Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pre-Holiday Planting & Primping

With the 4th of July Holiday arriving tomorrow, we do like to get the gardens in order for our visitors.  Tomorrow is also a Community Appreciation Day which allows for free garden entry for all reserve, active and retired military and their families.  We typically have a nice turnout on the 4th and the gardens are looking quite colorful as seen in these blog photos.  Above is the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden looking good.  These thirteen parallel beds feature over 150 varieties of AAS winners which are arranged chronologically by their year of introduction (1933-2013).  This display is entered in a landscape design competition offered by the AAS for their display gardens.  We won 1st place for our class (100,000+ annual visitors) last year and hope to win again with this beautiful and educational display.  Directly below is our front slope starting to fill in nicely.  Note the orange tubes (painted and repurposed from Stoughton Trailer) with 'Vertigo' elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) coming out.  This area should be quite full and lush by the end of the month and next week will be our target time for weeding this entire slope.  The next two photos down show some annuals featured in the AAS collection this year.  These are the 'Royal Purple' zinnia (Zinnia elegans 'Royal Purple') introduced in 1942 and the 'Summer Jewel Pink' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) introduced in 2012 respectively.  Both are great plants (for butterflies too!) but 70 years apart in terms of their unveiling!

'Royal Purple' zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
'Summer Jewel Pink' scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)

We had some hard working volunteers today and with a shift of our Grumpy day to today (from Thursday), we still had a nice turnout.  Above are Zach (orange) and Ron P. on one of their many trips hauling/dumping shredded bark in the main parking lot and mulching the islands nicely.  The guys made many trips.  Zach later helped water all the yard plants.  Below are (left to right), Mary, Myrt and Gena who were planting one of our few remaining large areas.  They were later joined in this area by Betty, Shirley and some other volunteers shifting from a previously started planting project.  The next photo down shows Magda (kneeling) and Eva planting in another area with Vicki and Steve (next photo down).  The collective group ended up planting about 3,000 annuals today which was quite productive.  Eva, Vicki and Steve shifted also to some weeding duties in the sunken garden.  Chris and Bob G. came in to weed and plant in the sunken garden while Mary and Roy were also in to tidy their area and many others.  Dr. Gredler did his mowing rounds and Bill O. was in to work on mounting new tires for some of our older vehicles.  Maury ran some errands and we talked about some future projects.  Dick H. worked on our electric cart and made a vital gas run too.  The fourth photo down shows Janice (center) with Victoria and Jordan weeding in the vegetable beds near the Horticulture Center.  Dawn was also there to help out.  We also saw Dr. Yahr, Chuck, Nancy (reference library work), Julie G., Del and many others. 

The grounds staff had plenty of action today which included quite a bit of watering too.  We had some light rain later in the afternoon but I don't think it amounted to much.  Cindy was here for a half day and jumped right in to watering, fertilizing and weeding.  Cheryl also did much of the same in multiple locations.  Jenny fertilized, weeded and matched labels to most of our remaining annuals still left to be planted.  Big John unloaded some trees from a delivery this morning, set up and rotated many sprinklers, ran irrigation and installed the remainder of our new signs with QR codes (for smart phones).  Terry also set up many sprinklers, went on a plant run and is helping prepare the color rooms for an upgrade.  Janice helped with our volunteers most of the day but also weeded, watered, fertilized, etc.  I placed more plants this morning, had a meeting, set up sprinklers and bounced between various tasks and duties.  A couple of us will be in to water tomorrow and we'll continue to plant this Friday.  Below are some more plant images from today (identified under image).

'Pink Puffs' flossflower (Ageratum houstonianum) in the Flossflower Collection
'Can-Can Dark Purple' million bells (Calibrachoa) in the trial garden bed
perennial winecups (Callirhoe involucrata)
perennial elecampane (Inula magnifica) near the gazebo garden

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