Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chugging Along

We've lucked out with the weather thus far this week with fairly nice and dry days after a cool morning start.  Our luck may be running out soon and next week looks chilly.  However, we continue to get our fresh air out in the gardens (nice arched bridge shot above from today) with continued set-up for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) and significant garden clean-up.  My "chugging along" blog title was in reference to the train display seen below.  This is one of many displays (rebar + rope lighting) being positioned around the gardens.  We had a super turnout of volunteers today and our newly donated cart arrived (see fourth photo down).  Marv and Marianne (recently deceased) purchased this for us and Marv can be seen on this much appreciated cart.  Note the next photo down with a fitting tribute to a great woman (lettered on both sides of the cart).  The cart was actually in use within 30 minutes of arrival.  Below are some additional images from our HLS set-up.

one of many displays created by Randy M. and his dad over the years
LED curtain being installed by Pat M today
just some of the now record 350 icicle lights dangling from the trees (thanks L.P. Tree Service!)
Marv B. in the new chariot (thanks Marv and Marianne!)

While the grounds staff sunk their teeth in to HLS set-up, we were fortunate to have such a great collection of volunteers taking care of the gardening.  Above is Kay working on the east border with pruning, weeding and leaf collection.  Below is Marv taking care of the moss island which looks pretty vivid this time of year.  Alan M. was out raking for a good five hours today and came back with some serious leaves for the compost pile.  Urban popped by in the afternoon for pruning and Bill O. continued collecting leaves.  The second photo down shows Eva, who along with Kathy (third photo down) did a great job tidying up the alpine garden and gazebo garden.  The fourth photo down shows Gena (blue) and Myrt continuing raking this afternoon in the gazebo garden along with Nancy (fifth photo down).  The ladies do nice work and targeted a tough area to access due to lots of plant labels.  Janice was in late this morning and worked with our Chestnut House volunteers on some significant raking.  Dr. Gredler did his mowing rounds and we also saw Gary S., Dr. Yahr, Sue F., Denise, Chris D., Marsha M. and many others today.

Above (left to right) are Big John, Terry and Marv.  John and Terry had a very full day of taking out displays and their progress over the past seven weeks has been remarkable.  It's important to note that the HLS increased in walking length by 50% last year and lights have increased by 20% or so in the past two years.  This has resulted in a bit of anxiety (on my part) for getting everything up and ready in a timely fashion.  This is not a casual, unorganized set-up and we need to also allow time to wire everything up and test our power loads.  Cindy (half day) continued with the luminaries and did a nice job spacing out the milk jugs and stretching out more of the 2,000 lights that will safely illuminate our HLS route.  Cheryl worked on decorating four obelisks (nice job) this morning and was out later for some fresh air and gardening duties near the English cottage garden.  Pat (half day) had a wide range of HLS related tasks both inside and outside.  I strung another 2,500 feet of cords today and am thinking I'm going to run out soon....Below are some additional photos from the gardens taken today.

purpling fall color on the Dreamcatcher golden beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco') - woody shrub
some leaves of the "always awesome in fall" sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) - woody tree
'Jack Frost' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) still with some interest - perennial
swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) offering some "earthy" color - woody tree
fall color on 'Jazz' little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - perennial
reddish hints of fall color on paperbark maple (Acer griseum) - woody tree
fall color on 'Purple Ribbons' vernal witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis) - large shrub

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