Today started out with dark clouds and the promise of imminent rain. We did get some sprinkles but most of the heavier stuff went south of Janesville. We have a chance of rain over the next couple of days too although the gardens aren't drying out yet due to some nice rain last week. Consistent rain sure does keep us from slinging hoses and sprinklers so we can focus on other tasks! The rain didn't discourage anyone out in the gardens (including visitors) and we had a productive morning with volunteers and even saw some brief sunshine. Above is a shot of the formal annual sections in the Italian formal garden which are looking nice. I envisioned these blue obelisks with the 'Sylphid' plume celosias (Celosia argentea plumosa) last year and it seems to be filling in nicely and the little "punches" of color from other elements is working well too. Directly below is a seasonal composition in the reception garden. The 'Evolution Blue' mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) adds color but the silvers really glow (particularly at dusk). The most predominant silver in that image (oval, "felty" silver leaves) is the Swedish ivy (Plectranthus argentatus) which is always a great performer in our full sun summers. The grass just starting to get pinkish inflorescences (flower/seed heads) is the 'Sky Rocket' annual fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum). The rain and cooler temperatures are really extending some vivid color as seen in the next two slides down.
reception garden composition
'Denver Daisy' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) - annual
'Firecracker' variegated fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla) - annual
We had some superb volunteer help today and I'm glad the threat of rain didn't keep everyone away as we ended up having a very productive morning. Above are Rollie (left) and Dick P. smiling and driving to their exciting project seen below. Tree roots constantly heave our brick paths and the guys are leveling these "humps" and re-setting the bricks to minimize tripping hazards. These two guys also install the majority of our memorial bricks out in the gardens. The next photo down shows Dave E. (left) and Bob C. skimming and replacing path gravel. This annual chore helps keep the paths fresh and tidy, particularly along the edges. The third photo down shows Gene (left) and Dick K. doing the same project in a different area. Del was out tidying up paths and Dr. Gredler came in for mowing duties. Pat M. continued some weeding and clearing in the azalea/rhododendron garden. Gary and Pat C. were in for more label work which included label creation and placement out in the gardens. Vern, Ron Y., Dave T. and Jim continued working on carpentry projects and have some new benches to make shortly. Dick H. made some runs to the dump and helped with some indoor projects while Maury had various projects and supply runs to accomplish. Shirley and Eva were out weeding in the gazebo garden and daylily collection respectively. Mary W. had some office work and weeding out in the herb garden to accomplish. We also saw Mary F.P., Dr. Yahr, Linda K., Maggie and many others. The fourth photo down shows Magda tidying up in her assigned garden area this morning!
It was a small but effective grounds crew today with just Larry, Terry and I. Larry ran some irrigation and had some irrigation repairs to deal with this morning. Recent upgrades have improved our irrigation system but there seems to always be at least a weekly problem for Larry to troubleshoot. Larry also watered containers and helped with some other projects. Terry fueled up all the vehicles, did some shearing and spent a good amount of time in the sunken garden installing new edging and really doing a nice job tidying up around the sunken garden fountain. Terry set up some sprinklers too. I helped with various volunteer projects and initiatives, installed some new tree signs and continue to prepare for looming presentations and the Fall Plant Sale. The sale is scheduled for September 14th and 15th (9 am - 4 pm) at the Horticulture Center. RBG Members are invited to a "Members Only" pre-sale on Friday, September 13th (same time) where they'll receive not only "first dibs" but 10% off their purchases. That discount extends throughout the duration of the sale which will feature perennials, shrubs, bulbs, mums, compost, etc. We still need plenty of volunteer help with the sale so get in touch with me! Check out some additional "shots of interest" below....
rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) - perennial
'Gateway' Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum) - perennial
'Coffee Cups' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) in Magda's garden space
colorful flowers in the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme
Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden ("Pollinator's Paradise" theme)