennials, organizing shrubs, etc. Marianne and Jenny collectively kept everyone hopping and we have another crew coming in tomorrow to finish the task.

We also had some nice volunteer representation out in the gardens. To the left is Tom K. who has volunteered at the gardens for many years. However, this photo is a rare sighting of this man as he typically volunteers in the early evenings and we don't cross paths very often. He has been maintaining the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Display which continues to look great and creates plenty of produce. Magda & her friend came in to tidy up their area and Janet did some nice touch-up along the orange-themed wall planting. Gena, Mary, Myrt and Nancy went mobile this morning and weeded, snipped and purged in both the Smelly Garden and All-America Selections display. I was worried we would have a rain out all day but we salvaged most of the day out in the gardens and in the plant sale. We also saw Dick H., Mary D., Janice and many others today. Below, from left to right, are Pearl, Jenny, Pat and Kay organizing our plant sale shrubs this morning. I think we have the most expansive (and impressive) selection of shrubs this year.The grounds staff got their exercise today as well. Above (left to right) are Terry, Big John and Pat unloading shrubs this morning (Marv is just off camera). Aside from the shrub delivery, we unloaded two large trucks of perennials and a delivery of mums. Everyone pitched in and "many hands" did make "quick work". Marianne and Jenny have always worked well together and are collectively very organized. They kept a step ahead of the tagging team and really chipped away at our plant sale tasks today and have already prepared for tomorrow's efforts. With the early morning rain, we started with some "rainy day" projects which allowed us to really tidy up the Horticulture Center prior to the sale. Pat cleaned up many of the tools and carts while John ran out twice to load up on fuel for all our vehicles. Both guys later got out in the gardens for some planting, weeding, post-storm clean-up, etc. They circulated back to the plant sale later to help with watering and some other "pre-sale" preparations. To the right are the violet, tubular flowers of the Himalayan leptodermis (Leptodermis oblonga) which is a small (2'), textural shrub that we just planted this year. It's not overwhelming in terms of the flower display but I'm impressed that it has been blooming all summer and seems to be pretty tough. As we head in to late summer and early fall, look for the contributions of ripening fruit in the landscape. To the left are the ripening fruits of the corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas 'Golden Glory'). The fruits are ripe when they fall and have long been used as food source in the Middle East, Northern Europe and Asia. These fruits (astringent) are high in calcium and other minerals (and they look showy too!).

Marv and Terry worked on some drainage issues around the plant sale as the rain quickly revealed some problem spots. The guys also helped unload plants, tidied up the "back yard" before the sale and started dealing with a troubesome path that has become a tripping hazard (maple roots). To the right is the showy 'Red Kuri' winter squash (Cucurbita maxima). When we had our squash display a couple years ago, this was the "most pilfered" variety as the dozen or so squash disappeared over night. Below is a shot of some 'White Christmas' caladiums in the English cottage garden and at the bottom, the chatreuse flower (umbel) of the 'Zefa Fino' fennel (Foeniculum). Also called finocchio or Florence fennel, this type of fennel is prized for the tasty, swollen stem just above ground level.

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