We had our second test night last night for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) and it went very well. Based on some needed corrections and additions that we identified during the Monday test night, it was nice to see those improvements in place. We also saw a couple more potential "tweaks" that we're accomplishing today. Above is my shot of the formal gardens from the upper back porch behind the Rath Environmental Center. A little snow would make this a winter wonderland and photos are no replacement for seeing this in person! The shot below was shared by Marsha M. (thanks Marsha!) and captures some great reflection off of the pond. Event visitors will have this same perspective from the new route. The second photo down shows the sunken garden this year. These photos represent only a small fraction of the show which is bigger and better this year. We don't anticipate any power issues but certainly hope the weather cooperates. I have a call in to Mother Nature for no rain, light snow, no ice and evening temperatures around 28 degrees F! We'll see how it goes. We're done testing the show and are ready for the premiere lighting at the Taste of Chocolate event this Saturday. While we are wrapping up our HLS preparations, we continue to garden as time and staffing allows.
We had another small crew of volunteers although they accomplished a lot of work. Above is Patrea who collected leaves near the east gate and later joined Cheryl for more tidying in the Japanese garden. Pat was in to fix lights and spent some time repairing our dangling tree icicles and fixing those that blew down this weekend for "re-installation" soon. We also saw Dr. Gredler, Myrt and Vern was in for some carpentry projects. Dave G. came in to do some tree climbing and dangling icicle installation along the new HLS route. Below is the 'Skylands' Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis) in front of the Parker Education Center. It looks great at night with lights on it but during daylight, it has that golden cast 365 days of the year.
Our grounds crew had a busy day as well. Cindy (above) was here for a half day and focused her tidying and clean-up gardening efforts around the front of the Parker Education Center. There are still leaves coming down and we like to get the paths tidied up before the snow flies and our snowblowers get some action. She did a nice job and her last day for 2013 is this Friday. Cheryl spent her entire day in the Japanese garden which is benefiting greatly from her (and Patrea's) attention. Access is traditionally tough in this garden but the clean-up efforts have been vital and well timed. Cheryl finishes up tomorrow for the year. Terry and Big John worked on the HLS all day which included repairs, modifications and new lights in some of our darker "gaps" that we noticed last night. Aside from some minor tweaking tomorrow and Friday, the HLS is ready to go and this marks the seventh week that Terry and John have been working on this event. I ran more cords this morning for newly added lights and am making the transition to more office duties related to 2014 preparations. Below are some other recent shots (yesterday and today) from the gardens.
the moss island is looking green and vivid
fall color of the bloody cranesbill geranium (Geranium sanguineum) - perennial
a classic massing (Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden) of 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) - perennial
the 'Flame' willows (Salix hybrida) west of the Parker Education Center are coloring up very nicely for the winter months - large woody shrub
fall color on the needles of the 'Little Bogle' dwarf Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) - deciduous conifer
late (and vivid) fall color of the Coppertina ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Mindia') - woody shrub
the finished improvement around the lower Japanese pool (neat)
Buy your HLS tickets in advance (and what a great gift idea!)