My blog title today didn't refer to anything else but Larry (above) mowing the English cottage garden this morning. He had to stop a couple of times due to dizziness. :) With the recent warmth, the turf has continued to grow and we'll be mowing at least one more time (if not more). There are some significantly cooler temperatures arriving shortly and we'll have some very cold mornings in short order. We thought we might have a "rain out" today but the morning was warm and pleasant. It was overcast in the afternoon and while it looked like rain, there was nothing as of my typing of this blog. I wouldn't mind some more rain for the sake of the gardens but I hope we have a clear day tomorrow for more Holiday Lights Show (HLS) preparations. Directly below is some neat fall color on some of our Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) in the English cottage garden. In some areas, it's totally red already. However, this rustic patina looked neat and I couldn't pass up a photograph. The next photo down captures the peak fall color of the American smokebush/smoketree (Cotinus obovatus) along Palmer Drive. I featured this fall color in the blog earlier but should have waited until today to catch this great shot. The third photo down shows the reddening fall color of the Royal Raindrops crabapple (Malus 'JFS-KW5') which is normally maroon-leaved in the summer. I like this crabapple and we've seen very little disease issues with this variety.
We had a solid turnout of volunteers today. Grumpies and Grumpettes were both well-represented. Dick P. (below) worked with Rollie on memorial brick installation. Dr. Gredler was around for his mowing rounds and Gary worked with Pat C. on preparing more plant labels (perennials and woodies) for the gardens. Gary will be training Pat on our laser engraver and programs for creating the labels. We look forward to her continued assistance with this, and many other projects. Two photos down is Vern working on securing one of the donated greenhouses. He, Dave T. and Bob A. also worked on some carpentry projects that include the creation of a 20' tall obelisk for 2013! The third photo down shows Ron (left) and Bob C. excavating topsoil from the edges of a path that is currently being widened. They did a nice job and kept ahead of the brick layers fairly well. Eugene and Del removed plants from the entrance garden and Dick H. ran loads to the dump and is working on replacing the brake lines on one of our pick-up trucks. Four photos down are Suzy (left) and Marilyn, two of our Grumpettes (Women Weed Warriors), in the reception garden where they worked with Janice removing annuals from the entire gardens. They were later joined by Sue, Amy and Amy's daughter, Meghan. Ron and Bev came in for day #2 of arch decoration for the HLS. Hal and Doris were in to tidy up their garden space and we also saw Maury who ran many errands for us this morning. Bill O. was in this afternoon to collect debris out in the gardens and the Chestnut House volunteers worked with Janice on processing HLS lights and organizing seeds for next year. We also saw Julie G., Kris K., Mary F.P. and others.
The grounds staff took full advantage of the dry day and we all worked on HLS duties and some gardening as well. Big John put lights on trees, installed decorated obelisks, candy cane displays and other HLS elements. John also removed and hauled off some good-sized loads of annuals from the entrance garden slope as he was making room to get to some other elements that will be decorated for the HLS. He finished the day removing annuals from the Smelly Garden. Janice worked with the ladies in the reception garden this morning and decorated many obelisks around the gardens with lights. She also worked with the Chestnut House volunteers this afternoon. Larry, aside from his mowing duties mentioned above, helped run cords, ran out to pick up a donation and put out more arches for Ron and Bev to decorate. Pat was also in (as a volunteer) and worked on mowing and plant removal. I ran more cords this morning, had a meeting and am finally finishing my presentation for the fall symposium (The Winter Garden) on November 3rd. Check out www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org for more information on this event as there is still time to register! Directly below are the showy red stems of the 'Flame' hybrid willow (Salix hybrida). The stems were green all year and the transition to this red starts in September. The leaves are turning yellow and will drop soon. However, those fiery red stems offer interest all winter and have their best coloration in the winter. The next photo down (staged of course!) shows the white backing and yellow front (fall color) of the 'Fialaspire' white poplar (Populus alba) in the arboretum. It's interesting seeing all the leaves on the ground from this tree with 50% of them appearing this brilliant white and looking like white leaves. That white backing is consistent all year. The bottom photo shows some of our moss in the fern & moss garden looking lush due to the cooler temperatures and recent rains.