There was another busy start to this Monday which isn't unusual for one of our more busy days of the week. The top photo shows many of our Grumpies dismantling a greenhouse that has been donated to the gardens for our use. We had a good team head out to the nursery which included Dave T., Jim, Bob A., Vern, Rollie, Ron Y., Ron W. and Dick H. These guys made quick work of the project and both Tom and Kathy (nursery owners and greenhouse donors) were on hand to help out as well. We'll be picking up two more small greenhouses (also donated) and we have space for all three over at the Horticulture Center. These structures will allow us to start many of our summer tropicals sooner and will also be nice locations for keeping our April deliveries nice and toasty. We also see the potential for some educational opportunities with these as well. Thanks so much to Kathy and Tom! The second photo above shows the grapeleaf anemone (Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima') blooming strongly in the sunken garden. This perennial starts blooming in September and will continue until a very hard frost. Directly above is the colorful fall foliage of the golden larch (Pseudolarix amabilis) in the larch area. This deciduous conifer, a native of China, has nice light green needles all summer but the golden fall color is quite striking and very consistent year after year prior to needle drop.
We had another nice volunteer turnout today beyond the gentlemen I mentioned above. Shirley can be seen directly below. She started removing annuals today in the color rooms garden and later shifted to help Big John with a similar project in the gazebo garen. With an imminent frost this Friday morning, we had a solid, "pre-emptive strike" out in the gardens with the removal of many of the tender annuals that would become mushy at the end of the week. This focus involved impatiens, coleus (Solenostemon), begonias and other tender annuals. Dr. Yahr (RBG founder) can be seen with Big John two photos down. The guys did a nice job filling the cart quickly with annuals. Other Grumpies out in the gardens included Urban, Stan (third photo down), Bob C. and Eugene. The guys also removed annuals and did some leaf raking on the primary paths. It certainly looks like Autumn out in the gardens with some trees already peaking with fall color. Gary came in to produce more signs for new perennials and woody plants. Maury ran errands for us and helped here and there. Dr. Gredler jumped right in to his Monday mowing routine. We also saw Del (Happy Anniversary!), Art, Mary, Lori and many others.
The grounds staff had no shortage of tasks out in the gardens today. As mentioned above, Big John spent most of the morning removing annuals and he is also digging up our elephant ears (Colocasia sp.) prior to the potentially "killing frost." In the past, we haven't had the resources or space to properly store elephant ears but we have so many this year (and space in a greenhouse) that we'll make an effort to perpetuate these tropicals for next year. John has already dug dozens and will have another couple days of doing this same process prior to us delivering these tender plants to the storage greenhouse. We stand to save significant $ if even a fraction of these make it over the winter for re-use in 2013. Larry spent major time weedwhipping out in the gardens, repairing an irrigation head and ultimately, he also spent time testing our large Holiday Lights Show displays. We like to identify those that have problems early in the game so we can have those problems addressed/repaired in a timely manner. Marianne tidied the front of the building, did her cutting display and produced nice new labels for the alpine plants that were installed a few short weeks ago. Marv and Terry worked on finalizing the demolition of the bog boxes and their contents. The guys also sheared boxwood hedges (Buxus 'Green Velvet') and had a full list of other tasks including annual removals in the arboretum and watering. We'll continue to irrigate the gardens until our irrigation system is shut off in a couple weeks. Directly below is the glowing fall color of the Tiger Eyes sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger) out in the gardens. The next photo down shows our dumpster mascot who we have been coaxing out of the dumpster all day. At the bottom are the round, glossy fruits of the 'Black Pearl' ornamental hot pepper. The mature peppers age to a red although I like the combination of the glossy black fruits held above the almost black foliage. We'll be involved with a flurry of picking this week prior to the weather turning grim at the end of the week.