Friday, August 23, 2013

Blue Sky Friday

It was nice to have about 7/10" of rain yesterday which made our "Friday Scramble" less stressful.  It was beautiful out in the gardens today with blue skies and temperatures right around 80 degrees F after a cool morning start.  The gardens look so vivid after a good rain and it was also nice to see a decent stream of visitors out in the gardens.  Above is the 'Chilly Chili' hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) which is just coming in to peak fruiting color late in the season.  This is one of the selections in our All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden; this variety was introduced in 2002.  We're submitting our materials for the Design Contest hosted by AAS and feel that our collection is both beautiful and educational with a chronological component (by year of introduction).  We hope to repeat our first place finish from 2012!  We all had a very productive day and will enjoy the weekend before the heat wave returns next week.  Below are some additional plants of interest from today.

'Marbles' hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual
'The Blues' little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - perennial
popcorn plant (Cassia didymobotrya) - annual (smells like buttered popcorn)
pallet planter in the All-America Selections (AAS) display garden.  That's 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) at the top! - annual

It was a beautiful day to be out in the gardens and we had some great volunteers come in to help out. Above is Terri who worked with Eva (below) in the Potter Daylily Collection. The ladies weeded and tidied up that entire slope this morning.  Later in the day, Lisa I. came in and we removed and divided some daylilies and hatched plans for that collection (which Lisa has overseen for years).  Kay (second photo down) was back in action and tidied up a good portion of the shade garden first which had lots of debris down from the rain and winds yesterday.  She does a great job and ultimately reconnected with Terri and Eva later in the morning.  These three ladies collected plenty of debris and their improvements were readily apparent!  Mary W. (third photo down) helped tidy in the herb garden and continues to collect plant data that we'll use to generate new labels for the herb garden.  This is the last garden that doesn't have any of our new, laser engraved labels.  Dr. Gredler and Bill O. both did their mowing rounds while Del (fourth photo down) came in for some path clean-up in various locations.  Betty and Shirley were in for a mobile cart tour with Chuck and enjoyed the gardens from his perspective (and from our neat, new cart).  Mary H. and her daughter Kathy were in to maintain their area as well.  We also saw Elsa, Dean and many others today.  I forgot to mention it yesterday but Jumbo Jim came in with two RECAPPERS and they did a nice job in the Japanese garden.

The grounds staff did their normal Friday rounds which included additional projects as watering duties were not as involved.  Big John and Pat were both here for half days.  Pat push mowed and patched our numerous potholes along our main gravel paths.  Big John worked on an edging project, secured a bench, hauled items back to the Horticulture Center and worked on some other projects.  Cindy tidied up the front entrance garden, did a nice cutting display and really sunk her teeth in to tidying up the AAS Display Garden.  She has officially adopted that space and has spent the most time of anyone in that area since it was planted in May!  Terry checked paths for washouts from the rain, did some shearing, watering and did a great job adjusting some gravel areas around the Horticulture Center which was a vital improvement.  I planted some perennials today as we still have some of our plants to clear out of the holding yard before the Fall Plant Sale arrivals take up space in the coming weeks.  See our website for more details on this sale which is a vital RBG fundraiser.  Be sure to check the bottom of this blog for upcoming educational opportunities at the gardens!

'Autumn Minaret' daylily (Hemerocallis) at 7' tall
orange border on terrace garden
variegated Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium 'River Mist') - perennial
flower (umbel) of dill (Anethum graveolens 'Fernleaf') - annual
duck with 'Dancing Waters' this morning
new bench placed by John and Terry near gazebo

Evening Garden Seminars, September – November 2013 

From the Mountains to your Backyard: Alpine Plants and Rock Gardening
Ed Glover, North American Rock Garden Society
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
RBG Friends Members & Master Gardener Volunteers $5/General Public $7*
Alpine plants might look delicate, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  An alpines expert, Ed Glover, will share his extensive knowledge of these tough little plants, the conditions they require to thrive and how to construct home rock gardens to accommodate their needs. Ed has managed the rock garden at Allen Centennial Gardens for the last 10 years, as a volunteer, and is involved with RBG’s rock garden as well.

Seed Saving 101
Christy Marsden, UW-Extension Horticulture Educator-Rock County 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
RBG Friends Members & Master Gardener Volunteers $5/General Public $7*
Saving seeds preserves the diverse garden heritage of North America for future generations.  Whether you’re interested in joining the seed saving movement or just curious about the topic, please welcome the new UW-Extension Horticulture Educator for Rock County, Christy Marsden.  Christy will present basic seed saving concepts, and attendees will also become well-versed on the differences between open-pollinated, hybrid, and heirloom seeds; gain an understanding of plant taxonomy; and discover facts about reproductive structures and pollination methods of backyard vegetables.  Christy’s background is in Environmental Horticulture and she is passionate about connecting people with plants while promoting sustainability.  She comes to UWEX-Rock County from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA.

The Sticky Business of Bees and Beekeeping
Wally Brown, Beekeeper and Southern District Chair, WI Honey Producers Association
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 
RBG Friends Members & Master Gardener Volunteers $5/General Public $7*
You’ve probably heard about Colony Collapse Disorder, a problem that is decimating honey bee populations worldwide.  Theories abound as to the factors contributing to this widespread phenomenon—bees leaving their hives and never returning—including pesticides, viruses, mites, cell phone transmissions, and more.  Come and hear tales from the front lines as Wally Brown, local beekeeper and honey producer, shares his knowledge of this ancient trade as well as some of the problems affecting bees and beekeepers everywhere. 

*Pre-registration not required for this series.

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