Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Jungle Garden

While we haven't had the heat to encourage the Jungle Garden (seen above and below) as much as I would have liked, the plants are still filling in steadily!  It's hard to believe that we were painting these doors and windows only five months ago and we are now enjoying seeing visitors explore these lush spaces.  If we have a warm August, we should see significant growth with these areas becoming "jungle thickets"!  We had another beautiful day around 80 degrees F and the morning was just the perfect temperature for gardening.  The grounds staff and volunteers had no shortage of tasks and it continues to be one productive day after another.  We're finally getting a handle on the weeds and while we'll never be "weedless", we're finishing some of the challenging areas and will continue to primp as time (and the number of helping hands) allows!  More photos from the Jungle Garden this morning can be seen below.

'Thailand Giant' elephant ear (Colocasia gigantea) with neighbors
Can you spot the volunteer!?  Nancy can be seen past the 'Zanzibariensis' castor bean (Ricinus communis) to the left and she's just to the right of the blue window!
our six doors get plenty of action as visitors enter and leave this "urban jungle"
repurposed culvert pipe (18" diameter) with some paint becomes instant containers!

We had another strong volunteer contingent today.  Above is Kay working near the front entrance garden. We're targeting weeds in the ever shrinking gaps between the plants.  Access in to these spaces will be very limited soon.  Kay is excellent at this "target weeding" as is Patrea (directly below) who joined her in these escapades this morning.  Eva (next photo down) and Kathy were also in near proximity and helped with weeds in and around the entrance garden as well.  The third photo down shows Myrt in the Jungle Garden who, along with Gena, Nancy and Mary D., did a fine job weeding throughout these tropical displays.  Jan R. spent time tidying up the Scottish garden (her assigned garden) and Stan was in to target tasks in the Japanese garden.  Marv and Marianne tag-teamed their weeding/tidying efforts in the fern and moss garden with a focus on the moss island.  They are also nicely maintaining a moss garden in the Japanese garden.  Maury ran some errands for us and Janice worked with our Chestnut House volunteers.  The group harvested vegetables from many areas including beds near the Horticulture Center.  We saw many others today as well.

The grounds staff all shifted between watering and gardening duties.  Above are Terry (foreground) and Big John shearing the yew (Taxus sp.) hedges in the formal gardens.  This is a huge project and the guys did a nice job.  It's nice to see minimal brown left on these from that tough winter but in other locations, the yews (Taxus sp.) are still recovering.  Terry and John each also had watering duties to include setting up and moving sprinklers, running irrigation and watering containers.  Terry also sheared in other areas and John planted a small tree and multiple shrubs.  Cindy (half day) planted grasses, watered and continued to primp the beautiful "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  I was out in the gardens briefly but continue to chip away at a pile on my desk that never diminishes in size!  I'm off the next two days but will try to put together some fun, plant-based blogs.  If you're reading this blog and haven't visited yet this year (or recently), get to Janesville and check us out as summer peak is here!!!  Below are some other images from this morning.

'Arrabona Red' plume celosia (Celosia plumosa) can be seen above. This is one of four selections (all annuals) in the American Garden Award (see below) program.  Visitors can vote on their favorite entry.  See for more details.  Votes can be done online or we have voting cards available at the collection that can be filled out and dropped in the mail.

'Majeste' lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.) showing some color in the shade - perennial
seed capsules of 'Carmencita Red' castor bean (Ricinus communis) - annual (poisonous!)
elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta) with 'Big Bounce Lavender' New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) and 'Toffee Twist' sedge (Carex flagellifera)
'Secret Passion' coneflower (Echinacea hybrida) - perennial

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