While we've been testing and repairing lights for our Holiday Lights Show (HLS) event for the past couple of weeks, today was the first day we started putting lights out in the gardens. This is an early start compared to previous years but we also have our earliest premiere lighting at the Taste of Chocolate event on November 23rd. Terry and Big John started putting icicle lights in some of the areas and on some of the structures that wont conflict with looming events like weddings, etc. We also continued to test and repair lights today as we have some older sets that we're trying to keep active for use this year. We don't have the budget to replace many lights and while we are hoping to "grow the show" this year with some donated LED lights, our "old school" lights also need to be ready to go or be recycled efficiently. This time of year is a balance of gardening and getting prepared for the HLS. Above is the North point garden with a nice view across the pond. Below are some other shots from today.
'Sea Foam' rose (Rosa sp.) - groundcover rose (woody)
'Cramer's Lemon Lime' cockscomb celosia (Celosia argentea cristata) - annual
'Hot Biscuits' grain amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) - annual
It was a nice day out in the gardens and we had a solid volunteer effort with many tasks being effectively accomplished. Above is Kay who pulled out many loads of cottonwood (Populus deltoides) debris from her area of the shade garden. The rain over the last couple of days really knocked down some leaves but unfortunately, most of the cottonwoods still have about 50% of their leaves left to drop. Ugh! The Grumpy turnout was strong. Directly below are Larry and Bob C. (red hat, leaning on his rake) collecting leaves not too far from Kay along a primary path. Leaf collection could, at this point, occur anywhere in the garden. The next photo down shows Dick H. cutting more strap aluminum for our plant stakes. Gary (next photo down with computer) is making new labels and we're putting in some solid time on matching labels to our remaining plants that still have to be installed. Ron Y., Vern, Jim and Dave T. all worked on carpentry projects and are setting up for some siding repair on the storage shed west of the Parker Education Center. Dr. Gredler was in for mowing and Maury ran more errands for us as well. The fourth photo down shows Ron W. (left) with Pat at the HLS repair table. Ron P. (next photo down) was also spending time on lights repairs. Del did some clean-up in the Horticulture Center and also saw Mary W., Rollie, Charlie E. and many others today.
The grounds staff kept busy today and while it was cold and drizzly to start the morning, they jumped right in to early gardening tasks. Cindy removed annuals from two locations (terrace garden and AAS Display Garden), tidied and watered the yard as needed. We're removing annuals in certain locations and as more cold nights arrive, our pace of removing annuals will also increase. Big John started with plant removal and potting up some tropicals. He shifted to HLS work with Terry after the morning break. Terry also had removals in two locations and also shifted to setting up HLS lights in select locations. Larry did some push mowing but spent most of his time testing our larger displays out in the garage. We need to identify any problems with these displays too so we can allow for adequate repair time prior to placement out in the gardens. I had some meetings and am working on some plant orders for next year. I stopped by K&W Greenery (Janesville, WI) to get catalogs from Chris W. for 2014 ideas. Chris grows quite a bit of product for us and they have a nice set-up (see bottom two photos). Below are some additional images from today.
'Golden Angel' Japanese shrub mint (Leucosceptrum japonica) - perennial
'Purple Dome' aster (Aster novae-angliae) - perennial
orange gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) - annual
'Cherry Brandy' gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) - annual
colorful display at K&W Greenery (Janesville, WI)
straw bale pumpkin at K&W Greenery (Janesville, WI)