Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Rain Sandwiching Some Sunshine

We had some more nice rain overnight (4/10") which made our day a lot easier.  As I type this blog in the afternoon, it looks like we'll get more rain later today and have intermittent chances of precipitation over the next three days.  It is truly a joy not to have to worry about irrigation and watering so many containers for a couple of days.  It's also a nice respite for the grounds staff that has lived and breathed hoses and watering cans for the last two months.  It was a typical day of Wednesday gardening activity with lots of volunteers helping out.  We sold a couple more mums out of the sale and will continue to push some of the surplus over the coming weeks.  Above is the Oso Easy Cherry Pie rose (Rosa 'Meiboulka') looking nice.  Many of our roses get a strong flush at the end of the season as the temperatures cool down.  This is also a variety we sold in the plant sale and the Oso Easy series has done very well for us and is quite low maintenance.  Below is a container in the sunken garden feature the chartreuse/gold of the 'Royal Hawaiian Maui Gold' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) and some trailing sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarite').  There was another plant component in there that has long been smothered but the impact is still nice and eye catching even from a distance.  

Volunteers were a great help today and did a wide range of tasks and activities.  Above is Kay who spent a couple joyous hours testing and sorting lights for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  While the HLS is quite a ways away on the calendar, the preparations need to start now.  This is traditionally a nice rainy day project that we'll continue to "plug" away at over the coming weeks with both staff and volunteers.  Chuck S. (directly below) cleaned up our new "Garden Mobile" as he'll be giving a tour tomorrow for some mobility impaired visitors.  Chuck is a great tour guide and does a decent job cleaning up a vehicle too!  The second photo down shows the Chestnut House volunteers and assistants that came down to help "un-process" the plant sale with sorting and organizing tags and other sale elements.  Everyone did a great job and Janice kept them all busy.  Mary, Myrt and Nancy came in to tidy in the "Pollinator's Paradise" collection in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden and came back with lots of debris (weeds, spent annuals, clippings, etc.).  The third photo down shows Myrt driving at a high rate of speed causing Mary to spill her coffee.  Pat C. was in for more label creation and Vern worked on some carpentry projects.  Dr. Gredler (fourth photo down) did some mowing and aerated as he went along.  In that photo, he's aerating the temporary turf parking lot we compacted for the plant sale.  We also saw Judy L. and many others down here today.

We had a small but effective grounds staff today.  Cindy worked a half day and focused on tidying a couple different areas which included removing spent annuals and additional debris.  Cheryl also tidied some areas and cut back our larger peony (Paeonia) collection along Palmer Drive.  Big John worked on "limbing up" a large spruce (Picea sp.) for more clearance as it is along a primary path.  He also did a nice job tidying up the east border which had shrubs and perennials to cut back before it gets too cold.  He and Cheryl also helped shift around plants in the yard, many of which we still have to install (hopefully next week).  Janice was in as a volunteer and did a nice job with the Chestnut House volunteers.  Below are some additional recent images at the gardens.

'Royal Purple' purple smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) - woody shrub
close-up of above
'Pink Mass' shrub rose (Rosa) with another flush of color
'Sparkler' variegated hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual
more produce from the gardens
two of three new benches made by our Volunteer Grumpies

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