Monday, October 29, 2012

An Offensive Start To The Day

As I was coming to work today in the pitch dark, I noticed some damage to our frontage fence along Palmer Drive.  I always look along that fence in the morning because two winters ago, we had two incidents of deer getting caught and hung up on the fence.  The damage seen above was significant with two fence panels and two posts being destroyed.  John found part of the vehicle's head light and while we hope no one was hurt, it seemed like an odd angle to hit the fence and we'll never know the story of what happened.  Of course no one has come forward to claim doing the damage.  The second photo up shows one of four obelisks (with lights) that John hauled out for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  All the grounds staff had HLS duties today and continue to progress at a great pace for getting everything squared away in the next three weeks.  Directly above is the glossy 'Blackout' coral bells (Heuchera) that I think is one of the darkest for foliage.  Another nice, dark variety is 'Obsidian'.  Directly below is a shot from underneath one of our European beeches (Fagus sylvatica).  This is the variety 'Riversii' which has summer leaves that are a glossy, deep maroon.  This fall color is characteristic of most beeches (Fagus sp.) and is always a nice, rich gold.

We had the mother lode of volunteers today.  Kathy and Tom H. came to help put plastic on two of our donated greenhouses (from Kathy and Tom).  We greatly appreciate their generosity and with their help today, we were able to totally cover the remaining two (of three) houses.  Directly below are some of the guys that helped with this project.  They included Dave T., Vern, Jim, Bob A., Rollie, Maury, Dick H. and Dick P.   Larry H. and Eugene went out to collect leaves and had no trouble filling their cart many times over this morning.  Bob C. went out to help with the excavation efforts for the newly widened brick path.  The second photo down shows Ron Y. (left) and Ron W. unloading some of many RBG benches that they hauled back for winter touch-up (sanding, restaining, repair, etc.).  We have a lot of benches but the guys have a good sytem for keeping track of where they should be returned in the spring.  The next photo down shows Mary and Roy W. in the shade garden where they collected more leaves and debris and then installed some spring blooming bulbs (daffodils and crocuses).  Pat and Urban were out cutting back roses (Rosa) after Pat decorated an obelisk with lights. Stan spent time in the Japanese garden tidying up and Dr. Gredler was out mowing.  Doc trained Del on mower operation and Del put his training right in to action.  The fourth photo down shows Pat and Gary working on producing new plant labels for the garden.  Gary is training Pat on the entire process and she certainly is a quick study.  Mary (RBG Executive Director) came over to introduce Denise, our new funds development director.  We welcome her to the staff and look forward to her involvment here.  We also saw Mary W. and many others today.

The grounds crew focused mostly on HLS preparations.  Larry started putting lights on the main building and we'll shortly have LP Tree Service here with their bucket trucks to help finish the building decorations and to string up our "dangling icicle lights."  Big John worked on setting up HLS displays, mowed and spent some time cutting back perennials near the North point garden.  Marianne continued work on securing dangling lights to our urn planters and shifted to luminary preparations later.  Marv and Terry hauled back some containers for winter storage, sorted/hauled brick for our path project and worked on securing HLS displays.  I was outside briefly but hardly stretched out cords.  I spent time on some other projects including finalizing my presentation for the symposium (The Winter Garden) this Saturday, November 3rd.  Directly below is the late season fall color of the compact Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum') near the gazebo garden.  The next shot down shows the yellowing fall color on the Japanese hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight') in the woodland walk garden.  This woody vine has looked great all year and we have this selection growing up the trunks of many of the larger trees in that garden space.  The third photo down is a testament as to why this perennials is called blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis).  This variety had gorgeous, spotted orange flowers in mid-summer but the fruit display is top notch (in a dried arrangement too).  At the bottom is one of the two greenhouses that the gang finished up this morning.  Thanks again Tom & Kathy!

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