Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stretching Cords, Etc.

My day was defined by running power cords which is typical for this time of year.  In regards to the Holiday Lights Show (HLS), we frequently mention that we run about 6 miles of cords which is not an exaggeration.  The challenge is that most of the cords are 6' and 9' drop cords that connect many of our icicle lights and smaller displays.  I'm progressing well and should be done by this time next week assuming ideal weather conditions and no mental breakdown.  The shot above shows the formal gardens which should look equally colorful at night with considerably more "oomph" with increased lights (from all previous years).  It was a super day and while chilly this morning, most of the action for grounds staff and volunteers was outdoors.  Below are some additional shots from today.

fall color of the 'Varied Directions' larch (Larix decidua) - deciduous conifer
'Flame' willow (Salix hybrida) showing fall color and reddening winter stems - woody shrub
fall color of Royal Raindrops crabapple (Malus 'JFS-KW5') - woody tree

We had some nice volunteer help which is typical on Thursdays.  Most of our Grumpettes have finished for the season but we had a good crop of Grumpies like Dick H. (white hat) and Maury above who went on a road trip for some more donated evergreens for the HLS.  This was a nice donation from Lancaster's Winterberry Christmas Trees ( in Brooklyn, WI.  Dick later made some runs to the dump and Maury shifted to helping set up interior displays (seen below) with Dick P. (below right), Rollie and Mark S..  Not surprisingly, both Maury and Dick P. drifted off for a nap as they worked at the base of this tree...  Maury also ran some errands for us while Dick P. hauled over more items for HLS decoration inside the Parker Education Center.  Dr. Gredler was out mowing/leaf collecting and Bill O. relocated many piles of shredded leaves.  The second photo down shows Vicki and Steve decorating trees after preparing more milk jug luminaries around the HLS route.  They have been great helpers all summer and have really committed to helping with the HLS as well.  Vern, Dave, Jim and Ron Y. all worked on carpentry projects while Pat M. did some inside work and continued securing protective netting on the yews (Taxus) out in the Japanese garden.  The third photo down shows Gene (left) and Bob C. who collected many loads of leaves from the gardens.  The fourth photo down shows Tom C. wiring in some of our new power lines this afternoon which will be very helpful with keeping the HLS running smoothly.  We also saw Ron P., Gary, Mark S. and many others today.  Marsha M. was out taking pictures and has an eye for beautiful shots any time of the year at RBG!

Despite Larry's sour (and slightly confused) look above, the grounds staff had a fun and productive day.  Larry put up lights, secured HLS trees, trenched in power lines, repaired a mower and bounced between a dozen other small projects.  He's a handy guy and is always in demand.  Cheryl was in for a half day and after some brief, indoor HLS work this morning, returned to the fern & moss garden for additional hard core clean-up duties.  Janice was in for her last paid day and helped facilitate volunteers, hauled out lights, decorated, organized HLS supplies, etc.  As mentioned above, I was "cord boy".  While we haven't tested the HLS at night yet, the magnitude and impact of this show will be our best ever without a doubt.  Come see the premiere of the HLS lighting at the November 23rd Taste of Chocolate event (see our website).  Tickets are selling like wildfire for this historically sold out event.  Below are some other shots from today.

subtle fall color on the 'Fenway Park' Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) - woody vine
start of fall color on the 'Copper Ridges' doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum) - woody shrub
prolific fruits of the 'Red Peacock' crabapple (Malus) - woody tree
textbook fall appearance for the Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) - perennial
fall color of the 'Summer Cascade' weeping river birch (Betula nigra) - woody tree
nice Japanese garden shot

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