Friday, September 21, 2012

Where Was This Day All Summer?

Today was the type of day that we could have used all summer.  With a threat of rain for the afternoon, we were happy to see the start of a drizzle in the morning which just continued throughout the day with different levels of intensity.  I don't recall any of our few rain episodes being very lengthy this year and this "steady soaker" is welcome as it still contributes towards our overall deficiency this year.  We didn't see any sunshine but were able to get outside early for our push mowing (Pat and Terry) duties and some other tasks.  Many of the photos in the blog today were from some of the days earlier this week.  At the top is the fern & moss garden looking nice this time of year.  The moss is looking good although we need to rake almost daily in that space with all of the cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) dropping leaves.  The rains today and wind yesterday brought down plenty more leaves.  Directly above is our entrance garden slope earlier in the week which continues to hold solid color and texture.  I'm hearing rumors of some frost over the weekend which would put an unfortunate end to the vast majority of our annuals.  While it takes almost eight weeks to get all of our annuals planted, it still takes two to three weeks to remove the increased biomass from the gardens.  We try to let our annuals go the distance in to October but an early frost will be a factor for sure.  Our compost pile then grows by leaps and bounds.  Directly below is the showy, 'Diamond Frost' annual spurge (Euphorbia graminea) catching some light and offering a nice, "baby's breath-like" contribution in a dark composition.  The next photo down is the 'Bull's Blood' beet (Beta vulgaris) which has dark, showy foliage and is of course an edible variety (leaves too).     

This morning, we had Kay and Janet volunteering out in the gardens.  Kay spent some significant time in the shade garden collecting leaves and twigs that accumulate almost daily in that garden space.  The rain brought her in early but she put a nice dent in that task this morning.  Janet continued primping the long orange-themed wall border that she has nicely maintained since May.  That border (near the larch area) continues to get lots of attention and Janet has done well keeping it looking fresh.  Dr. Gredler accomplished most of his mowing prior to the rain but he did have to get on his rain gear to finish up.  With a wedding this afternoon in the sunken garden, we spent time tidying up that space this morning too.  Marianne came in to take care of the cutting display right before the rain.  Rose and Urban were painting over at the visitor's center but stopped by for break.  We also saw Lary G., Dr. Yahr and Maury (ran out for supplies).  Marv worked on an excavation project near the Horticulture Center while Terry mowed and worked on some other projects.  The guys also helped haul in lights in preparation for the Holiday Lights Show and did all sorts of rainy day projects.  Pat also mowed, tidied the sunken garden and went on a gas run too.  Pat and Terry tested lights as well.  We were flexible with moving inside and out as needed today.  Janice was out in the gardens this morning for various tasks and the rain prompted her to shift to working on checking/preparing lights at the Horticulture Center.  The three photos below were taken yesterday afternoon by Janice.  These shots feature the Chestnut House volunteers that come on Thursday afternoons.  You can see the amount of produce that they quickly accumulated.  They were a motivated crew and the veggies all found a good home.  We haul the bulk of our produce to area food banks.  In fact, Janice hauled a load this morning too.

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