Friday, November 15, 2013

The Last Best Day Of The Year?

Yes, there are still some blooms out in the gardens!  Above is the witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) which is quite striking with thousands of these "confetti-like" yellow blossoms.  Of course, our grasses like the 'Silver Tower' maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) seen below, look great with their inflorescences (flower/seed heads), particularly with some nice backlighting.  The day was sunny and beautiful with a high near 50 degrees F.   I wonder how many more we'll have like this!?  The weekend appears warm (and rainy) but next week will see a return to cooler conditions.  We had a very productive Friday and while we didn't have a lot of volunteers, the grounds staff kept busy with various projects related to gardening and the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) set-up.  Two photos down is the 'Dolce Blackcurrant' coral bells (Heuchera) still offering some nice foliage character. 

Pat (above hands) spent more time repairing lights and then headed out in the gardens to put more protective netting on our yews (Taxus) before the deer become too hungry and focus their attention on our "offerings".  He also collected leaves from various locations and relocated some nice shredded leaves for a mulch.  Cindy hauled out some HLS supplies for me and then spent the day tidying up the Scottish garden which is an area still in need of some late fall clean-up efforts.  She put a nice dent in that area and we'll likely finish that garden and others next week as time allows.  Big John and Terry worked on various lights repairs, sign installation and myriad tasks associated with the HLS.  The guys (seen below in shadows) also put up protective fencing around two long rows of 'Hicksii' upright yews (Taxus) which have been decimated by the deer over the past couple of winters (Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden).  I ran more cords and tweaked many areas after turning on the entire HLS for an all day check-up before additional testing early next week.

'Blondo' Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) looking "pampas grass like" - perennial

Our only gardening volunteer today was Ron K. (seen above) and he did another impressive round of leaf collection from the woodland walk garden.  He did a great job and that is probably one of our more "leaf heavy" gardens to tidy up in the fall.  Dr. Gredler was in for mowing and leaf collection and we also saw Mark S. and Maury.  L.P. Tree Service (seen below) came to re-secure some lights on the Parker Education Center (thanks!) and Dave and Dean came in later to put up more icicle lights along the new Japanese garden route.  Dave is a tree climber and certified arborist which we needed in these areas that can't be reached by the bucket truck seen below.  It was a productive day!  Further below are more shots from today.

'Angelina' stonecrop (Sedum rupestre) - perennial (spreads!)
fall look of 'The Blues' little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - perennial
woodchuck nibbling on our ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) - nutritious annual
fall color of 'Winterthur' smooth witherod viburnum (Viburnum nudum) - woody shrub
top view of small water basin in the Japanese garden

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