Today was quite mild with temperatures ultimately reaching the mid 50 degrees F. The morning was chilly but not quite as frigid as the past couple of mornings. I think this will be the warmest day of the week and we took full advantage of the weather out in the gardens. At the top is the single leaf of a 'Sweet Tea' foamy bells (xHeucherella) in the shade garden getting a nice Autumn shade of brilliant pink. The summer coloration is a cinnamon orange but I've been as impressed with the late season color changes on the foliage as well. Foamy bells (xHeucherella) are a cross between coral bells (Heuchera) and foamflower (Tiarella) and are well-known for great foliage and interesting blossoms. There are many great varieties. Directly above can be seen the still bright foliage of the golden weigela (Weigela florida 'Looymansii Aurea') which is a nice shrub for not only foliage but a profusion of pink, trumpet-shaped blooms in late spring throughout the summer. Many of our weigelas have dropped their leaves already but this variety always seems to be the last to drop! Directly below is my "heads up" again that the garlic mustard (Alliara petiolata) is still looking nice and green outside and will become easier to locate, identify and eradicate. Try to remove these plants yet this fall and if another warm day over 55 degrees F appears, don't hesistate to use a little spritz of herbicide to ultimately finish these thugs! The next photo down shows the showy stems of the red-stemmed moosewood (Acer pensylvanicum 'Erythrocladum'). This variety of striped maple gets increasingly dark red stems over the winter and becomes a real focal point in the landscape. We have two of these specimens and the one featured is located just south of the gazebo garden. You can't miss it!
We had a good turnout of volunteers today that worked both inside and outside. Directly below are the carpenter Grumpies working on their new project. From left to right are Vern, Dave, Bob A. and Jim. The guys are figuring out how to best build a 20' tall obelisk for the gardens. Ultimately, we'll have more than one out in the gardens next year although this first construction may also find itself in the Holiday Lights Show (HLS)! The guys directly below also did some work associated with our three donated greenhouses. The next photo down shows Ron W. (in yellow) and Ron Y. hauling back our Adirondack chairs from the North Point garden. The guys also made many return trips with benches from the the gardens and I believe that between today's efforts and those on Monday, most of the benches are back at the Horticulture Center. Ron Y. also went out in to the gardens and brought back many loads of leaves from the sunken gWe'll be re-sanding and sealing all of these benches this winter for sure. The next photo down shows Rollie (left) and Dick (goofy red hat) who both worked on many tasks including helping John pound stakes for incoming HLS trees. Bob C. and Eugene K. headed out to the four rose crescents in the French formal garden and started skimming and removing our mulch of cocoa bean hulls which is replaced fresh each year. Stan was in later to tidy up in the Japanese garden while Bill O. also did some nice time. Maury helped Larry pick up some donated items and worked on myriad other projects relating to both of our buildings and some future upgrades. Dick H. ran a load to the dump and helped various people with various projects. Gary and Pat were in the Horticulture Center office preparing and creating more plant labels. We also saw Mary W., Kris K., Dean and many more today.
There is still plenty of color and texture out in the gardens. I continue to take pictures and am really gettting some perspective on the changes of the season. We're looking forward to a successful Market Mingle tomorrow (see www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org) and a great fall symposium on Saturday. Our preparations for the HLS continue in earnest and we'll continue to take advantage of these nice days. Most of the grounds staff will be finishing up their season over these next two weeks so we'll continue to juggle the "year end" tasks out in the gardens. Directly below is the colorful 'Evergold' Japanese sedge (Carex oshimensis) that holds color even over the winter until new growth replaces the old. The next photo down shows the interesting seed heads of the Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium). This ornamental grass gets about 36" tall and can tolerate part shade. I really enjoy these seed heads and they even rattle/rustle in the breeze. The next photo down shows a trailing foamy bells (xHeucherella 'Redstone Falls') which looks great in the border or container. The rich, autumnal tones in summer then segway to this darker red coloration. I like this variety a lot. The bottom photos show one of the first to be installed dedication benches (we now have 55). I like this quote a lot.