Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Fine Autumn Day

While it was another cold morning like the previous two, it ended up being a nice sunny day until late in the afternoon.  John reported our first snow flake this afternoon but we didn't have to find the shovels yet. We were all in "layers" and prepared to get right outside for gardening and Holiday Lights Show (HLS) related tasks.  Above is a nice shot in the Japanese garden today. The bright fall color in the center is from the 'Aconitifolium' fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum) which I've featured in previous blogs.  We had a strong volunteer presence today and the grounds staff accomplished a wide range of tasks. We saw many school groups going through the gardens with our education docents for the extremely successful and well-received "Pumpkin Program" which also includes an education tour and close look at the prairie (which looks great right now).  All in all...another productive day. Below are some additional shots from today.

fall color of Golden Shadows pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'W. Stackman') - woody tree
interesting color transition on the 'Autumn Moon' fullmoon maple (Acer shiraswanum) - small tree
cone formation on the Japanese hemlock (Tsuga diversifolia) - woody conifer
inflorescences (flower/seed heads) of maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis, unknown variety)

The grounds staff had a busy day.  Pat can be seen above taking down our 20' tall obelisk (with some help) from the Giant Garden.  He's preparing and modifying this piece to be part of the HLS (in a new location).  Pat also worked on many other HLS tasks like preparing luminaries, developing some re-purposed displays, etc.  Cheryl was our gardener today as she continued removal efforts in the sunken garden and shade garden.  She did a nice job keeping everything tidy and brought back her share of loads.  Terry and John set-up the reindeer and sleigh display (seen below) in the sunken garden.  They also set-up more obelisks and put lights on more shrubs as well.  These guys are spending 98% of their time on the HLS over the next four weeks.  I spent a half day slinging cords (another 2,000 feet!) and continue to keep up with never-ending desk work.  Janice was in to work with the Chestnut House volunteers this afternoon.

We had a great volunteer crew here today for plant removals.  Above are Nancy (left) and Myrt, who along with Steve and Vicki (below), did a great job clearing the ornamental edible berms very thoroughly.  Kay was in to help as well and this quintet cleared over six berms in a couple hours and brought back a huge load of debris.  Eva was at the gardens all morning and continued her "purge" of the orange-themed entrance garden.  She also brought back many loads of debris for our compost pile.  The second photo down shows Dr. Gredler dumping a load of shredded leaves on a flower bed.  His catcher fills up quickly but we like using the shredded leaves directly in the garden or added to our large compost pile.  Maury ran more errands for us which we appreciate and the Chestnut House volunteers did a great job purging all the frosted veggies from around the Horticulture Center beds.  We also saw Chuck S. and many others today.  Further below are some additional shots from today.

'Early Amethyst' purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) - woody shrub
'Miyazaki' toadlily (Tricyrtis hirta) is still hanging in there but not for long - perennial
a view up the trunk of the hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
fall color of the Shantung maple (Acer truncatum) from beneath the tree
target garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) eradication now (and in early April) as it is still green and offensive!

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