The weather was simply perfect today with sunshine, a light breeze and temperatures in the upper 70 degrees F. It was certainly perfect gardening weather and the gardens in general are at their most colorful right now for summer. We had a great turnout of volunteers and we were all happy to see many visitors out in the gardens. We're doing some "fine tuning" out in the gardens in preparation for our Love In Bloom - A Garden Bridal Expo this Sunday at RBG. See our website for more details if you're interested. Of course we want the gardens at their best all of the time but we added a bit more "polish" today. Above is the 'Fatal Attraction' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) which is known for this bright magenta color and slightly upright petals that don't droop. Directly below is a massing of the compact, 'Viette's Little Suzy' black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa) with the 'Summer Beauty' ornamental onions (Allium tanguticum) directly behind the grouping. The second photo down shows the beautiful foliage of the 'Blazin' Lime' bloodleaf (Iresine hybrida) which is adding some nice color in the shade garden right now as a seasonal addition.
Our small grounds staff today had many tasks and objectives. Above is Big John working on tidying up the edging in the gazebo garden. He did quite a nice job in this area and the definitions between paths and beds are as sharp looking as they've been in recent memory. John also planted shrubs, removed shrubs, watered containers and helped with some other tasks. Janice helped get some of our Thursday volunteers organized and on track. She also had her own work to do with tidying the English cottage garden, weeding in select locations, had a meeting and yard watering. Larry ran irrigation and did a full day of string trimming and mowing out in the gardens. I helped place plants this morning for planting, had a meeting and am preparing for our fall plant sale and a Friday event (August 16) that we're having in conjunction with the WI Statewide Master Gardener Conference (UWEX) held in Janesville on that weekend (at UW-Rock County). The Friday component at RBG will include a "mini field day" in the afternoon and I'll do a presentation at a reception (at RBG) that evening. Below are the glowing blooms of the 'Mystic Haze' dahlia (Dahlia hybrida) which is a great, dark-leaved variety that is a vital part of our orange theme this year, particularly in the terrace garden.
Volunteers were a vital part of all the activity today. We had a strong turnout of both Grumpies and Grumpettes (like Suzy above and both Marilyn and Shirley below). Suzy, Marilyn and Shirley (second photo down) did a great job weeding and planting in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden which currently has our "Pollinator's Paradise" theme. The ladies put in another 500 "filler annuals" to address some new (and old) gaps. They shifted to weeding then with Steve in the formal gardens. Karla and Eva were planting near the arboretum (more gaps) and also shifted to weeding. Bob C. and Zach skimmed more path gravel and tidied up along the edging near the shade garden. Ron B. continued organizing pots and Dr. Gredler was in for more mowing. Dave T., Vern, Jim and Ron Y. worked on some carpentry projects and installed some of our new NO TRESPASSING signs. The guys have some future projects to accomplish soon including making benches and creating "coyote cutouts" out of plywood to keep the geese (and their poop) away. We also saw Larry H., Maury, Mary W. (office work), Dr. Yahr, Judy L., Ray, Art and many others. Further below are some neat plants seen today. Note that the Potter Daylily Collection is at peak as evidenced in the three daylily (Hemerocallis) samples below.
'Haight Ashbury' annual hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)
'Cranberry Crush' hibiscus (Hibiscus hybrida) from the Summerific Series (12" diameter bloom!)
'Pink Scintillation' daylily (Hemerocallis)
'Brave World' daylily (Hemerocallis)
'Arnold's Daughter' daylily (Hemerocallis)
the orange theme succeeds along the terrace garden border