Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Another Scorcher

Great shot taken today at the top shared by Marsha (thanks Marsha!) showing a hummingbird moth gliding towards a native bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) which is also called wild bergamot.  It was a scorcher today with temperatures in the upper 80 degrees F but a heat index well in to the 90 degrees F.  The grounds staff and our stalwart group of volunteers toughed it out as well as could be expected and watering was a big priority of course.  We saw quite a few visitors and there were some tours as well.  Above is the 'Arizona Sun' blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata) which is one of the 150 selections in our chronological display.  This selection is growing out of a pallet planter in that garden space and is thriving in the heat.  I love the blooms of all blanket flowers (Gaillardia sp.) and we plant them every year in the gardens.  Some are short-lived perennials and many are simply annuals but all bloom strongly until frost and are indispensable for color and butterflies!  Below are some other "tidbits of interest" from my sweaty time out in the gardens.

'Royal Hawaiian Black Coral' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) - annual
'Prairie Sun' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) - annual
'Carmencita Red' castor bean (Ricinus communis) - annual
'Bottle Rocket' ligularia (Ligularia hybrida), more compact than 'The Rocket' - perennial

We had some great volunteer help primarily this morning when it was cooler (which makes sense).  Above are Eva (left) and Kay (bandana girl).  The ladies, along with Patrea (seen below left with Kay) planted close to 1,000 annuals this morning near the gazebo.  We had some space to fill and this was a great spot to direct some of our "filler annuals" for color.  We will frequently keep surplus annuals in our holding yard throughout July to address any plant losses, new gaps, container pockets or other immediate needs.  The three ladies did a great job.  Ron K. tidied up the woodland walk garden all morning and Janet did a nice job touching up the "lime wall planting" which has been her assigned garden area for many years.  Stan worked a good portion of the day in the Japanese garden and both Dr. Gredler and Bill O. came in for mowing duties.  Dr. Gredler can be seen two photos down working on some turf repair which is one of his many duties as the "Superintendent of Sod."  Chuck S. came in to clean up our new cart and gave a cart tour this afternoon. Dr. Yahr handwashed many of our garden area signs which benefited from his attention. Bob T. was also in for some afternoon air edging duties.  We also saw Tina B., Marsha, Ron W., Mary W., Vern B., Jim D., Bonnie D. and many others.

The grounds staff were all troopers today as it's one thing to be out in this heat but another to be actively  gardening for eight hours in this brutal heat.  I had more than my share of air conditioning with some indoor projects and respect the staff for being so tough (including two wasp stings for Cindy today and one for Pat).  Above is the 'Suncatcher Vintage Rose' trailing petunia (Petunia) which I think is dynamite here in a container on the koi pond patio.  Those gradations of pink and rose are simply striking.  Larry spent most of the day watering and running irrigation.  He also watered our six new tree and six new shrub plantings as well as our parking lot shrubs.  Big John worked on watering, push mowing, a gas run and he ran a lot of hoses and shifted many sprinklers in multiple locations.  Pat did some garden tidying west of the Parker Education Center, push mowed and transitioned to watering in various locations.  Cindy weeded, tidied, did the cutting display and finished the day with significant watering in the gazebo garden.  Cheryl weeded in the reception garden and in the American Garden Award Display (see second photo down for one of the four "participating plants").  She also watered the yard which saw a nice reduction in plants today.  I'm working on getting ready for the Home Garden Tour this Saturday (see our website for details), placed plants for planting over the next couple of days, gave a tour and am preparing for being gone to the Perennial Plant Association Conference in Vancouver next week.  I hope to blog from Vancouver and share some of the neat sites and many gardens that I'll view.  Below are some more images from today.

flowering tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorfii) with drooping lime bells - annual
'SunPatiens Compact Electric Orange' impatiens in matching tube! - annual
the sunken garden early this morning
koi pond patio with pergola in the distance, note the petunias (mentioned above)

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