Above are Big John and Cindy with their matching hats. Note the clock behind them at 7:20 am as they should be outside already and not modeling. We all had hats on this morning with the cold temperatures although it ended up being a nice day albeit a bit breezy. We had another very productive day out in the gardens with a small grounds staff and a handful of volunteers working on various projects. We hope to have the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) entirely up and "wired in" by Friday which will allow us to test and tweak next week prior to the Taste of Chocolate event on November 23rd which features the premiere lighting of the HLS. While we're not seeing a lot of visitors this time of year, we hope to see an influx of people coming for the HLS which is a vital fundraiser. I think the gardens still look beautiful and we'll continue to accomplish gardening tasks as the weather allows over the coming weeks. Below are two scenic shots I captured today of the gazebo and arched bridge.
Despite the cold, we did have some great volunteer help out in the gardens. Above is Patrea who focused her tidying efforts near our east entrance gate which had some serious piles of leaves that had drifted and accumulated. She hauled away a huge amount of leaves and that area looks nice and tidy. Below is Myrt who tackled a similar volume of leaves along the woodland walk pathways. Dr. Gredler was in for some mowing and leaf collection in areas he can still access. Stan and Karen M. continued covering/protecting our yews (Taxus sp.) in the Japanese garden which is a timely endeavor before the deer get too hungry. We'll continue to put up barriers and more mesh on our tastiest of shrubberies out in the gardens. Maury did some more shopping for us (the last of our cords) and Pat M. processed more luminaries and repaired some additional lights. It was a small but effective volunteer crew today.
Above is one of our 2,000 half gallon milk jug luminaries as viewed from above. With 600 recycled/reprocessed jugs and a donation of 1,400 new jugs, we're able to line all our pathways with these luminaries that help guide our guests. We replaced our original supply that had become beat up and fragile over the last decade. In the past, we've cut most of the top off of these but thought the smaller, traditional opening would minimize moisture access. The bottom is filled with pea gravel to keep the luminary upright and stable and there are multiple holes to accommodate drainage. This is an easy feature to create and it's important to note that we only use every third socket for a bulb/luminary with the rest of the sockets sealed. This allows for better spacing and the ability to put many of these strands in sequence. Cindy (half day) and Cheryl both gardened today and continued clean-up duties in the Scottish garden and fern & moss garden respectively. I'm glad we've been able to still focus on some gardening as the season transitions in to winter. Many of our gardening tasks done now will save us the time in spring which also has many challenges. Big John and Terry put up more lights in many locations, tested displays and continued additional HLS preparations. I ran cords all day. Below are some other recent images from the gardens.
showy seed heads of the Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) - perennial
fruits of the Golden Raindrops crabapple (Malus transitoria 'Schmidtcutleaf') - woody tree
fall color of the Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) - deciduous conifer
a view from beneath a golden weeping willow (Salix alba 'Tristis') - woody tree
neat shot of the formal annual sections with some snow