That blog title probably caught some attention. We didn't find an actual skull today but Pat found some huge puffball mushrooms out in the gardens as he was weeding. Everyone got a kick out of these and apparently they are edible. I personally feel that no mushrooms should ever be considered edible but that's just my opinion! We had another busy Thursday with activity around the gardens and another consistently strong volunteer turnout. The gardens continue to look great and while some rain would help, we are keeping up with watering as the nights have been cool and the days are still quite comfortable with highs in the upper 70 degrees F. Next week looks to be a lot warmer. We saw plenty of visitors today and I think the orange theme can be considered a solid hit. I've had at least a dozen people tell me that they never really liked orange until this year!
The grounds staff had another day of watering and other duties. Larry ran irrigation all day and helped Big John water containers. Larry also continues to repair and/or replace irrigation heads as needed. We've really spent some time (and $) upgrading our irrigation this year and we will continue to fine tune this system over the coming years. Larry also worked with Joel and Keith from Reinders (see bottom photo). Reinders is replacing our pond aeration system which is long overdue. This substantial project was funded by a grant opportunity and should result in significant improvements in our water quality. Big John set up sprinklers around the gardens, watered containers, shifted plants in the yard and worked on many other projects. Cheryl was in for a half day and did some watering and then devoted her remaining time to weeding in the Japanese garden. She has a nice eye for detail. Janice helped get the Thursday morning volunteers coordinated, worked on plant sale duties (coming in September!), watered and bounced between multiple projects. I finalized some details for our field day tomorrow which is part of the WIMGA (Wisconsin Master Gardener Association) statewide conference (held at UW-Rock County on Saturday). I also had a meeting, some garden duties and spent time finishing a looming presentation. Below are more photos of interest from today.
flowering tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorfii) - annual
'Peppermint' Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) - annual (look at that striping!)
'Royal Hawaiian Coral Black' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) in the center of our copper cheese vat planter in the English cottage garden
'Lilac Rose' zinnia (Zinnia hybrida) in our trials - annual (it really does glow!)
I love Vern's shirt (seen above)! Vern was one of many Grumpies and Grumpettes that volunteered today. Vern, Jim and Dick H. did some carpentry today, including replacing some boards on the arched bridge (see Dick below). The guys have many projects to work on which will include some new bench construction in the coming weeks. Gene, Steve, Bob C. and Ron P. worked on setting up more tents for the Family Fun Day on Sunday (see our website for details). The guys then moved on to other projects. Del (third photo down) tidied up the sunken garden which is starting to see leaves falling early off of our cottonwoods (Populus deltoides). We'll be perpetually raking up leaves now until the snow flies! Zach did a nice job watering multiple areas including the yard. Our Grumpettes included Mary R. (second photo down), Vicki, Karla and Suzy. The ladies weeded and tidied in the Japanese garden and did a great job. Dr. Gredler was in for his mowing rounds. Hal and Doris tidied their area and did some watering as well. We also saw Mary W., Maury, Maggie, Kris K., Bill O., Rose N., Rose's granddaughter Lydia and many others. Further below are some more shots from today. There was so much color to photograph and this was just a small portion of what I photographed out in the gardens today!
'Merlin Blue Morn' petunia (Petunia) - annual
'Razzleberry' stonecrop (Sedum hybrida) - perennial
'Double Click Bicolour Pink' cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) - annual
'Tie Dye' Helen's flower (Helenium autumnale)
fruits (edible & nutritious) of Corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas)
guys from Reinders were here today replacing our pond aeration equipment