With the start of Autumn still 24 days away, the gardens are seeing the transition to late summer with plenty of cottonwood (Populus deltoides) leaves fluttering down. The recent heat feels like July but we were happy to have a cloudy day today which made it considerably cooler than yesterday! I think both staff and volunteers appreciated the heat reduction and an added breeze made the morning quite comfortable out in the gardens. We also had plenty of visitors today including two small tours. The color is still fabulous out in the gardens but the fact that we're nearing the "home stretch" over these coming six weeks is apparent. Come enjoy the gardens before cooler temperatures return. Above is the 'Cherokee Sunset' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) which really shows some nice Autumn tones out in the gardens. Below are some additional indicators of the approach of September.
fruit clusters of the oakleaf mountainash (Sorbus hybrida 'Oakleaf')
'Little Lemon' compact goldenrod (Solidago hybrida 'Dansolitlem') - perennial
'Shockwave' variegated garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) - perennial
Our volunteers were a great help again today as they are every day here at the gardens. Pat C. (above) was in early to create labels and get them out in the gardens. Here she's in the English cottage garden. Pat (and Gary) have really organized and facilitated the labeling program nicely over the last couple of years. The progress is amazing. Kay did a great job weeding and clearing spent annuals out of the entrance garden flower bed near the RBG sign. She came back with many cartloads and Kay improves any area she works in very quickly. Directly below are Mary (pink) and Myrt heading out in to the gardens. Note that they both are eating cookies before collecting leaves out in the gardens (multiple locations). The next photo down shows Janet behind the lime wall planting which she has maintained superbly since May of this year. Janet was waiting for me this morning at 6:15 am so she could get right in to the action. Dr. Gredler (third photo down) was in for his mowing duties and Stan spent time tidying in the Japanese garden this afternoon. We also saw Dick H., Dr. Yahr and many others today. The fourth photo down shows some visitors from the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG). Janice and Richard (far left) brought two CBG interns with them as well. Richard, Display Garden Manager at CBG, gave our grounds staff a great tour a couple weeks ago when we went to visit CBG. I spent some time with our CBG friends this morning and they seemed to enjoy the gardens.
The grounds staff had a day primarily filled with watering but we also did accomplish some garden tasks as well. Cindy and Pat worked half days today. Pat set up sprinklers, sheared, staked plants, planted and watered. Cindy also watered many locations, tidied up the Rainbow Garden, planted in the gazebo and watered the yard and greenhouses. Big John ran irrigation, set up many sprinklers, watered containers, new shrubs and spent time on some re-edging/path widening work down in the Japanese garden. Janice came in for some major watering duties and also spent time in the mini-pumpkin collection at the Horticulture Center. I placed plants for installation, set up sprinklers and continue to spend a lot of time in air-conditioned comfort preparing for upcoming events including the big Fall Plant Sale (see our website for details!). Below are some additional plants and gardens of interest (photos from today).
copper cheese vat planter (English cottage garden) with centerpiece of 'Royal Hawaiian Black Coral' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) - annual
'Lemon Queen' perennial sunflower (Helianthus sp.) with pollinators
'Tidal Wave' weeping katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)
the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden still looking great
"Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the NancyYahr Memorial Children's Garden
gazebo garden with arched bridge in the distance
North point garden looking tidy