Today was also overcast and drizzling for most of our time at the gardens. We arrived this morning to a power outage at the gardens (and neighboring area) although the power came on before we had to figure out how we would approach the day. I never saw the sun today although it tried to emerge in mid-afternoon. However, it was fairly warm and it looks like tomorrow may break a record for a high temperature (upper 70 degrees F). I hope the rain holds off so we can spend more time out in the gardens. Despite the dreary weather, we saw lots of children out in the gardens as part of our education program. They actually traverse the gardens and head out to the prairie restoration as part of their experience. There is still no shortage of color out in the gardens either. At the top is the bright fall color of the Beaver Creek witchalder or fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii 'Klmtwo') in the woodland walk garden. In that same area is the 'Citronelle' coral bells (Heuchera) seen above. This perennial has the best yellow/chartreuse coloration in spring and right now!
The grounds staff spent a good portion of the day inside although the afternoon was a little better for getting outside in to the gardens. Two photos up are Big John and Janice in the Horticulture Center where they were working on Holiday Lights Show (HLS) tasks along with Pat. Note their new nametags! Janice's reads "Yes! I'm having fun!!" while John's says "No!! Go away! My Name is John". Both of those are, I think, in reference to my often asked question about whether they're having fun with HLS activities or not! Janice and Pat worked on decorating many obelisks with lights this morning. These are an important part of the HLS. See Pat directly above. Big John also worked on lights but went out to the entrance garden in front of the Parker Education Center to start putting lights on many of the evergreens right in front of the building. Pat later went out to remove plants in the reception garden. Janice worked on some other tasks but spent most of her efforts on HLS work. As chairperson of the RBG Volunteer Committee, she's heavily involved with preparations for the Volunteer Recognition Dinner tonight. Larry worked on removing more plants from the reception garden and started putting up his arches for the HLS. These PVC arches will ultimately have lights secured to them in the coming week or so. Next week is full steam ahead for HLS preparations as we'll take advantage of the weather before it gets too cold. I primarily worked on finishing various desk projects and presentations. I did go on a shopping run for more LED lights and some other HLS supplies. Directly below is the fall coloration of 'The Blues' little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) which we have throughout the gardens. The spring and summer coloration is a nice powder blue. The next photo down shows another deciduous conifer in our alpine garden getting a nice orange needle color before dropping this textural foliage shortly. This is the Debonair columnar pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens 'Morris'). This specimen is an eye catcher texturally all summer but this color really catches the eye in late October.
We didn't have many volunteers today but those that came in were very helpful. Dr. Gredler came in for some mowing duties but the constant misting encouraged him to come back on a drier day. He did help the gang decorate a couple of obelisks as well. Maury came in for a meeting with me this morning and went on a supplies run for HLS replacement bulbs (for our 1/2 gallon milk jug luminaries). We also saw Chuck S. and many of the education volunteers out in the gardens. Directly below is the fall color of the Dreamcatcher beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco') in the woodland walk garden. In spring the leaf coloration is orange on the newest leaves (seen as yellow below) and the rest of the shrub is golden (where you see maroon). This gradation of fall color caught my eye as the yellow leaves on the ends of all the branches captured my attention. The next photo down is the fall color of the fragrant abelia (Abelia mosanensis) which also has some great spring interest with very fragrant pink flower clusters. At the bottom is the clear, golden-yellow fall color of the fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) which also has a super duper spring look with wispy white, fragrant flower clusters. Look these up for more information. I'm looking forward to our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner this evening and we expect over 130 attendees.
GOOD NEWS! The registration deadline for our fall symposium, The Winter Garden, has been extended to Monday, October 29th. Check out symposium details at www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org and get registered soon!