This past weekend was overcast and drizzly (is that a word?) both days and the sun didn't peak out until this morning. The drizzle amounted to 1.5" which is better than nothing considering the overall year. The weather was perfect for getting out in the gardens and continuing our fall efforts with plenty of volunteer assistance. The top photo is the awesome fall color of the three-flower maple (Acer triflorum). This smaller scale maple (native to Manchuria & Korea) has interesting, trifoliate leaves (look closely) and also very nice ornamental bark. We have this species in a couple areas as an understory tree that still gets some nice fall color. This species is hardy for our climate and I've never seen a bad specimen anywhere. Regardless, give it some consideration. Our ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) is still getting more colorful (directly above) and continues to offer color wherever we have placed it out in the gardens.
We had a great group of volunteers today. Below are Jim, Bob A., Vern, Dick H. and Rollie assembling the second of three donated greenhouses for the gardens. The guys are doing a nice job and we'll finish the last one within the next two weeks or so. Ron W., Ron Y., Bob C. and Lloyd put up three tents in the gazebo garden for our looming Halloween Walk (see www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org). The guys moved on to some other projects which included garden clean-up. Larry H. was out collecting leaves (no shortage)and both Russ and Urban helped Marianne and Big John remove plants from the entrance garden. There was plenty of tidying to accomplish as well. Dr. Gredler came in for mowing and leaf collection. We also saw Dr. Yahr (helped collect leaves), Mary F.P. (Exec. Dir.), Janice, Magda, Mary W., Bill O. and many others as well.
The grounds staff had a busy day of mixed projects which included traditional gardening work and Holiday Lights Show (HLS) duties as well. These "combo" days will now continue until the HLS is up and ready to go. Directly above is one of our perennial geraniums (Geranium sp.) getting some nice fall color. Leave geranium foliage up thru November as you may see some neat coloration. Marv and Terry were out putting icicle lights up on many of our structures and other garden elements. The guys are testing/repairing them as they go and both guys also helped prepare HLS lights at the Horticulture Center. Larry helped with a wide range of tasks for the Halloween Walk and continued to run cords for this event. These cords are then in place for the HLS. Big John and Marianne dove right in to removals in front of the Parker Education Center. There are a lot of plants out there to remove and the biomass is daunting. We have a workday scheduled for this Saturday and one of our tasks will be to plant 2,000+ bulbs in this newly cleared space. The bottom two photos show just some of the many crates o' bulbs awaiting our attention this Saturday. The bottom photo features tulips (Tulipa) with the other showing garden hyacinths (Hyacinthus). While 80% of our annuals have been removed, we still have some large areas to remove before another hard frost. Marianne shifted later to HLS work while John planted perennials in the English cottage garden and also worked on lights. I caught up on various tasks, placed plants out in the gardens and am getting ready for our volunteer appreciation dinner and our Fall Symposium. This symposium, The Winter Garden (November 3), promises to be great event. Check it out at www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org. The photo below is the perennial bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus ssp. sanguineus) still looking good with deep red veins and some fortuitous backlighting.