There were plenty of preparations in motion today for both the Market Mingle this evening and the Spring Symposium tomorrow at RBG. Above are four students from Shepherds College (Union Grove, WI) with their instructor, Leslie, to the far right. The students brought pansy plants (foreground) that they grew specifically for the event tomorrow. These four students are also RBG volunteers and helped us last year with garden clean-up and bulb planting in the fall. Kris K. coordinated much of the activity at the visitors center for set-up needs today. Maury, Dick H., Bill O, Mark S. and I set up the big screen for the event tomorrow. It was a whirlwind today and I'm not sure I kept up with everyone coming and going. I had meetings with Paul T., Cindy B. and Jason. Pat was out pruning this morning in the Japanese garden while Urban and I took a tour of the gardens to scope out some other "pruning opportunities." Bill O. went out to clean up debris and he also helped Dick H. repair the brakes on one of our pick-up trucks. Rose was in for staining efforts and Dr. Gredler put another coat of paint on a potting bench. Janice bounced between buildings and I also saw Maury, Big John, Chris G. and many others. It was a busy Friday!
I thought I'd feature some more neat foliage annuals and alternantheras (Alternanthera sp.) certainly come to mind. This wide ranging genus is in the Amaranthaceae family and includes variable species, some being vigorous aquatic plants. There are many common names for these plants including Joseph's coat, calico plant, etc. Full sun is essential for the best foliage color although part shade is acceptable. There are some great species and varieties for the home garden that offer considerable foliage interest in the bed, border and container. The habit (form) of most species is quite informal and they do well with "neighboring support" as seen directly below. Many lend themselves to the container or front of the border with shorter heights and/or threadleaf foliage. Some selections are perfect "spillers" for the side of a container or path. We've grown many varieties in the past and there are no shortage of new varieties coming out each year. When you select a variety, consider foliage color (of course), habit and height for appropriate usage. Below are just some of the many available selections of this durable seasonal plant.
'Black Knight' with golden coleus
'Brazilian Red Hots'
'Brazilian Red Hots'
Alternanthera reinickii with Mecardonia 'Goldflake'
Alternanthera reinickii as repeated trailer
'Royal Tapestry' with caladiums
'Creme' de Menthe'
'Raspberry Rum' (sideways...)
'Sommelier Pinot Gris'