Today provides some closure to the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) set-up in that it is as ready as it will ever be for this year! We're done with lights, cords, tweaking, etc. and are prepared for the premiere lighting tomorrow night at the Taste of Chocolate event (sold out!). It's hard to believe that this entire process of set-up starts back in September with lights testing on rainy days. While the set-up is significant, we remind people that the event is only complete after we bring the last cord or set of lights in for storage (usually in March!). For the grounds staff and our garden volunteers, this is a 5-6 month event if you consider the start of the set-up process to the end of packing everything away for storage. Above is a nice shot of the south entrance to the Japanese garden. We're excited that the HLS will flow through this area and feature more lights and some never before seen views back to the rest of the HLS across the pond. We hope to have a strong showing for this vital fundraising event. Below are some other images from today.
'Scarlet Pavement' shrub rose (Rosa) freeze dried but colorful! - woody shrub
late burgundy color on the Ruby Ribbons switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'RR1') - perennial
colorful fruits of the American cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) - woody shrub
'Citronelle' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
The little bit of snow we had this cold morning didn't thwart volunteer help at the Horticulture Center and out in the gardens. Pat M.(above) is finishing construction of his fourth storage unit (seen to the left) that will be used to efficiently organize our half gallon milk jug luminaries (2,000) during the HLS "off season". This arrangement will help save time, space and preparation time next October when they come back out for immediate use. Dr. Gredler was the first to start our repainting of garden elements today (see below). We spend many winter months painting containers, tubes, obelisks and other items for the following year. These pedestal/urn units will be used again in the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden. We'll have additional volunteer help with this vast project over these colder months. Jenny and Janice both came in to do various projects in the Horticulture Center. Gary was in to produce a sign and Bill O. went out to collect more leaves from the gardens. We also saw Maury and a couple others too!
Today also provides some 2013 "finality" for Terry and Cindy who finish their grounds obligations for the season. Larry continues throughout the winter and Big John will help occasionally over the coming month. Jenny, Cheryl, Pat, Janice, Terry and Cindy all did a great job and we had a super year out in the gardens which will be tough (but not impossible) to top next year! This marks a solid transition for me from 2013 obligations like the HLS to a shift for planning/ordering for 2014 garden goals. I do enjoy the winter months but they seem to get "shorter" every year in terms of having enough time to get ready. Cindy was out gardening today with a focus on tidying in front of the Parker Education Center. She also helped prepare directional signs for the HLS. Big John and Terry did our last HLS adjustments and did a lot of organizing around the Horticulture Center. I hooked up my last lights this morning and am getting poised for 2014 preparations. Below are some other images from today. Directly above is a leaf of the 'Molly Bush' coral bells (Heuchera) with a touch of snow this morning.
Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) - perennial
'Grasshopper' sedge (Carex hybrida) - perennial
'Chief Joseph' golden lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) - conifer
'Thunderbird' foamy bells (xHeucherella) - perennial
we continue to put protective netting ("deer thwarting") on the yews (Taxus) throughout the Japanese garden
massive goose launch from the pond this morning
lion sculpture (one of two) by the observation pier