Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Very "Bear-able" Day

The weather today was actually quite nice although a bit breezy.  At around 45 degrees F, it was a huge improvement from earlier in the week and it looks like a warm weekend before returning back to a chilly start to next week.  Above is a nice shot of a portion of our bronze bear sculpture in the woodland walk garden.  It was a very productive day and we started by turning on the entire Holiday Lights Show (HLS) to see what we have left to finish up and to also identify any potential problems.  I'll need to finish some wiring and modifications tomorrow but am comfortable after the vast majority of the HLS stayed on all day.  Our recent power upgrades have proven to be very helpful and will alleviate some of our problem areas from previous shows.  We had a nice turnout of volunteers today, particularly this morning.  Below are some perennials still strutting their foliage interest out in the gardens.

'Amethyst Mist' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
'Stoplight' foamy bells (xHeucherella) - perennial

The Grumpies hit the ground running with putting up our protective deer fencing which consists of a double height of snow fencing.  While deer could easily jump this 6' height, the trick is placing the fencing about 2.5 feet from the plantings to be protected.  They can't lean in and nibble and are nervous about a leap in to a gap that they can't quite size up....If they breach this barrier, then it's a feast.  The guys did a nice job putting up the fencing and above (from left to right) are Rollie (birthday boy), Dick P. (goofy red hat), Dick H. and Maury F. (goofy red hat).  Below is Dick H. securing some of the fencing.  The next photo down shows Maury F. in the reception garden supervising.  It was a nice day to get outside.  The third photo down shows Bob C. (grey) and Gene filling buckets of sand and stockpiling them for possible path treatments (ice) during the HLS.  We use a minimal amount of salt but aren't shy about using sand for safe foot traffic along the HLS route.  These guys also moved on to some other projects.  Dave T. and Vern worked on carpentry projects while Dr. Gredler did his mowing/leaf collection rounds.  The fourth photo down shows Del who helped tidy up the Horticulture Center and finished work on his deer cutouts (for sale at the Parker Education Center).  The fifth photo down shows Ron P. (left) and Pat continuing work on repairs and other lights duties that accumulate daily as we bring in strands and cords for repair.  Pat later continued putting protective netting on our yews (Taxus) in the Japanese garden. Vicky and Steve came in for leaf collection and we also saw Gary, Jumbo Jim, Janice and others today.

We had a small grounds staff today and most of the grounds staff will be finishing for the season over the next week or so. Cheryl was in for a half day of continued clean-up efforts in the Japanese garden.  This is time well spent now that most of the leaves have come down.  We'll spend more time tidying up this garden next week.  Larry helped with HLS tweaking all day and finished wiring up a couple of areas that we needed to finish.  We both remarked at how few problems we had with our "pre-test" of the HLS today.  I hope we didn't jinx it!  I ran more cords and tweaked as well.  Below are some other shots from today.

dried flower cluster (umbel) of the Incrediball smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Abetwo') - woody shrub
Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) leaves in the arboretum
'Variegatus' maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) - perennial
'Dale's Strain' coral bells (Heuchera americana) - perennial
"Everbody needs beauty as well as bread - places where nature may heal and give strength."  John Muir

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