Friday, December 14, 2012

Eleven More Chances!

Last night was our first night of the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) and apparently all went well and we had a decent crowd (300+) enjoy the lights.  Larry worked as the resident "troubleshooter" last night and I'll be involved this evening.  Larry and I split the nights and keep an eye out for electrical issues, safety problems, reindeer sightings, crowd control, etc.  We have a great system in place and of course rely on lots of volunteers to help with each night of the show.  There are eleven more nights that the HLS will be open (4:30 pm until 8 pm) so make sure you check the schedule at  Last night around 7:30 pm, I observed the show from the vantage point of some of our volunteers' back yard (top photo) which is across the pond from the formal gardens and a good 100' above the level of the gardens.  Most of my photos didn't turn out well but the scale of the show from that vantage point was quite impressive. We're ready for action tonight as is the 1 of 300,000 lights seen above with morning light shining thru nicely.  As I checked over the HLS layout this morning, I had no trouble finding interest out in the gardens.  Directly below is the dwarf, golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus 'Aureus Minimus') in the Japanese garden still looking good.  The next photo down is my daily update on the 'Josef Lemper' Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) which is opening nicely and will certainly be blooming at Christmas this year!

The weather today was beautiful with sunshine and temperatures around 48 degrees F yet again.  It looks like it will be dry this evening but I worry about the HLS tomorrow night with rain in the forecast as it affects the lights and visitation. Hopefully all will be well.  We'll see how it goes.  We did have some volunteers in today including Urban (below) who continued cutting back shrubs along our east border garden.  He does a nice job and brought back many loads of debris.  Dr. Gredler continued painting our garbage bins and toured part of the garden with Urban later in the morning.  Maury ran some errands for me and Janice was in for most of the morning continuing her seed catalog research for fun and tasty vegetables for the spring plant sale and ornamental edible garden.  We also saw Big John, Joanne A., Bill F. and Dick H.  The second photo down shows the golden foliage of the 'Solar Flair' wood rush (Luzula sylvatica) which holds color over the entire winter until new growth emerges in late April.  The third photo down is a morning shot in the fern & moss garden this morning.

I finished organizing all my photos from this year which is in record time for me.  I rarely have time to organize my photos during the season and spend most of the winter poking away at it.  It looks like I took almost 14,000 photos this year and after purging, sorting, etc, I'm in good shape to move on to other tasks and prepare some of my spring presentations as time allows.  I also risked hand blisters today by planting the last 200 or so daffodils (Narcissus) that were donated.  I also did some HLS odds and ends which included hauling over some more decorations to the Parker Education Center.  Directly below is the colorful, late season foliage of the 'Sea Foam' rose which has been one of our most durable roses over the years.  This color doesn't appear until November but is quite sightly until buried by snow.  The next photo down is a leaf of the 'Autumn Bride' coral bell (Heuchera villosa) or alumroot.  This variety has green leaves for the entire growing season and nice white flowers in September and October.  This leaf color comes very late but caught my eye today.  The next shot features the seed heads of the 'Kokumon' tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa).  The seeds have already dropped but this perspective from above shows the beautiful symmetry that Mother Nature has provided.  At the bottom is another awesome sunrise that I captured at 7 am this morning.  When my daughters sleep in late I tell them that they're missing some spectacular sunrises!

"What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!

Logan Pearsall Smith 

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