Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Chain Gang

The photo of the formal gardens above was taken from the roof of the Rath Center this morning where I was up running extension cords for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  We had another great day of gardening and HLS set-up out in the gardens.  As we've come to expect this week, it was a frigid start that ended up being not-so-bad by mid-morning.  It was nice to see more garden areas cleared of annuals and other debris and we continue to see HLS progress each day.  The HLS this year includes many new lights, new displays and a new route through the Japanese garden that will actually lengthen the walk by close to 50%.  Needless to say, we're being very aggressive and proactive with set-up but can't neglect our fall clean-up duties out in the gardens.  Our last outdoor wedding is actually this Saturday!  Below are some additional shots from today.

'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) in the foreground with birches (Betula sp.) turning golden in the background
fruits of the ornamental blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) - perennial
'Variegatus' Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) - perennial
'Blonde Ambition' blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) - perennial

Many of our volunteers braved the cold weather this morning to tackle the "Pollinator's Paradise" collection in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  Above are Marilyn (red) and Eva (blue) who started the process this morning.  They were later joined by Steve and Vicki (both in red) below as well as Suzy.  This group did a great job removing annuals and cutting back perennials (which comprise about 1/3 of that collection).  They almost finished this space and did a great job tidying up.  The second shot down shows Lloyd and Gene (driving) as they continued removing the Giant Garden.  Check out the third photo down for one of their many loads.  The guys actually helped out in four different areas and brought back plenty of debris.  The fourth photo down shows Dr. Gredler stockpiling more shredded leaves for use in other areas of the gardens (later relocated by Bill O.).  Dick P. and Dick H. installed some new bricks out in the gardens and later went with Rollie M. up to Madison to pick up some additional memorial bricks.  Gary produced more labels for new plants and cleaned up the laser engraver.  The fifth photo down shows the debris left from drilling holes in PVC pipes for new HLS displays.  Maury (green) helped Dave (left), Jim and Vern and the guys were also able to also accomplish some painting.  Pat M. was in to work on displays, luminaries and converting our 20' obelisk back to the "Tower of Power".  He was in both this morning and afternoon.  Ron P. helped with more lights testing.  Bill O. came in to collect leaves and we also saw Deb G., Jean S. and many others today.

The grounds crew consisted of Larry, Janice and me.  A lot of our work in the morning involved coordinating the volunteers but we have the system down well to keep everybody actively engaged while minimizing idle time.  Janice helped organize HLS materials inside, decorated obelisks, put lights out on shrubs and started cutting back perennials and removing annuals in the English cottage garden.  Larry put up more arches and continues to work on his "Olsen Pavilion" HLS display in the reception garden.  I spent the morning slinging cords, had a meeting and am getting ready for various projects next week.  I'm here briefly tomorrow and am then headed up Nort' der to Marshfield where I'll be speaking to the Wood County Master Gardeners on Saturday (Spring Bulbs).  Below are more photos from today.

'Golden Hornet' crabapple (Malus sp.) - woody tree
beginning fall color on the Fall Fiesta sugar maple (Acer saccharum 'BAILsta') - woody tree
'Foxy' foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) can take a couple frosty hits
'Ozawa' ornamental onion (Allium thunbergii) just starting to bloom - perennial
'The Fairy' rose (Rosa) hanging in there
our first snow/sleet yesterday afternoon (which quickly melted)

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