Mondays are traditionally the busiest days of the week out in the gardens as we have most of the grounds staff and always a good volunteer turnout of Grumpies and other volunteers. Thursday would be a close second for having the largest "presence" out in the gardens. Needless to say, it was another busy day with a wide range of tasks going on at the Horticulture Center and out in the gardens. I saw a group of four ladies (visitors) enjoying the gardens today and they asked me some questions regarding various trees. I knew they were "true gardeners" as they really enjoyed all the finer points of the late season garden and were roaming for quite some time. The top photo features the fruits of the American cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) near the zig-zag bridge. We have many specimens of this species and while they have variable fall color at times, the fruit production this year has been nice and I'm sure the birds will enjoy it later in the season. Directly above is a photograph I took in my garden yesterday. This is the 'Single Korean Apricot' perennial mum (Chrysanthemum) which is my latest blooming plant and has ignored the thermometer every morning to bounce back and look great. The pollinators are doing what they can before the season ends for them as well! Directly below are the "silver backed", recurved needles of the 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' Korean fir (Abies koreana) in front of our building. This slow-growing (and expensive) conifer looks great every day of the year and appears "silver frosted" from any distance. The object two photos down is our "acorn" (sometimes called a pineapple by others) that adorns the peak of our gazebo. I've never photographed this as I've also never found myself up 15' looking at it and happening to realize I had a camera in my pocket. I don't like heights but Larry and I strung some lights on the second tier of the gazebo and I even put some lights on this adornment as I was already there anyway! The new roof this spring (thank you donors!) made traction decent.
Some of our Grumpies were camera shy today (see below) which is unusual for most of them! Actually, these guys were cutting back a patch of roses this morning and bent right to the task. That's actually Russ, Lloyd and Eugene although all of these guys later moved on to collecting leaves and debris. The next photo down shows Ron W. (foreground) and Ron Y. in the distance collecting leaves and debris near the gazebo garden. Pat and Bob C. continued collecting old cocoa bean mulch from around our rose collection in the French formal garden and Stan was tidying up in the Japanese garden (with later help from Russ). Dick H. ran to the dump and later helped Dick P. with some projects (including hauling our terrace furniture to storage). Rollie helped with various projects as did Maury after he returned our rental screen (from the Saturday symposium) to Madison. Dr. Gredler peeled labels for re-use next year and he should be back to mowing tomorrow as his repaired mower was delivered after he left for the day. Mary W. collected debris from the herb garden and Tom C. finished some electrical projects for us. We have plenty of work for Tom C. and his help around the gardens has been invaluable. Dave T., Bob A., Vern and Jim all continued work on the monstrous, 20' tall obelisk and should get it done by next week. We hope to use the first (of five) of these out in the Holiday Lights Show (HLS). Gary and Pat C. did a nice job continuing to process, prepare and inventory many of our new labels. While we're running out of labeling supplies for the year, the progress has been amazing this year with thousands of professional, new plant labels out in the gardens.
The grounds staff worked mostly on HLS activities today. Above is Big John who secured many more obelisks and displays out in the gardens today. John also hauled out the surplus, spring-flowering bulbs from the Parker Education Center that we'll now plant out in the gardens. John also did some garden clean-up as well. Marv and Terry continued to put up more displays around the gardens and unpackaged and prepared a new display for placement later this week. Directly below is their project from Friday which looks amazing and is an improvement in size (and appearance) from last year. This is the sixth week in a row Marv and Terry have worked on HLS and their progress is amazing. Marianne finished up her luminary work and moved on to some other projects including helping run extension cords for me. Larry finished working on lights along the eaves of the Parker Education Center and helped with other projects as well. I ran cords most of the day and felt I put a "good dent" in this laborious process.
The second photo down shows the fruits of the cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli) in the arboretum. While the fruits aren't overly attractive on this species, they are great for birds and very plentiful. All of our Crataegus in the gardens have proven quite an attractant for resident and transient birds alike. The next photo down doesn't look real showy. However, all of the green plants in that image are European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). There are almost no native, deciduous trees/shrubs in the understory that still have leaves. This is the ideal time of year to be able to identify and locate this thug as it will retain green leaves throughout the month. On a warm November day, we cut these to the ground and paint the fresh stump with concentrated Round Up or a potent brush killer. We'd had enormous success killing buckthorns with this approach and quickly came to realize how difficult they are to hand dig! The bottom photo shows Brent Gustason from Midwest Groundcovers (www.midwestgroundcovers.com/). Brent was one of our speakers for our fall symposium (The Winter Garden) which went very this past Saturday. My presentation was well-received as were the other two. Stan Tekiela, author, photographer, naturalist, did a superb presentation on birds to end the event. Kudos to Kris for a great event.