Tuesday, October 15, 2013

All-America Selections Repeat Victory

We heard late last week that RBG won 1st place in the Landscape Design Contest offered by All-America Selections (AAS).  This competition involves other AAS Display gardens and the emphasis is on creative ways to display AAS winning plants.  We won this contest last year and were determined to be a competitor again this year with a new display near the arboretum.  This display, which included over 7,200 plants representing 150 AAS winning varieties was arranged chronologically by year of introduction.  Visitors, directed by signage, could then wander through the collection (seen in these first nine photos) which had thirteen beds with a strong AAS historical (and educational) focus.  We also included some fun planting opportunities like obelisks, PVC pipe planters, re-purposes pallet planters, etc.  A new component to our entry this year included a "satellite" AAS garden that directed visitors to the larger collection.  The second place winner was the Denver Botanical Garden (second year for them) and third place went to the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.  We've always enjoyed our partnership with AAS and look forward to a new display next year which will also be entered in this fun competition.  Our plans for 2014 are currently top secret but RBG thanks AAS for the award that will hopefully be a wonderful marketing tool to get more people to the gardens to see what's going on at our botanical garden.  Thanks to the volunteers and staff involved with the preparation, label creation, planting, watering, weeding, etc. of this collection and special thanks to Cindy B., our grounds person that spent many hours weekly primping this space from May through October.

'PowWow Wildberry' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) - perennial (AAS winner)
AAS Winning eggplants (Solanum melongena) from our display which were donated to food banks.  Varieties (from bottom) include 'Fairy Tale', 'Gretel' (white) and 'Hansel'.

We had rain a good portion of the day but had no shortage of indoor projects for Holiday Lights Show (HLS) preparations.  Above (left to right) are Cindy, Cheryl and Janice, who, along with Pat M., worked on processing more lights and ultimately shifting to putting lights on obelisks (see below).  We have over 50 of these that have served their summer purpose and are not being converted to HLS elements.  There are still many out in the gardens yet to retrieve but we had a good supply at the Horticulture Center.  All three ladies had a full day of HLS work broken up by some other projects.  Eva came in to garden but it was damp enough that we converted her to "lights processing duty" and in the photo, she's peeling off our annual sticker labels so we can re-use the stakes next year.  Dr. Gredler aerated the sunken garden lawn in a downpour and came in to start painting our newly created PVC candy canes (see below).  Bill O. was in later to help Larry with additional HLS tasks including preparing our arches and displays and moving obelisks around.  We also saw Dick H., Vern B. and Tom C. was in to work on some new power upgrades (fifth photo down).  I caught up on my desk work and a day like this was perfect and well spent for those tasks.

red maple (Acer rubrum) fall color from under the tree!  This shot was taken Sunday at Longenecker Gardens at the UW-Arboretum up in Madison, WI (go soon!)

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