The Taste of Chocolate (TOC) event on Saturday night went every well and had a full crowd (sold out) around 250 attendees. I turned on the lights later in the evening and those that braved the cold weather seemed to enjoy the show. The photos both above and directly below are from Marsha M. (thanks Marsha!) and were taken early last week during the test evenings. Because of a windchill near 10 degrees F on Saturday night, I didn't bring my camera but was very impressed with the appearance of the show after all of our testing and tweaking throughout the week. Everything looked nice and we hope all the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) attendees in December enjoy it as much as the TOC crowd. The second photo down shows the evening appearance of one of three identical displays along Palmer Drive. The third photo down shows this display during the day. This is a "re-purposed" umbrella frame from our old terrace garden furniture that Pat prepared to which John and Terry affixed some blue LED lights. What a neat "before and after" comparison and excellent re-use of some elements we just had lying around. We still have five unused frames will modify for next year...
We had some cold winds today and about 1" of fluffy snow accumulated in this area. This affected our volunteer turnout although we did have some help both outside and inside. Above is Gene cleaning off some of these short plastic tubes that were donated to us from Stoughton Trailer. Some of these tubes, the byproduct of their shipping processes, were used last year for planters (the painted ones) but we plan on painting and using all of them in 2014. Below is Dr. Gredler starting to repaint our PVC "pedestal/urn" combinations. He's hidden in the back painting the first four of fifteen units. These are nice set in the ground and offer a nice elevate planter. We have top secret plans for these in 2014.... Vern, Dave, Jim and Ron Y. all worked on carpentry projects including assembling the planters below for planting. Maury and Dick P. worked on some projects at the Parker Education Center and Maury also ran some errands for us. Julie, Head of Grounds, from the Agrace facility up in Fitchburg, WI came down to chat with Janice and me about our volunteer coordination. We had a great chat. Our Horticultural Therapy Committee met this morning as well and attendees included Mary W., Darcie O., Cindy B., Karen B., Art H., Elaine W., Janice P. and me. Bill O. helped shovel outside and worked on some other projects. We also saw Rollie and a few others today.
This is one of my "transition" weeks which involves separation from the HLS and some other fall tasks with a renewed focus on 2014 preparations. Above is just one of about 30 catalogs that have since arrived over the past weeks and are teasing and tempting me to pick them up. I'll start our seed selection process and ordering in earnest over the coming weeks and have plenty of other planning to accomplish. I do enjoy the winter months for these preparations but we'll keep an eye on the HLS, path clearing and winter gardening duties as well (primarily pruning). Big John worked on some tweaks to the HLS based on my observations on Saturday night. Both he and Larry did some work out in the gardens and also helped clear snow from the main building walk ways. Larry also had some indoor projects to accomplish. Janice was in for our meeting with Julie and worked on some other odds and ends. Below are some other recent images from the gardens. Colorful conifers will start to steal the show and many get more intense winter coloration as well.
'Gold Coin' Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)
'KBN Gold' Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)
handy orchard ladders for lights set-up and near future pruning out in the gardens