We had a lot of progress today on the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) and are on track to wrap it up by this Friday. I think we're over 90% complete with the exception of some final displays and cord running. This was another monumental effort and kudos to everyone that helped with the set-up and preparations, especially the RBG grounds staff. The day was quite nice and the sunshine kept the day pleasant, particularly in the afternoon. I had my camera in my jacket pocket all day (which isn't unusual) so was able to catch some nice November color and interest. At the top is the 'New Look' dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) which is very frost tolerant and isn't a true annual. We've seen various dusty miller plants make it thru the winter too although we treat them as an annual and replant every year. The shot directly above is some of the last of the fall color on one of our burning bushes (Euonymus alatus) near the woodland walk garden. Directly below is the 'Plum Pudding' coral bells (Heuchera) still showing off some beautiful foliage. While coral bells regenerate new foliage each year, the old foliage is colorful throughout the winter. The next photo down shows the coppery fall color of our only American beech (Fagus grandifolia) which is in the Japanese garden. We have some nice European beeches (Fagus sylvatica) too although the native species is beautiful, particularly with age. When I worked at Fernwood Botanic Garden (Niles, MI), there were enormouns American beeches in the surrounding woods and they were impressive with 3'+ wide trunks and mature heights over 70' tall.
We had some great volunteer assistance today out in the gardens and with our HLS preparations. Whitey B. was in all day and did a nice job of decorating many more of our temporary spruces (Picea) that were obtained Monday. Whitey is a great worker and we appreciate his time over these last two days. Dr. Gredler was in this morning to help process some new lights. Maury popped by a couple of times and is going to get us a couple more HLS cords so we can continue wiring tomorrow. We're getting very light on cords due to new displays and some creative power diversions...). Nancy (below) was joined by Gena and Myrt (next photo down) this morning as all three ladies did a nice job collecting leaves and perennial debris in the Scottish garden. This was one of our last gardens to clean-up and the ladies did a great job as usual. The third photo down shows Pat who was here all morning helping Whitey decorate trees out in the gardens. We also saw Kris, Mary W. and many others. We'll continue to garden as long as the weather doesn't turn too sour!
All five of the grounds staff (myself included) jumped right in to HLS preparations and that's all we did. Big John (seen below with his spruce hat) hauled and secured many trees, modified displays and in general, was a great help with other projects as well. Marianne helped wire up the many icicle lights installed by L.P. Tree Service yesterday. This involves hundreds of drop cords and John also helped with this process. Marianne also finished up her luminaries for the HLS route. Marv and Terry placed and secured another new LED lights display (second photo down), put lights on trees and hung up additional lights and HLS features. I also ran cords all day and will spend most of tomorrow and all of Friday finalizing the cord connections. The third photo down shows a view thru the "cheese mold" circle over the pond to the observation pier. The bottom photo is one of our many metal sculptures out in the gardens. John pointed this one out today and I remembered when it was installed the first year I was at RBG (1998).