It was a bit chilly to start the day but it ended up being a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures near 70 degrees F. Above is a fall color shot of multiple hackberries (Celtis occidentalis) in the gazebo garden. We're seeing more and more leaves drop throughout the gardens and continue to rake and collect debris as much as possible. There are still lots of leaves left to fall but we'll constantly tidy up the garden as it is almost like "shoveling in a snowstorm" at this point with our standard October "leaf drop". Today was one of the rare days that I didn't even make it in to the gardens. I had various meetings and a plant run earlier today followed by a lot of "catch up" at my desk. The gardens were in good hands though with volunteers and our grounds staff. Below is the front portion of our Giant Garden which was a big hit this year with a neat path that leads visitors right through this jungle setting. We'll replicate this collection in some way next year too. Further below are some recent pictures out in the gardens.
weeping Alaskan cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula') - woody plant
bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus ssp. sanguineus) - perennial (edible)
past pipe planters that will transition to a new use for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS)...
major bulbs ready for action
We had a nice volunteer turnout today. Betty H. was out working in her garden area as was Ron K. They both created some good-sized piles of debris and leaves from their respective garden spaces. Above are Vicki (flannel) and Steve who came in to help process lights including over 300 new LED strands like those below. They did a great job prepping our C7 lights for milk jug luminaries and made quick work of testing/processing the new lights. Cheryl (hat) and Cindy can also be seen in the photo above processing lights. Dr. Gredler was in for mowing and Bill O. was also in for some work. Dick H. (second photo down with Larry) came in to fix the brakes on one of our garden vehicles. We also saw Bev F., Karen M., Lois A. and many others that I probably missed. Our Garden Development & Maintenance Committee also met and attendees included Denise, Big John, Gary, Larry H. and Iza. Gary also worked on labels and Iza and I are preparing for our volunteer work day on October 19th which will be both a general work day (bulb planting, etc.) and an additional focus on our alpine garden by members of the WI/IL Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society.
The grounds staff all had a combination of tasks today including HLS work, watering and traditional gardening. As seen above, Cheryl and Cindy started on preparing lights along with Pat M. who is one of our best "repair guys" for the stubborn lights that have major issues. Cindy headed out for planting, tidying, watering and the cutting display. Cheryl also planted, removed annuals, tidied and watered all the yard plants. Pat also had tidying in the sunken garden, leaf collection, watering and some other tidying duties. Larry continued testing our HLS displays in the parking lot and kept busy with helping Dick H. (above) and various gardening tasks including some fence repair. Big John hauled over and cleaned the PVC pipes seen above, watered containers, put up holiday lights and did some other tasks as well. Aside from my meetings, I took a road trip to The Flower Factory (Stoughton, WI) which is one of my favorite nurseries for quality and selection. I picked out and purchased a wide range of hostas and other perennials for part shade as we have an area in need of some significant planting (yet this fall). I had a nice chat with Nancy N., co-owner of the nursery, and had my trusty camera with me too as evidenced below...
green roofed garden shed at The Flower Factory
the "bottle tree" at The Flower Factory
vertical garden filling out at The Flower Factory
neat box planter with perennials at The Flower Factory
cacti beds at The Flower Factory
seven-sons-flower (Heptacodium miconioides) showing colorful calyces at The Flower Factory (woody plant)
blue rooster (I'd love to know the story here!)