Friday, September 6, 2013

Mum Is The Word

The mums have started arriving for the Fall Plant Sale (see our website) as seen above.  These are between "basketball" and "beach ball" size and are $8 each!  Of course the sale will also feature hundreds of varieties of perennials for sun and shade, ornamental grasses, shrubs, roses, bulbs, compost and many other "goodies".  The sale should be spectacular and it's a great time of year to plant.  We're organizing the yard at the Horticulture Center to accommodate all the incoming plants with these mums being the first component of the sale to arrive.  It was a cool start to the morning that quickly warmed up and became sticky.  The chance of rain tomorrow is slim which is bad for the gardens but good for the Bus Tour that 50+ of us will be taking to the Chicago area to see The Morton Arboretum and the Lincoln Park Conservatory/Gardens/Zoo.  The traffic and construction wont be fun but at least I'm not driving.  Below are some recent images from the gardens.

'PowWow Wildberry' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) - perennial (AAS Winner)
'Silver Heart' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) - perennial
'Sky Rocket'  variegated fountain grass (Pennisetum x advena) - annual

I didn't keep up with my typical images of our fine volunteers today as I was caught unloading mums and getting ready for the big plant sale.  However, we had a nice turnout of helpers including Bill O. (above) who came in early to mow the arboretum.  With an early wedding in the sunken garden today, we like to have all the mowing done and loud equipment work finished.  Dr. Gredler also came in for his mowing duties.  Vern was in for carpentry projects almost the entire day.  Del came in and helped unload mums.  Kay (below with her ninja bandana) did a nice job collecting debris in her assigned section of the shade garden which has an overhead canopy of cottonwoods (Populus deltoides).  The trunks behind her are all from 50' tall cottonwoods with thousands of leaves just starting to flutter down.  She collected multiple loads with more to go!  Eva and Terri spent the morning tidying up the sunken garden for the upcoming weddings (three in that garden).  They did a great job.  Ron and Bev W. both came in as well and also helped in that area.  Ron did some solid clean-up work and Bev has done a fabulous job maintaining her corner of the sunken garden.  The second photo down shows the team tidying up after Dr. Gredler mowed the turf.  We also saw Bev I., Deb G., Maury, Dr. Yahr, Kris K. and many others.

All of our grounds staff were involved in watering today.  Big John and Pat had half days which also included watering.  John ran irrigation, smoothed out the large area for the incoming mums and worked on some other projects.  Pat tidied up some areas, collected leaves, set up sprinklers and hand watered.  Terry push mowed, set up many sprinklers, put in some new edging and watered most of the containers this afternoon. Cindy watered many areas before ending up in the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden for watering and tidying.  She also finished watering half of the mums after I finished the first half before lunch.  Both of our mum vendors arrived today with four collective deliveries (two more left for next week).  Janice tidied, watered, push mowed, did the cutting display and then watered some more.  The staff worked great together and we have a nice system of getting things done and helping each other out.  I sure hope we get some darn rain though.  More recent images from the garden directly below.

'Raiche Form' white wood aster (Aster divaricatus) - perennial
stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) - perennial
tropical mix in the Giant Garden - note the wispy 'King Tut' papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and the maroon/pink leaves are from the 'Haight Ashbury' annual hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) - both annuals
nice seating in the North point garden with the fountain in the distance (the bench was made by the Grumpies and recently dedicated as a memorial)
the observation pier this morning
the arched bridge in the distance and zig-zag bridge in the foreground

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