I had a great week on vacation and was able to spend time with the family, catch up on some household duties (I somehow got out of re-sanding and re-finishing hardwood floors...whew!) and home gardening. It was nice to be back but I'm always buried with lots of emails, phone messages and mail! It's also nice to be welcomed back by the beauty and fragrance of the 'Satisfaction' lily (Lilium hybrida) seen above in the English cottage garden. Note the bird feeder in the background was made to mimic our actual gazebo out in the gardens. This fragrant lily is classified as an Orienpet which means a cross between an Oriental lily and trumpet lily. The heat tolerance, fragrance and color range of this type of lily have me hooked and the 50 or so of this variety in that garden offer unbelievable scent. I have a tight turnaround this week with gardening duties and preparations for the Home Garden Tour which is this Saturday, July 20th from 9 am - 3 pm (rain or shine). Get your tickets in advance for $10 from RBG, K&W Greenery or Patty's Plants (Milton). You can also buy tickets the day of the event for $12 from all three venues or from any of the eight neat garden sites. Children 12 and under are free and there will be local musicians at each of the sites as well. See the RBG website for more details. Below is the 'Summer Beauty' ornamental onion (Allium sp.) which is a dynamite, clumping perennial with plenty of persistent and colorful flower power. The next photo down shows one of our two repurposed "pallet planters" in the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden. The 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) is filling in well and the 'Crystal White' zinnias (Zinnia angustifolia) are thriving along the sides. The third photo down shows the perennial fairy candles (Cimicifuga racemosa) with upright white spires blooming in the reception garden. There are varying opinions on the fragrance but few would argue the architectural value!
The gardens matured well over the week with lots of areas filling in nicely. It really is amazing how quickly the summer months push plants along. Despite some rain early last week, it sounds like we had nice volunteer help daily and today was no exception. Above is Eva weeding in the ornamental edible garden as of course, the weeds haven't taken a break at all. Shirley worked with her as well. Mary and Roy came in for some weeding in the shade garden. Larry H., Lloyd and Gene did a nice job mulching in the main parking lot islands. Gene later helped us water. Pat M. weeded the mulched tree circles in the arboretum and did a nice job. Bob C. and Ron W. put some finishing touches on our tree planting project from last week, hauled some benches and later Bob shifted to more path clean-up. Dick P. cut more aluminum stakes for future labels and Ron Y., Jim D. and Vern bounced between various carpentry projects. Stan spent quite a bit of time in the Japanese garden tidying up. Dr. Gredler did his mowing rounds and we also saw Dr. Yahr, Ron B., Deb G., and many others. Gary and Pat C. continued progress on the labeling program and the engraver was humming along all morning. Below are a couple more shots of our orange theme filling in nicely with the front entrance garden slope directly below.
'Torch' Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)
'Magellan Orange' zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
Simply put, it was a hot and sweaty day for the grounds staff. Above are Big John and Terry shearing boxwoods (Buxus sp.) in the formal gardens this morning. Both guys went on to other jobs including plenty of watering. Larry ran irrigation all day, moved around sprinklers and did plenty of handwatering too (as seen below). Cindy watered the AAS Display Collection and tidied it up as she went along. Cindy also watered the yard and worked on some odds and ends. Unless we get some rain this week, we'll mostly fall in to our watering routine which we are all too familiar with from last summer. Some other plants and features of interested can be seen further below (identified under each image).
Quickfire panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Bulk')
Incrediball smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Abetwo')
dahlia (Dahlia 'Chic Red')
gazebo border (annuals right now, perennials installed this fall)