Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chilly Today

The day was overcast and chilly but we continued our momentum with garden tasks, Holiday Lights Show (HLS) set-up and indoor preparations for the HLS.  Nice fall color shot above of the oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia).  I love the variability in fall leaf color on this species and we should see nice coloration on many of these well in to November. I was amazed by the number of volunteers that continued to roll in today and it was nice to continue progress after losing most of day out in the garden yesterday due to the rain (appreciated though!).  We've had mid-October weather be quite mild in the past which is always nice for gardening and HLS set-up but we will always accomplish our tasks with an anxious frenzy as we can also have some pretty sour weather this time of year and are making the most of each day with all our helping hands at the gardens.  In regards to the HLS, we also have to have test nights for final tweaking and adjustments before our premiere lighting of the show as part of the Taste of Chocolate event on November 23rd.  Below are some additional shots from this morning.

'Hot Pink' speedwell (Veronica hybrida) - perennial
'Robustissima' grapeleaf anemone (Anemone tomentosa) - perennial
'Honorine Jobert' Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida) - perennial

The cold weather didn't deter our volunteers today and we had lots of assistance out in the gardens, in the office and with HLS preparations.  Above is Dr. Gredler who continues to do the last of the mowing but is also collecting and mulching leaves as he goes.  The shredded leaves are dumped directly on annual beds from the hopper on the back of his mower.  Eva (directly below) spent her morning clearing annuals from the reception garden which is one of our priority areas for decorating for the HLS.  This garden will have plenty of lights in the next week or two.  Kay (second photo down) was out collecting leaves and removing debris from her section of the shade garden.  With most of the cottonwood (Populus deltoides) leaves down, we're collecting from many other areas as well.  Both Kay and Eva do a very thorough job.  Cookie and Resa came in to put some "closure" on the North point garden (their assigned garden) with removals of their own.  With impending frost again this weekend, we're getting a jump on many of the annuals that will turn "mushy" after another really cold night.  The ladies created some sizable piles that we'll collect shortly.  Ron and Bev W. came in to remove annuals from the sunken garden and Ron P. was in to continue repairing lights for the HLS.  Pat C. arrived in late morning to produce our new labels for the plants we just picked up from the Flower Factory (soon to be planted).  Jenny and Dave E. came in to cut back more hostas which is perfect timing before frost turns them mushy. Vern came in to help paint candy canes and Dr. Gredler joined him later.  Tom C. also was in to work some of his "electrician kung fu" in preparation for the HLS.

The grounds staff had a busy day and continued working outside in the light mist that arrived in mid morning.  Terry and Big John had plenty of work with HLS set-up and ended up focusing on the English cottage garden.  The guys had to empty and move containers and do other prep work before they could continue to decorate that popular garden space.  They also had various odds and ends to accomplish as well.  Cindy focused her half day on removals in the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden.  Cheryl worked on removals and perennial cutting in the sunken garden which is also another target area for HLS set-up next week.  She also has a project in the daylily collection that involves some removals and additions.  Pat worked on lights repair (one of his specialties), obelisk decoration and some other tasks out in the gardens today.  I was out in the gardens briefly but had desk work as well.  I also hosted Sue Olsen, a fern expert from out west and author of the Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns which is a great reference.  Sue also has a fern nursery called Foliage Gardens that we have patronized many times for securing ferns for our fern & moss garden.  Sue enjoyed the gardens, met the staff and we had a great afternoon before I took her up to Olbrich Botanical Gardens to present on ferns for a joint meeting of the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society and the Wisconsin Hosta Society.  It was a full crowd and an enjoyable presentation.  More recent photos from the gardens can be seen below.

'Ginger Love' fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) - perennial
fall color of Tiger Eyes sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger') - woody shrub
flame grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurascens' - perennial (fall color)
'Cherry Sparkler' fountain grass (Pennisetum x advena) - annual
'Marbles' ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual
'Black Pearl' ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual

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