Friday, August 9, 2013

Pollinator's Paradise

It was another nice day with sunshine and a high around 80 degrees F.  The mornings are quite cool and recent rains over the past couple of weeks (with some "irrigation augmentation") have kept the gardens looking nice and colorful.  Above are the planter boxes up on the deck overlooking the formal gardens.  This is the 'Punky Red' wheat celosia (Celosia spicata) which looks great but has become a thirsty plant in these boxes which dry out very quickly!  Below is the 'Hawaiian Coral Black' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) looking nice in a container in the English cottage garden.  I like this look a lot and I think we have the most quantity (and variety!) of elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta) ever out in the gardens this year.

Fridays are always busy for grounds staff.  Above is Cindy immersed in the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden that she has tended nicely since May.  In front of her is the 'Royal Purple' zinnia (Zinnia elegans) which was an AAS winner back in 1942.  Today Cindy was watering in this collection but also spends time deadheading, staking and primping this space in general. She also worked on some other tasks.  Janice push mowed, did the cutting display, watered and tidied up multiple areas.  She continues to recruit volunteers for our Fall Plant Sale (September 14th and 15th, presale on the 13th) which should be another fun and successful fundraising event for the gardens.  We'll have the exciting array of perennials, mums, bulbs, etc.  Big John was here for a half-day and worked on running irrigation, watering and other gardening tasks.  Terry also push mowed, set up sprinklers, hauled/spread gravel and is working on tidying up the edging in the AAS garden as well.  I found myself mostly inside on this fine day getting ready for the Statewide Master Gardener Conference (UWEX) coming to Janesville next weekend.  We will have a Friday component for this event that will include a "Mini Field Day" and reception that evening.  Below are some other recent garden shots.

'Tardiva' panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) - large shrub
'Jane Trimmer' daylily (Hemerocallis) - perennial
'Arrabona' plume celosia (Celosia plumosa) - annual

We had our usual assortment of excellent volunteers today.  Bill O. (directly above) did a nice job mowing the arboretum and Dr. Gredler was also here for his standard Friday mowing duties.  Kay and Eva did a comprehensive job weeding and tidying in multiple areas with a focus on the terrace garden and reception garden.  Betty H. was in to work more in her two assigned garden areas and we also saw Mary H. and her daughter Kathy tidying up in the gardens as well.  Ron K. (directly below) continues to make the woodland walk one of our best tended gardens.  Dick H. was in the shop today working on preparing some metal supports for use in creating some new tables for the plant sale.  We also saw Bob T., Rose, Dr. Yahr and many others.  Further below are some additional plants of potential interest and some great butterfly shots out in the gardens shared by Santos M.

Autumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis) - perennial
'Mighty Mosaic' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - annual
All swallowtail photos courtesy of Santos M. (thanks Santos!)

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