Friday, October 18, 2013

Knit Hat Weather

Today was a cold start in the mid 30 degrees F although the overcast day did warm up to a balmy 50 degrees F or so.  It looks like we'll have a couple of frosts over the next week which isn't unusual. We had some light drizzle later but all of us got outside for gardening and/or Holiday Lights Show (HLS) preparations.  Above is a nice fall color shot of the 'Aconitifolium' fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum).  This specimen (one of four total at RBG) is located in the Japanese garden and will actually go to a brilliant orange-red in the next week or so.  I think this is one of our "top three" woody plants for fall color impact.  The color show on this selection keeps going on and on.  Despite the chilly day, we had a great volunteer turnout and the grounds staff did a superb job juggling tasks that included some catching up from the rainy day yesterday.  Directly below are some more garden shots from this morning. 

our moss collection loves this weather!
the start of fall color for the 'Whitespire Sr.' gray birch (Betula populifolia) - woody tree
scaly male fern (Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis') planted today - perennial

This was one of our busiest Fridays for volunteer involvement at the gardens.  We had a great crew.  Above is Ron K. who continues to collect leaves and cut back perennials in the woodland walk garden; his assigned garden area.  Below is Terri, who along with Eva (second photo down in red) continued to remove annuals from the reception garden.  They were later joined by Kay after she did a nice job collecting leaves and debris from her assigned garden area in the shade garden.  Steve and Vicki also came in for a couple of hours and joined the crew in the reception garden for removals.  This was a timely project as it opened space for John and Terry to put up lights in that garden today and allows Larry to put up more HLS features in that space early next week.  The third and fourth photos down show Bev and Ron W. working their "arch decorating kung fu" out in the gardens.  This dynamic duo has been involved with decorating these arches for many years and they do a consistently great job.  So far, they don't seem daunted by the addition of 25 arches this year but we'll see how it goes!  They made great progress today.  Dr. Gredler and Bill O. did all of their mowing rounds out in the gardens.  The fifth photo shows Dick P. (with his goofy red hat) who was in to install our latest memorial brick order.  Vern is in the next photo (with the goofy blue apron) and he's working on some PVC pipe displays that we're going to use out in the HLS.  Tom C. came in to continue rigging up some temporary power cords that will be put to good use in the HLS.  Nancy N. came to the Horticulture Center for another round of painting our PVC candy canes.  We also saw Mary W., Nils, Jenny E., Dave E. and many others.

fruit cluster (aggregate of folicles) of a saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) - woody tree

The grounds staff had a solid day out in the gardens.  Janice and Big John have an annual competition to see who can wear short the longest.  There is still some debate as to the winner for 2013 but neither was wearing shorts this morning!  Above is Cindy in the All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden that she has been tending since May.  She's gone full circle now and is removing most of the display with cold weather advancing.  I think she was starting to get some tears (joy?  sorrow?  or both?) when I took this photo....  Janice helped get our morning volunteers going, decorated obelisks (both inside and out), refreshed the cutting display and had various other tasks.  She also collected all our gear for the Saturday Volunteer Work Day tomorrow (8 am until 12 noon).  We'll meet at the Parker Education Center for some bulb planting followed by more plant removals if the time (and weather) allows!  Pat was in as staff for a half day and came back later as a volunteer!  He repaired lights and push mowed out in the gardens.  Terry and Big John put up more lights together and spent significant time helping collect plant debris piles, emptying containers and other gardening duties as well.  Both guys also did some push mowing out in the gardens.  I spent time in the gardens figuring out most of our HLS display set-up and I also planted our newest ferns (see one above!).  It was a very productive day and we look forward to a successful work day tomorrow.  Below are some other garden shots from today.

start of fall color on the willowleaf bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) in the foreground with Adirondack chairs in the North point garden up above
'Cheyenne Spirit' purple coneflower (Echinacea hybrida) - perennial (one color of a neat color mix)
'Baker's Variety' monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii) - perennial
exceptional fall color of Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
hips (fruits) of the 'Dortmund' rose (Rosa) - woody shrub
"Pollinator's Paradise" still hanging in there (not for long though!)

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