Monday, August 19, 2013

Calm After The "Storm"

My blog title doesn't refer to any precipitation although we sure could use some now!  The "storm" included a busy weekend with five weddings, the WIMGA (Wisconsin Master Gardener Association) conference activities on Friday, Family Fun Day (Sunday), etc.  It is nice seeing the gardens busy and I'm still pleased to see so many visitors going through the gardens daily (today too!).  Above is a photo of some of the plants in the formal annual sections of the Italian formal garden.  The lime green, plume celosia (Celosia plumosa 'Sylphid') is predominant (in the lime themed area too!) but there are other goodies in there as well including that blue dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea 'Lacinato').  Although the gardens are exhibiting a "touch of autumn" with early cottonwood (Populus deltoides) leaves fluttering down, there is still lots of color to enjoy.  Below are some other recent shots featuring some nice plant features out in the gardens.

turtlehead (Chelone obliqua) - perennial
'Zahara Sunburst' zinnia (Zinnia marylandica) - annual
'Cheyenne Sky' switch grass (Panicum virgatum) - perennial

Our Monday volunteer army kept busy out in the gardens.  Shirley (above) started weeding in the gazebo garden and later moved to the English cottage garden to do some perennial planting.  Eva (directly below) spent her morning in the gazebo garden weeding and moved on to other areas as well.  Bev W. tidied her area in the sunken garden and Betty H. did the same in her garden space.  Most of the Grumpies (Ron W., Rollie, Gene, Bob C., Ron B., Dick P. and Maury) worked on dismantling the tents from out in the gardens (used for the Family Fun Day on Sunday). They then started re-assembling the tents out in the Horticulture Center yard for the Fall Plant Sale which is only one month away (September 14th and 15th, presale on the 13th for RBG Members).  Some of the guys moved on to other projects too.  Jim D. and Vern continue to work on some new benches. Pat M. and Gary S. watered all the new trees across the pond from the North point garden and moved on to path clean-up with Del H.  Stan (third photo down) spent time tidying up in the Japanese garden.  Pat C. worked on some office projects but also went out to inventory more labels out in the gardens.  Dr. Gredler was in for mowing duties.  We also saw Kris K., Tom C. (electrical advice) and many others today.

The grounds staff had an easy day (not really).  With a hot week ahead of us, we're doing a lot of watering.  Cindy (above) can be seen here watering a portion of the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden that she has maintained since spring.  She then tidied up these chronologically arranged beds (year of introduction, 1933-2013).  This collection has been entered in a Landscape Design contest organized by AAS for their display gardens.  We won last year and feel that this collection is quite stellar as well and contains more of an "educational twist."  Cindy also had other watering duties including the yard.  Larry ran irrigation all day, did his string trimming rounds and had some other duties as well.  Big John and Terry each had areas to water, fertilize and set-up sprinklers.  The guys also took care of watering containers and spent some time shearing the enormous yew (Taxus) hedging around the koi pond patio.  This is a lot of trimming and the end result is very nice and sharp.  I placed plants for installation today and continue to prepare for looming events.  Below are some additional shots from the gardens.  Please note the bottom photo and caption underneath it....

'Silver Falls' Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum) - perennial
Mariachi 'Salsa' Helen's flower (Helenium autumnale) - perennial
'Mesa Yellow' blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) - short-lived perennial
'All Gold' perennial Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra) softening a boulder wall
There are still a couple openings for our Saturday, September 7th bus trip to the Chicago Area (7 am - 6:30 pm) where we'll enjoy the Morton Arboretum (a must see) and the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Park & Zoo.  Don't miss out on the is fun and educational trip!  Seats are filling quickly.

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