Our first official "test night" for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) went very well last night with few problems. We marked some of the problems with lights and displays (for correction today) and also identified some areas where we could mass more color. Our "assessment group" included RBG staff, select volunteers involved with the event and staff from both the Messenger and the Janesville Gazette which will both promote this event (thank you very much Dennis, Terry and Bill!). Above are just some of the dangling icicle lights (installed by L.P. Tree Service) that really add scale to the event and are in many areas of the gardens. Our new route, additional displays and new LED lights all contribute to make this our best show ever. We'll continue to test and tweak the HLS throughout the week but are in the last stages of preparations before the premiere lighting this Saturday as part of the Taste of Chocolate event at RBG (might be sold out but call to check!). The two photos below were also taken last night.
We didn't have a lot of volunteers today but a few trickled in throughout the day. Dr. Gredler stopped by but his mowing season is over and he'll shift shortly to indoor painting projects. Vern was in for some carpentry projects and Pat came in for some more lights repair and "cord conversions" this morning. Stan came in for an afternoon of putting more protective netting over yews (Taxus) in the Japanese garden (deer protection). Janice was also in later to put up additional LED lights in the fern & moss garden to "bulk up the color" in that area. Cheryl and Cindy both spent the day collecting debris and tidying up around the gardens. Cheryl focused her efforts on the Japanese garden while Cindy bounced between multiple areas. The ladies sure brought back plenty of debris and while the HLS has created access challenges, the ladies adjusted nicely. Big John helped fix some of the issues from our test night and continued putting up lights in areas we thought would augment the show. Larry turned the show on early and also helped trouble shoot, prepare signs and he's also starting to address details along the entire HLS route (signage, garbage cans, barricades, etc.). I spent some of the morning tweaking HLS displays but then caught up on more time-sensitive desk work. Below are some other shots from today including some ongoing work by Petranek Bros. Landscaping down in the Japanese garden.
dried flower head of Little Lime panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Jane') - woody shrub
colorful fruiting structures (hairy drupe) of Tiger Eyes staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger') - woody shrub
uniquely interesting branching pattern of Harry's Lauder's walking stick (contorted filbert - Corylus avellana 'Contorta') - woody small tree
a touch of frost on Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) - perennial (spreading...)
ornamental bark on younger trunk of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) - conifer
neat bark of the Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) - underused woody tree
ornamental bark of the paperbark maple (Acer griseum) - woody tree (marginally hardy)
partial completion of some nice work surrounding this bench in the Japanese garden (by Petranek Bros. Landscaping)
the gazebo framed by ornamental grasses and a heavily fruiting crabapple (Malus sp.)
nice shot from the gazebo garden to the arched bridge in the distance