Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Additions & Subtractions

It was another beautiful day with sunshine and temperatures near 80 degrees F.  We had oodles of visitors today including lots of children (and parents) that were wandering after the always successful Story & Stroll program.  It was a nice day to be outside and the promise of rain later in the week is still quite appealing.  We continue to water but hope for a hand from Mother Nature by at least Friday!  It was a busy day around the gardens with solid volunteer assistance and some hard core gardening from the grounds staff.  Above is a nice shot of the formal gardens this morning.  Those blue obelisks will stay in place but will have lights put on them in less than three weeks.  We're gearing up to pounce on the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) shortly after we clear more annuals which are in the way but are still looking good.  We don't want to remove anything too early!  Below are some other shots from today.

Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) - perennial
Apricot Drift landscape rose (Rosa 'Memirrote')

Wednesdays are always good for volunteerism but today was extraordinary with lots of helping hands.  Above is Carol S. headed in to work in the Cottage Garden Gallery.  Carol is a long-time volunteer and also helps coordinate tours and tour guides (of which her husband Chuck is one of our best...).  I had the "crazed quartet" of Patrea, Kay, Marleen and Eva (seen directly below from left to right) in the terrace garden where they planted over 200 flowering kale (Brassica oleracea) along the outer border.  Patrea (far left) is holding one of the many donated plants.  The ladies did a great job and we only had to replant half of them this time.  Mary and Myrt (next photo down, Mary with the bandana) did a great job removing impatiens from the gazebo garden where they have transitioned recently to looking yucky.  Betty H. was out tidying her gardens as was Jenny E.  Jenny, while normally a grounds staff member, also has absorbed maintaining three garden areas with her husband Dave as a volunteer endeavor (which we greatly appreciate).  Stan did some significant work in the Japanese garden and Dr. Gredler did quite a bit of mowing and also "plug aerated" the entire formal garden.  Maury made a timely run for HLS supplies for us this afternoon.   The third photo down shows the Chestnut House volunteers working with Janice on sorting over 2,000 tulip (Tulipa) bulbs for our planting work day on October 19th.  We get them in larger quantity bags and "downsize" the quantities per bag so we can create more clumps.  The gang did a great job and also dug up our peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) outside the Horticulture Center.  Quantities were limited but what a fun experiment even if Jimmy Carter would be disappointed in the yield.  The fourth photo down shows Cindy (off work today) with her daughter Kristen out in the gardens visiting.  I tried to get some work out of them but to no avail.  Lisa I. came in at the end of the day and we sized up some modifications in the Potter Daylily Collection which Lisa has managed for a couple years now.

'Marbles' (spherical) and 'Explosive Ember' (right) hot peppers (Capsicum annuum) - annuals
'Chilly Chili' hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual

Aside from myself, we also had Big John, Cheryl and Terry today.  Janice and Jenny were volunteers and it was nice to see Cindy as well.  The grounds staff all had plenty of gardening tasks including removing plants as needed.  Above is Big John who is seen here removing impatiens.  John also ran irrigation, planted, watered containers, cleaned debris out of various water features and worked on many other projects.  Cheryl (below) did a great job tidying up multiple areas including the North point border and English cottage garden.  She also watered all the yard plants.  Terry hauled plants, worked on many removals (including impatiens), helped water containers and also had multiple projects as well.   I had some meetings, placed plants for installation, worked on some labeling preparations, etc.  It was a productive day for everyone!  Further below are some other shots from today.

pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) loving the cool nights
Mona Lavender spur flower (Plectranthus hybrida 'Plepalila') - annual
flowers of 'Brunette' fairy candles (Cimicifuga simplex) - perennial
colorful calyces of the seven-sons flower (Heptacodium miconioides) - large woody shrub (already bloomed fragrant white in September!)

Above is the maroon-leaved 'Charmed Velvet' ornamental shamrock (Oxalis) with 'Molten Lava' ornamental shamrock (Oxalis vulcanicola) which are both annuals.  These shamrocks are featured to prompt you to "think Irish" and enjoy the Janesville Irish Fest 2013 (Thurs. - Friday) which also features the RBG pancake breakfast and Irish dancers on this Sunday, October 6th (8 am - 12 noon).  See our website for more details.
cool cobweb on our east gate that Terry pointed out (after he escaped its grasp...)

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