Friday, November 9, 2012

Racine Road Trip

I was gone most of the day to do a presentation (Ferns & Mosses) in the Racine, WI area so I was here only in the early morning and late afternoon.  All of these photos were shot this morning which confirms that there is still color out in the gardens!  The grounds staff and our volunteers had a very productive day and it was nice to see the progress with both the lights show and out in the gardens with the last of our clean-up.  My talk was well-received and a good portion of the audience had not yet been to the gardens.  We hope to see them next year although we may see many in the near future as I wasn't shy about promoting the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  The top photo is a view thru that Parker Pen World Headquarters archway in to the sunken garden which is already decorated and ready to go for the HLS.  Those taller trees in the distance will have twinkle lights dangling from them very shortly.  Directly above is the 'Blue Cloak' white fir (Abies concolor) near the North Point garden which looks nice with that backing of 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora).  Directly below is the 'Carsten's Gold' mugo pine (Pinus mugo) just outside of the Japanese garden.  This conifer is chartreuse in summer but starts taking on a nice golden cast over the winter months.  The transition has been occuring over these last couple of cool weeks and this specimen is becoming more eyecatching.  The next photo down is the dried flower head of the Vanilla Strawberry panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'RENhy').  The flower was originally white with strong pink tones but I feel it is still an ornamental asset thru the winter as it holds a rigid form quite well when dry.

The grounds staff had a busy day with HLS preparations although Big John also did some gardening (see below) which included planting daffodils (Narcissus) and cleaning up debris.  John also decorated trees and worked on running some cords as well.  Marv and Terry worked on securing some of the trees that were brought back yesterday and they also strung lights on all sorts of garden elements today as well.  They have been quite creative and work well together with tackling the larger displays and trees that need attention.  Marianne repaired some lights out in her urn planters and also worked on wiring up most of the dangling icicle lights that L.P. Tree Service installed yesterday.  I used to run almost all the cords for the HLS but everyone has been helping and Marianne has saved me the most time with her skills.  Aside from my presentation today, I caught up on some other projects and am getting ready for the "tree run" on Monday.  Below the picture of John is the late season, colorful tinting of the 'Angelina' stonecrop (Sedum rupestre) which is nice and golden the rest of the year.  I like this tinting which includes pink, orange and red.  The next photo down shows the increasingly colorful stems of the 'Britzensis' willow (Salix alba subsp. vitellina) near the reception garden.  These stems are green all summer and start progressing thru an orange and ultimaltely bright crimson by winter time.  This is one of the better, larger woodies for showy stem color and we cut this specimen back severely (March) to encourage young, colorful stems and to maintain the height.  These can get quite large be we keep ours at about 9' or so.

I was out of touch with which volunteers came in today but was happy to see Kay arrive early this morning.  She helped John with the bulb planting and moved on to more debris collection near the gazebo garden.  To say that she is thorough is an understatement.  I'm sure Dr. Gredler stopped by at some point and I later saw Shirley T. in the afternoon.  Monday will be another big volunteer day with many of us heading out for trees in the morning.  Directly below is the fall color of another of our oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) which seem to have nice coloration from September until mid-November (although quite variable).  The next photo down is the 'Citronelle' coral bell (Heuchera) looking no worse for wear and shining bright in the woodland walk garden.  At the bottom is the Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) in the formal gardens getting a nice, orange fall color and looking good thru all but the heaviest snows this winter.

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