Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Heat Wave - Welcome (Sort Of...)

We've had quite a cool season overall and not much really warm weather.  I'm not sure we've even dabbled much over 90 degrees F yet this year.  This week we'll see temperatures up near 90 degrees F which isn't unusual and certainly was standard throughout most of the summer last year.  I like the warm up to keep our tropicals, vegetables and other "warmth lovers" happy although it's not the most fun to work out in the heat (as I type here from my air-conditioned office...).  Regardless, we'll deal with the cards we are dealt and will also continue to water.  There is a chance of rain later in the week but our policy of never counting on it has saved us many times.  I had a nice lunch with Christy Marsden, the new Horticulture Educator for Rock County / University of Wisconsin Extension.   It was nice to chat and we're both excited about the possibility of future collaborations.  Below are some colorful images from today.

'Red Cauli' stonecrop (Sedum telephium) - perennial
the "giant garden" path - (we've only lost three people in here so far...)

The staff had a busy day in the heat although the morning was very pleasant.  I was spraying herbicide this morning around the Horticulture Center property to tidy up before the Fall Plant Sale (September 14th and 15th, pre-sale for RBG members on September 13th) and ran in to one of our compost piles above.  I almost sprayed this and then looked closer to see tomatoes (Lycopersicon), flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), breadseed poppy (Papaver somniferum) and many other goodies.  All of these re-seeded plants have created an interesting arrangement that I'm going to let go and observe!  Larry ran irrigation all day, weed whipped extensively and worked on an electrical issue in the woodland walk (later joined by Tom C.).  Larry learned that weed whipping a hot pepper (Capsicum sp.) and dangling peppers creates an instant pepper spray that he'll never forget.  Pat sheared boxwoods (Buxus) and yews (Taxus). He also push mowed, watered containers and had some other tasks as well.  Big John set up sprinklers in multiple areas, push mowed and prepared two areas for new benches.  Cindy watered, fertilized, tidied multiple areas and put together a nice cutting display for the Parker Education Center.  Cheryl did some watering (including the yard) but spent most of her time rotating between three sections that needed her attention (tidying, weeding, etc.).  She also picked lots of veggies out of the gardens to share. Below are some other sightly plants from today.

'Sparkler Blush' spider flower (Cleome hybrida) - annual
variegated giant reed (Arundo donax 'Versicolor') - annual

We had some great volunteer help today. The photo above and two below show three of our all-accessible planters that the Grumpies built.  Our volunteers (Victoria, Jordan and Jenna) planted and now maintain these.  They have filled in beautifully.  We are experimenting with different styles of these planters and hope to include more in the gardens proper in the near future.  Eva was in for a nice round of weeding this morning and we saw Magda tidying up her area.  Don and Pearl continue to tweak their lime border (third photo down) which is looking awesome.  Dr. Gredler came in for mowing and Stan tidied up in the Japanese garden.  Our Garden Development & Maintenance Committee met today (Big John, Iza, Maury, Hal, Larry H. and myself) and we covered many recent developments.  Iza spent some time weeding in the alpine garden as well.  We also saw Lisa I., Urban and many others.  Further below are some additional shots from today.

lime border (maintained by Don and Pearl)
lime all planting (maintained by Janet T.)
All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden
Neat quote bench above..."No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth and no culture comparable to that of the garden, but though an old man, I am but a young gardener."  Thomas Jefferson

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