Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to everyone!  While it will be a chilly evening for trick or treating, at least it isn't raining!  My younger daughter is 12 years old and has informed us that she isn't interested in "trick or treating."  I think I went a lot longer than that!  I was put in the Halloween "spirit" this morning when I saw Sandy (above) in her pumpkin suit preparing for the youth education program which actually uses pumpkins as seen in that same photo.  To the left is Renee and to the right, Suzy.  We have such great education volunteers and the work they are doing is so important to our mission of providing horticultural education and appreciation for everyone.  Today was the last day of this program and we saw some school buses arrive and the kids seemed to be enjoying the program (and gardens).  The morning was brisk but the sun came out quickly and we had nice blue skies for the entire day.  Directly below is the dried flower of the 'Annabelle' smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens).  While the white flowers are long gone, the dried flower heads still offer visual interest and texture in the late season landscape.  The next photo down features some of the neat fall color of the 'Winterthur' smooth witherod viburnum (Viburnum nudum) in the fern & moss garden.  The leaves turned pink in early October and became darker thru the month.  This is a neat viburnum and one of the best for a deep red fall color.

The grounds staff had a great day out in the gardens.  While it was chilly this morning, everyone was layered and adjusted as the day began to warm up slightly.  Directly below is Marianne running lights between the milk jug luminaries.  There are close to 2,000 of these half-gallon milk jugs that will have C7 lights in them for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  If you look at the picture below, you see some green "nubs" between the jugs.  These are rubber covers that we use to seal off two sockets between jugs.  So, we're only using one of every three lights on these strands but the spacing is nice.  These luminaries guide visitors thru the entire HLS and Marianne is our veteran for getting these ready to go.  Marianne also finished putting lights on the last of the elevated urn planters (with help from John).  These should end up looking great.  The next photo down shows Pat emptying out our large urn planter near the pergola.  Pat also push mowed, decorated an obelisk and helped excavate along the path that is being widened just east of the English cottage garden.  Big John also helped with the excavation project but also secured many obelisks, helped Marianne, cut back spireas and did some additional gardening.  Marv and Terry were 100% HLS set up today. The guys put out many displays and are securing them in nice spots.  They also hauled out and placed some of our new displays which will look great.  I ran some cords today but am a bit under the weather and caught up on some desk work too.

We had a nice turnout of volunteers today as well.  Urban (directly below) spent time on the first of many crabapples (Malus sp.) that need an annual "de-suckering" this time of year.  Urban has always helped with this process and other pruning duties and we'll see him doing this work all winter.  Kay (next photo down) continued her attack on the annuals on the front slope of the entrance garden.  She had a productive morning and was later joined by Myrt and Gena in that same area.  We should finish clearing that huge space by early next week.  Ron K. continued collecting leaves from the woodland walk garden and accumulated a huge pile that would entice any kid to jump right in!  Dr. Gredler was in for mowing and leaf collection duties and Dick H. came in to run some loads of debris to the dump.  Mary F-P. and Denise, our new Funds Development Director, came over to touch base and make sure everyone was introduced.  We also saw Maury, Betsy and some others. 

As I go thru different garden areas running cords for the HLS, I'm glad to have my camera to capture late season interest in the garden.  Granted, the massive, flowing beds of annuals are gone and color is muted compared to both spring and summer.  However, the late season and winter garden should also have their interest (albeit more subtle) as well.  My topic for the fall symposium, The Winter Garden, this Saturday is actually "Landscape Design for Winter Interest" where I'll share some tips on how to maximize the appearance of the winter garden with color and texture.  Directly below is the 'Bubble Gum' lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.) that will maintain this foliage spotting/coloration until December.  This variety also has nice pink flowers in late April / early May.  Lungworts are tough as nails and are good for those tricky "dry shade" areas as well.  The next photo down is a shot of the fern & moss garden this morning.  While we've cut back most of the ferns, the moss island is still offering lots of greenery.  At the bottom is our digital sign this morning (which read 33 degrees F at 8 am!).  Note the Market Mingle that is occuring this Friday evening at the Parker Education Center.  This "always popular" event includes vendors with local foods, local crafts, specialty items from the vendors that supply Cottage Gallery Gifts (RBG gift shop) and a cash bar.  See our website for more information on this event.  P.S.  In that bottom image, look closely at the culvert pipe planters.  Marv and Terry put bright blue LED lights on those pipes that will really glow at night!

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