With our first "test night" this evening for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS), we turned the show on right away this morning and many of us spent some time on tweaking and improvements. Maury (left) and Rollie above were helping Tom C. with some new cords that should alleviate some of our problems. I thought the guys should have turned off the power first before they got to the stage seen above though... There is still quite a bit of interest out in the gardens. Directly below is the late season foliage color of one of the Siberian irises (Iris siberica) that we've not yet cut back in the Japanese garden. The next photo down shows the Autumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis) which is fast becoming one of my favorite shorter grasses for adaptability and drought tolerance. It looks great for the vast majority of the year and also has some winter interest. The third photo down shows the dried fruit structure of the umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) in the arboretum. This structure was a bright, fleshy, red/pink color back in early fall.
With warm weather in the mid 50 degrees F today, we had a strong volunteer turnout for all sorts of tasks and duties. Directly below is Stan who continued his debris clean-up in the Japanese garden and fern & moss garden this morning. The next photo down shows Urban (ground level) and Pat pruning another of our many crabapples (Malus) near the corner sign area. These guys are a good team and will continue their pruning onslaught throughout the winter. Speaking of good teams, the next photo shows Gary and Pat with a batch of labels they installed in the gazebo garden this morning. Gary has been training Pat regarding the data entry and production steps to follow for our labeling program. They continue to make labels as our material supply allows and are also doing some inventories for sign needs in other garden areas as well. The fourth photo down shows a drag race in action. From left to right are Eugene, Lloyd and Larry H. They must have been up to 4 mph at this point! The guys did a great job transferring shredded leaf mulch to areas that were most in need (i.e. Smelly Garden). They later moved on to leaf collection in various areas. Terry came in to secure some of our repaired HLS displays and he and John also installed some of our last displays for the HLS. Marianne finalized some HLS preparations and spent time replacing bulbs for our 1/2 gallon milk jug luminaries. Dick P., Maury and Rollie worked on various projects including a supply run and help with some electrical improvements. Del worked on some carpentry projects as did Jim, Vern, Bob A. and Dave. The carpenters are working on another raised bed planter (see second photo from the bottom). Tom C. was a huge help with electrical projects today. We also saw Mary F.P., Jean S. and others today.
Big John worked on HLS projects this morning and also did some significant gardening. There are still perennials to cut back and leaves to collect in various areas. Larry helped Tom C. with some of his work and did a nice job shifting around cords to help alleviate some of our power problems. When the HLS is running for the public, Larry and I split up the evenings as we really need one of us there as a troubleshooter. We are also two of the few that know where everything is plugged in and where the cords supply power. I will state that our cord hookups are frequently quite creative. I spent most of the day also making adjustments to the show and will continue tomorrow after we see what needs some help tonight. At the bottom is one of our latest blooming perennials. This is the variegated red scabious (Knautia macedonica 'Thunder & Lightning'). You can see some of the variegated foliage that is a nice backdrop for these bright maroon, "pin-cushion-like" blooms (1" diameter) that are non-stop from June until late November.