Today was the first day that I seriously dove in to our 2013 catalogs (some seen above). While I've been perusing them at home for the past month or so, I'm now starting to get our seed orders prepared based on our 2013 color themes and collections. While we don't pre-plan every garden area, we do commit to certain colors and collections well in advance so we can locate seeds/plants, coordinate growers and be ready to hit the ground running in spring. The next four months will go very quickly with preparations for 2013. I actually go thru every catalog I receive from cover to cover. I not only like to see new plants but there are many other items in these catalogs that may have merit at the gardens (tools, containers, etc.). They are also fun to read! Today was another sunny and unseasonably warm day (55 degrees F) but we'll take it. We actually did some mowing today for the first time in December (ever) for us. Some plants, like the bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus ssp. sanguineus) below think it's spring and are sprouting again! It looks like we'll return to colder temperatures with cold rain and possible snow arriving this weekend. The Holiday Lights Show (HLS) isn't open for the public until Thursday, December 13th (check www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org for show dates, times and details). However, we have to turn the lights on various times this weekend for corporate parties and some other events. It certainly is a nice "selling point" for rentals!
We had a nice contingent of volunteers at the gardens today. Pat was out pruning trees this morning and Larry H. was in most of the morning and early afternoon continuing to cover our yews (Taxus sp.) with burlap. This is essential not for winter hardiness issues but for deer protection. Last week, Larry was involved with putting mesh netting on plants for the same purpose. Urban was in this morning for some painting as was Dr. Gredler. I certainly get plenty of comments on my paint color selections (most not complimentary) but I'm used to that. I always say, "Wait to you see what it looks like out in the garden...". Del did some more work on his deer cutouts and Vern stopped by as well. Bill O. worked out in the gardens (mowing and clean-up) and helped at the Horticulture Center as well. Dick H., Dick P. and Maury were around this morning for a meeting regarding our annual spring tree sale with the Golden Kiwanis Club. Glenn, John and Curly from Golden K were there as well. We're looking forward to a great sale (our third annual) in April (details to follow) that will feature bare root transplants ($1.85 each plus tax) of red oak (Quercus rubra), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), Norway spruce (Picea abies), Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens glauca), Black Hills spruce (Picea glauca var. densata) and white pine (Pinus strobus). Some needle clusters of the native white pine can be seen in the bottom photo. We also saw Charlotte and some others today. Directly below is the late season reddening on the foliage of the red barrenwort (Epimedium x rubrum). This perennial is tough in shade and part shade and the spring flowers are a nice feature as well. The next photo down shows the dried flower structure of the 'Tardiva' panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) which I think still has interest and would even look good in a dried arrangement. New growth and flowers will push this off next spring but why not enjoy the winter interest?
Today was Big John's last day for 2012. He was getting fairly emotional and teary-eyed but who could blame him (tears of joy perhaps!?). John did some work out in the gardens, repaired a shovel and continued to process our most recent lights donations. Larry and I did some work on the HLS this morning and Larry was out doing some more last minute improvements and fine tuning. Larry also shuffled our trailers around and we're really getting ready for winter as we know it can arrive quite quickly. Directly below is a recent image that Dale S. ("Mr. Moss") sent me of his bird bath. What a neat use of moss and no one grows moss better than Dale! The next photo down is the last color transition from the 'Brass Lantern' foamy bells (xHeucherella) in the shade garden. Although the foliage is flattened, it is still very showy, as are almost all of our foamy bells around the gardens.