Friday, October 10, 2014

Youthful Infusion

We had some excellent help today from 18 high school students and their teacher (Kath B.) from Oakhill Christian School here in Janesville.  This crew has historically come and volunteered every April and October for the past six years. While the faces change over time, we've consistently been impressed with how hard working these volunteers are upon arrival.  Above is the crew posing near the gazebo and below are some action shots as this group tackled duties in the Jungle Garden which included removals, potting up tropicals (bananas, elephant ears, etc.) for winter storage and processing other plants for saving over the winter as well.  The group did a great job and we had help keeping up with them from Janice, Tom, Alan M., John and Terry.  We hauled plenty of debris back to the compost pile and the group finished clearing over 75% of the Jungle Garden which involves many different beds.  Check out some of the action below...

The grounds staff kept busy with a wide range of tasks today.  Big John and Terry had duties involving running irrigation, watering, etc. but spent most of their time working on Holiday Lights Show (HLS) set-up.  John and Terry were also a huge help with hauling back potted tropicals for storage (see directly below).  Janice helped me with the Oakhill Christian volunteers and moved on to other duties in the afternoon.  She is very adept at keeping everyone organized and on task!  Cindy had tidying duties in many areas, watered the yard and spent the bulk of her time further tidying up the "Pollinator's Paradise" in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  She also found a cool swallowtail caterpillar doing some late season munching on parsley (Petroselinum crispum) in that garden (second photo down)!  Pat M. spent all of his time on lights repair for the HLS.  We ran out of carts for him to get out in the gardens much but he has the patience of a saint with these oftentimes tedious repairs!    Further below are some recent plant images from our Autumn garden.

 love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) - annual
 'Fat Spike' amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus) - annual
 saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) - perennial
 yellow buckeye (Aesculus octandra) - woody tree
broom corn (Sorghum bicolor) - annual

Aside from our wonderful volunteers from Oakhill Christian School, we had some additional help from many veteran volunteers.  Above is Dick H. repairing one of our green carts which had some serious problems yesterday.  Dick is one handy guy and as a retired auto shop teacher, has a wealth of knowledge that has benefitted the gardens!  Alan M. came in for leaf clean-up and helped with our Jungle Garden "purge".  Dr. Gredler came in for his mowing rounds prior to another busy weekend (two weddings). Randy M. (below) continued on another day of repairing some of our HLS displays which he originally built many years ago.  The second photo shows him sitting down on the job.  Eva and Kathy (third photo down) did a nice job purging and tidying in the terrace garden, along the red wall planting and in the reception garden.  Ron K. came in to work in his area and collected leaves as well as debris from cutting back some select perennials.  He came back with many loads.  Tom F. was a big help with our morning jobs and is our "go to guy" for processing tropicals.  The fourth photo down shows Kay who did another dynamite job in her section of the shade garden and in the gazebo garden.  We also saw Dave M., Al H., Dr. Yahr and many others today.  The bottom photo shows Nancy N. yesterday doing an amazing job of putting together a "memory board" for Marianne Bue's memorial services tomorrow.  I just printed the photos and she did the rest with some help from Janice.

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