Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Colchicums Enthrall Yet Again!

Today was another beautiful day with a cool start and a nice warm up (75 degrees F) with plenty of sunshine.  This is my favorite time of year with early May being my second favorite.  There are no shortage of tasks out in the gardens as we continue to collect leaves from the cottonwood (Populus deltoides) population.  I think very few botanical gardens have to deal with the 53,456,765 seeds that float down from the female cottonwoods in May followed by 12,343,654 leaves that then float down from late August until November from our 40+ specimens!  We love the shade but they are like the messy room of a teenager that always needs attention and is never quite entirely clean no matter what you do.  Above are the beautiful blooms of the Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale 'The Giant') which are blooming throughout the gardens.  Note the lack of foliage which came up with the tulips, photosynthesized and was later cut back in July.  True crocuses (Crocus sp.) are in the iris family while the "Autumn crocus" or Colchicums are in the lily family.  Regardless, they sure look like crocuses and add welcome color every late September.  The clumps above are over 12 years old and going strong.  Below are some additional recent shots out in the gardens.

'Sky Rocket' fountain grass (Pennisetum x advena) - annual
'Chocolate' snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) - perennial (lots of seedlings!)
'Coffee Cups' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) - annual

We had some of our Tuesday "volunteer regulars" here today.  Ron K. (above) spent time in the woodland walk collecting leaves and also did a nice job planting all the goodies you see on the bench.  We've been inserting plants in to that space all year and it is filling out nicely.  Kay (below) tidied up her area in the shade garden and also installed quite a few perennials today as well.  Eva came in to collect leaves, spent annuals and other debris primarily in the sunken garden.  Eva has fit in nicely and has done a lot of work in her rookie year here!  Cookie and Resa were in to tidy up the North point garden which is still looking dynamite.  I believe there is a wedding there this weekend and the view across the water is quite nice in this beautiful setting.  Vern came in for some carpentry projects and Dr. Gredler was here for mowing.  Betty H. came in for the second day in a row to continue work in her two garden areas where she's currently "purging" spent annuals and weeds.  We also saw Mark S. and many others today.

'Super Chili' hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - AAS 1988 winner - annual
'Candlelight' hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - AAS 1983 winner - annual

The grounds staff, as usual, had a productive day.  Above are Big John (left) and Larry cruising the gardens after John dropped off mums at the Parker Education Center (both mums and bulbs are still for sale!).  John also put up sprinklers, sheared, push mowed and worked on other projects.  Larry ran irrigation, push mowed, ran out for some supplies and also worked on other small projects.  Cindy (seen below in a blur of motion) tidied up many areas and helped water containers.  There are no areas that don't need some early fall attention so we're shifting from area to area as needed.  Cheryl also tidied multiple areas, watered the yard and greenhouse and worked on some other tasks.  Janice changed out some containers with late season plantings, did the cutting display, tidied and helped water as well.  The grounds crew has fallen in to a good rhythm and while it's still slightly damp from the rain last Thursday, we'll be doing more watering throughout the week to keep up as needed.  Further below are more shots from today and a neat item I ran across at the bottom.

bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) - perennial
'Glamour Red' ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) - AAS 2011 winner - annual
'Gibraltar' bush clover (Lespedeza thunbergii) - cutback shrub, hardy
nice shot of the arched bridge from the observation pier

I ran across information on this company recently and thought I would share!  What a neat concept of the "office farm".  The photo and text are not mine and are directly from an online article.  Feel free to look further in to this on the internet as the interior photos are worth seeing too. Check out http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/multimedia-downtown-tokyo-office-farm-takes-green-building-new-heights for more information. I hope this is a new wave of architecture!

Pasona Group might be one of the largest staffing agencies in Japan, but it also has to have the most biodiversity in any corporate headquarters.

In the company's 215,000 square foot office building in downtown Tokyo business meetings mix with broccoli fields, seminar rooms double as growing spaces for salad greens, guests are greeted by a rice paddy, and workspaces are separated by fruit trees. The building uses 43,000 square feet for growing space (20 percent of the building) for 200 different species of vegetables, fruits, and rice. 

But it's not just a novelty concept, all of the plants are maintained by Pasona's employees along with an agricultural specialist. And the food that's harvested is used in the building's cafeteria.

The hope, according to the architecture firm Kono Designs, isn't just to make the building look nice, but to create "a unique workplace environment that promotes worker's productivity, mental health, and social interaction and engages the wider community of Tokyo by showcasing the benefits and technology of urban agriculture."

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