Today was supposed to be sunny and 65 degrees F. While it was milder than previous days this week, it was overcast with the lightest of drizzles all day long. The overcast skies made the golden fall color on the willow-leaf bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) above glow nicely. The sun finally did peak out in the afternoon. It was a productive day with lots going on throughout the gardens. We didn't get a lot of volunteers but those that did come were extremely productive as usual. The balance of work today was split evenly between Holiday Lights Show (HLS) set-up and gardening. This will be our pattern for another week or so and then it's almost all HLS work! Below are some additional photos from today.
start of fall color on oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) - woody shrub
fall color on 'Jazz' little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - perennial
pinkish tinge on drying blooms of Little Lime panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Jane') - woody shrub
intense fall color on bloody cranesbill geranium (Geranium sanguineum) - perennial
Our volunteers did another wonderful job today. Above is Kay who spent the morning continuing to tidy up the shade garden and areas adjacent to the sunken garden. She is thorough and came back with many cart loads of debris. Directly below is Ron K. finishing up much of his fall clean-up in the woodland walk garden which he kept looking great all year. Kathy and Eva finished clearing annuals in the entrance garden and also added significantly to our compost pile with repeated loads of debris. Dr. Gredler was in for his mowing rounds and we had the boys (John, Vic and Matt) from LP Tree Service at the gardens (second and third photos down) to hang our "dangling icicle lights" with their two bucket trucks. We appreciate the donation of time and support of the event by LP Tree Service every year. We also saw Maury and a couple others today. The fourth photo down shows the start of some work in the center of the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden which will ultimately be an awesome new feature (more to follow). Note the 15" of topsoil on pure sand which is no surprise as the original site of the gardens was a sand & gravel pit mined by the Wilcox Sand & Gravel Co. 100 years ago.
The grounds staff split duties between gardening and HLS set-up. Above is Pat balancing the lower portion of our second "Tower of Power" which he'll get up next week. Pat worked on finishing up the first tower in the reception garden and will focus on this one next week. Cindy continued garden clean-up outside the reception garden and in other locations. She also did the cutting display and helped mark the dangling icicle lights with bright tape so they can be seen by people, mowers and deer alike! Big John and Terry emptied out more containers this morning and moved on to some significant progress with getting more HLS displays out in the gardens and secured. Placement of displays changes each year but essential considerations are view angles, power source and proper securing against the elements. The guys also helped the LP fellas later in the afternoon. I was able to run a good 2,000 feet of cords this morning and then caught up on desk work in the afternoon. Below are more photos from this morning.
fall color of Little Quick Fire panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'SMHPLQF') - woody shrub
fall color on Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica) - woody shrub
start of fall color on three-flower maple (Acer triflorum) - woody tree
patch of 'Toffee Twist' "dead sedge" (Carex flagellifera) - not hardy for us
English ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) stretching out with fall color - woody vine
'Orange Fantasia' Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) still looking good - annual
the reindeer are "poised for placement" soon