Monday, June 30, 2014

Back In The Saddle

Above is a recent photo from the gardens shared by Ken T. who is here quite often with his camera (thankfully).  That swallowtail is sure enjoying the South American verbena (Verbena bonariensis) out in the gardens.  The majority of these verbena are located in the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  We have many wonderful photographers sharing their photos with us which we appreciate greatly.  After being gone all week at the American Public Garden Association (APGA) Conference in Denver, CO, it's nice to be back in action.  After a later flight and all the associated delays, I'm operating on 4 hours of sleep which is 14 hours less than I usually get nightly...Oh well.  The gardens looked great when I returned and while we still have the normal challenges of finalizing planting and keeping up with the weeds, I think we're in good shape.  We had a nice turnout of volunteers today and I was able to "reconnect" with the garden.  Today was the last day at RBG for Mary our Director and we wish her well.  Below are some additional flower shots from the gardens this morning.

'Towering Orange' sulphur cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) at 4' tall!  This is just one of 70 selections in our 2014 Cosmos Collection
our impatiens berm looking colorful as usual
above is a balloon flower (Platycodon) ready to open and below is the next step!

It felt a little bit like Christmas this morning when I saw Pat (above) putting lights on another star that he crafted for giant obelisk #2.  Last fall, Pat rigged up a nice star for our first big obelisk (aka - the "Tower of Power") and the second one will also go in to action for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) this December.  The photo below shows Bob C. (standing) and Gene weeding an area before spreading mulch over that space.  Lloyd (second photo down) also assisted and these guys did a great job mulching and were later joined by Dick H. after he made some runs to the dump with debris.  Vern, Dave, Bob K. and Jim worked on some carpentry projects and certainly have plenty on their plate.  The third photo down shows Gary S. out in the gardens looking for labels to replace and/or repair.  This is a perpetual duty as we continue to upgrade our signage and maintain what has been already placed out in the gardens.  Gary also worked on some sign production and additional IT issues.  The fourth photo down shows Marv (left) back in action with Terry.  These guys were like Siamese twins for many years and fell right in to their old ways of being chatty and taking long breaks...The guys did work on edging and hauling plants out as well.  The next photo down shows Ron R. (left) and Larry headed out for more path tidying.  The sixth photo down shows Kathleen (left) working with Jenny on some planting.  Kathleen started volunteering today and jumped right in to planting.  Maury was in to run errands and we had Kathy, Eva and Bonnie all working on a major weeding project in the entrance garden.  Dr. Gredler did quite a bit of mowing today and we also saw Dr. Yahr, Bev W., Ron W., Marilyn H. and many others.

Directly above is some butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) looking good in the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  The grounds staff had a busy day.  John and Terry worked on edging beds, trimming boxwoods and many other projects today.  Larry did some mowing and spent time troubleshooting one of our water features.  Jenny did some major weeding, planted with Kathleen (seen above) and volunteered in the afternoon to tidy up the Hosta Hollow garden space.  I was able to get outside and see the gardens but also hauled out plants for immediate planting and planting over the remainder of the week.  We still have about 15% of our bed space to fill in with annuals and other plantings.  Below are some additional images from today.

Above is a hybrid foxglove called 'Illumination Flame' (xDigiplexis).  I predict this will be a very popular annual plant for its 3' height and blooms like this until frost.  This is a sterile cross of foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and its cousin, the Canary island foxglove (Isoplexis canariensis).  This looks like fun and blooms for a long period.  We have this featured also as an entrant in the American Garden Award (AGA) Display Bed.  These were hard to find this year but I think they'll get some attention!
'Climax' plantain lily (Hosta) - perennial (enormous!)
The Thomas Jefferson Collection is filling in well.  Above is just one of the 105 historical plants in this collection.  The scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus vulgaris 'Scarlet Runner') is a long time favorite and like all the other selections in this two year theme, they get fun signs too!  Come check it out.

Friday, June 27, 2014

APGA Day 5

Day 5 of the American Public Garden Association (APGA) Conference went well.  The morning had some sessions but there was time to explore downtown Denver too.  I thought I'd share tour photos from yesterday morning as we visited the special home gardens of some Denver Botanic gardens staff; Mike Kintgen and Panyoti Kelaidis.  Both homes were spectacular and the final stop (last photo) was at a large garden with a daylily collection that was just starting to bloom.   The first four photos were at Mike's where he had some great troughs and containers with rare alpines.  Panyoti's garden was larger with some more naturalistic areas, a water feature and also, plenty of alpines.  It was a great day for photos as I had a full morning of shots and then the afternoon at the Denver Botanic Garden (DBG).  I had not been to DBG in many years and enjoyed seeing the new Children's Garden, Chihuly glass exhibit and of course the gardens in general.  More sessions this afternoon and a late reception this evening to close out the event.  Another sunny day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

APGA Day 4

I took the most photos of any day thus far that I've been at the American Public Garden Association (APGA) Conference in Denver, CO.  Today (Day 4) we had morning tours to three gardens and I enjoyed each site.  Two had a very strong focus on alpine plants and I'll feature some of those images in the blog tomorrow. The afternoon included more lectures and we all ended up at the Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) for an evening tour, dinner and reception.  The gardens looked beautiful and while I hadn't visited DBG in over 5 years, I found lots of new gardens, modifications and improvements.  This garden is certainly in the Top 10 in the country and is also well know for research and outreach.  The Chihuly glass sculptures around the gardens were tastefully positioned and looked great with lighting as the sun set.  I went through the gardens three times for photo shots and enjoyed seeing their displays.  Included in this blog are just some of the many photos I took during my visit to DBG.  Note the scary boxwood creature in the lower photo!