Friday, August 29, 2014

Shoveling In A Snowstorm?

My blog title refers to all the leaf collection that has been going on this week.  Our cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) and some other trees are dropping leaves fairly early this year and as we clean up an area, the leaves continue to flutter down.  Regardless, we'll continue to remove each layer as it descends!  Above is the 'Robustissima' grape-leaf anemone (Anemone tomentosa) which looks great this time of year and should bloom for another month or so.  We had a small grounds crew today and some reliable volunteers.  The 50% chance of rain throughout the day hasn't materialized at the time of typing this blog but the 80% chance of rain tomorrow seems likely.  Below are some additional photos from this morning.

'Chilly Chili' ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual
variegated obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) - perennial
'Golden Dreams' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) with silver spurflower (Plectranthus argentatus) - both tropicals

I was remiss with my photography today in not capturing all of our wonderful volunteers.  Above is Kay dealing with another wave of leaves in her section of the shade garden.  She also did a great job collecting leaves along our primary path in that area.  Eva and Kathy also did a nice job out in the garden with leaf and debris collection.  Both Dr. Gredler and Bill O. accomplished their mowing rounds and the gardens are ready for the weekend.  Cookie was in to check on the North point garden and we also saw Rollie, Maury and many others. 

Terry, Janice and Cindy all had various gardening duties today which included timely watering as we didn't count on the rain which is always a safe practice!  Terry also push mowed and watered containers.  Cindy and Janice both watered our Fall Plant Sale (see mums and had multiple gardening duties.  I was desk bound but accomplished much as I continue to chip away at my "IN BOX".  Below are some other images from today.

'Black Coral' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) in our red themed wall
'Tinkerbell' flowering tobacco (Nicotiana hybrida) - annual
Japanese shellflower (Chelonopsis yagiharana) - perennial
'Lucky Lavender' lantana (Lantana camara) - annual
seven sons flower (Heptacodium miconoiodes) - small tree

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mum's The Word

The mums have started to arrive (as seen above) for the Fall Plant Sale which starts next weekend.  These mums are always popular for their size and affordability!  They will be $9 each or $8 each with five or more purchased.  The sale will also include hundreds of varieties of perennials (for sun and shade), ornamental grasses, shrubs, roses, bulbs, kale, pansies, bagged compost and much more!  See www.rotarybotanicalgardens for more information in this event and the September 7th Auction of our neat Adirondack chairs that were part of our 2014 Garden Art Display.  We had an amazing amount of volunteers today with a full break room of helpers this morning.  I know I will forget some names but suffice it to say that our sizeable team was a huge help with tent set up, unloading mums, carpentry and a huge amount of debris collection out in the gardens.  Below are some photos from today including some from our increasingly popular Thomas Jefferson Collection.
balsam (Impatiens balsamina) - annual grown by Jefferson
'Costoluto Genovese' tomato (red) and 'Purple Calabash' tomato (darker) grown by Jefferson
our red border continues to look great with lots of foliage impact!
'Kong Lime Sprite' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - annual
'Creole Nights' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
The volunteers had myriad tasks today ranging from plant sale duties (tent set-up, mum unloading, etc.) and plenty of gardening work.  Our Grumpies included Lloyd, Gary B., Bob C., Ron B., Ron R., Ron P., Ron W., Larry H., Vern, Jim, Dave, Bob K. and Dr. Gredler.  Our Grumpettes today included Sue, Suzie, Mary R., Barb, Marilyn, Eva, Kathy, Bonnie, Beth, Vicki, Linda S. and Mary D.  Hal and Doris worked in their area and Karen M. brought down two of her granddaughters to help out too!  Betty H. tidied up her area as well.  Jumbo Jim was here with four RECAPPERS this afternoon and they did a great job collecting leaves in the Japanese garden and alpine garden.  We also saw Art, Jackie and many others today.  In lieu of describing the myriad activities today, I'll heartily give a kudos to our great team for jobs well done.  Some of the action can be seen below.
the tent boys
Dave, Bob K., Vern and Dave (in the back right)
Sue removing spent cosmos

Suzie, Marilyn and Mary R. (left to right)
Kathy (left) and Barb (throwing leaves)
Mary D. in full raking pose

It was a small crew today with Big John, Janice and me.  We all were involved with mum unloading and both John and Janice helped get our many volunteers organized.  John had other projects out in the gardens as did Janice.  We're holding off on watering as it looks like the next three days will be rainy.  I had some meetings but was able to get out in the gardens and work more on Fall Plant Sale details.  Above is 'Kong Jr. Lime Vein' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) with 'Red-Eyed Gecko' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta).  Below is the 'Raiche Form' white wood aster (Aster divaricatus) at peak.  The gardens are starting to look "Autumn-ish" but still are very colorful.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Sun Returns

Today was a perfect day with sunshine and temperatures under 80 degrees F.  It was perfect working weather and we had a great turnout of volunteers that were thwarted earlier in the week with the rain and even some that came in early to avoid later rains this week.  It could be damp for the next four to five days so we're all enjoying the sunshine including the 'Zanzibariensis' castor bean (Ricinus communis) above which is one component in our Jungle Garden (see below).  The darker leaf castor bean below is 'Carmencita Red'.  It's important to note that these are poisonous plants but so beautiful in this tropical setting.  We saw lots of visitors today and again, it was one of the busiest days for volunteers that I've seen in weeks!  We continue to tidy the gardens after the storms but are primping to keep the displays going for the coming five weeks or more!
one of our many repurposed windows accenting the Jungle Garden theme
some of our trial plants above (hybrid impatiens)
'Red Eyed Gecko' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) - tropical

Shirley (above) was one of many assigned gardeners touching up their areas today.  Shirley worked in some of the arboretum berms which feature many of our trial plants.  Below is Bev W., another assigned gardener, primping her corner of the sunken garden which looks fabulous.  Marv and Marianne were in to tidy their moss areas and both Don and Pearl C. came in to address their border with tidying tasks.  Kay continued leaf collection and tidying in the shade garden and Jenny E. was in to touch up the two areas that she and Dave tend regularly.  Dr. Gredler had a full day of mowing catching up with fast growth.  The second photo down shows Magda (left) and Marleen in their mixed border which continues to look superb.  The third and fourth photos down feature Eva, Patrea and Kathy.  These ladies finished removing our impatiens that were recently affected (or infected) by downy mildew.  We do have some areas looking rougher than others but this trio then shifted to more clean-up issues elsewhere.  Mary and Myrt did a nice job with addressing weeds and leaves in multiple areas.  Bob C. was in for a full morning of leaf clean up and Dr. Yahr helped out as well.  Ron W. assisted with some mulching and raking and we saw many other volunteers today.  Janice worked with the Chesnut House volunteers on leaf raking duties in multiple areas.  I had morning meetings so apologize for any I missed!  A great crew all around of course!

The grounds staff kept very busy today.  We found out that some of our plant sale mums would be arriving today (and they did!) so Terry and Big John did their best to level and prepare the large area that will receive the incoming deliveries.  Terry and John had other tasks including securing benches, spot mowing, replacing a damaged container (heavy), mulching and myriad other duties.  Pat (half day) focused on finishing mowing, mulching, hauling debris and edging.  Cindy (half day) spent her time tidying the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden.  This garden also features our All-America Selections (AAS) Display which is entered in to their annual Landscape Display Contest.  We're hoping for the three-peat victory this year and may not even have to offer bribes.  It's looking sharp.  Cheryl tidied in the azalea/rhododendron garden with some efforts in the fern & moss garden as well.  I was able to get through the gardens but had multiple meetings and am poised for the plant sale preparations which begin in earnest very shortly.  Above is the 'Strawberry Fields' globe amaranth (Gomphrena haageana) which I love for color and form.  Here it is seen in the Thomas Jefferson Collection (come see it!).  Further below are more photos from today.
neat container with Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'), 'Golden Dreams' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) and trailing copperleaf (Alternanthera reinickii)
'Ginger Love' perennial fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
'Puckered Up' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) - tropical
plenty o' pods on the purple hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab) - annual vine

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Jungle Garden Thrives!

I've recently been lamenting the lack of rain and summer heat but both have been provided very recently and have helped spur more growth in the Jungle Garden.  The photo above and four below were taken this morning right before we had another rain shower; complete with thunder and lightning.  The Jungle Garden includes a wide range of tropical plants thickly planted on multiple berms.  The interior paths are accessed through old doors painted in bright colors.  Windows (see above) also punctuate the periphery of these thickets with the intent of connecting this garden with the storybook "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak.  This garden space, encompassing seven separate beds and 4,000 sq. ft. has been very successful and I'm happy to see another surge of growth with recent rains and late season heat.  We had to shift inside for a bit today but had a great crew of seven grounds workers and over a dozen productive volunteers.
The volunteers focused their efforts this morning prior to precipitation at 9:40 a.m. and resumed work after the lunch hour when the rain moved east and the sun came out.  Above is Dr. Gredler mowing in the gazebo garden.  Bill O. was in later in the morning to mow the arboretum and his other two areas.  Directly below is Ron K. who tidied and planted in the woodland walk garden which is his baby.  He was worried about the photo below showing him with another woman....  Kay (next photo down) spent two shifts (pre and post precipitation) tidying her portion of the shade garden which was buried in cottonwood (Populus deltoides) leaves.  She is always very thorough and no leaf will escape her attention this season.  Kathy and Eva (third and fourth photos down respectively) started work on removing and bagging impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) in a bed that has succumbed to impatiens downy mildew which we had thankfully avoided for the past couple of years.  This is devastating to impatiens and we're disposing of these plants after their quick demise.  Kathy and Eva also shifted to some inside work when the rain arrived.  Mary Kay was in to work on the lending library and both Maury and Gary S. ran errands for us this morning.  Ron R. came in to spread some mulch before the rain and we also saw Dr. Yahr and many others today.
The grounds staff kept busy today both inside and out.  Above is Big John push mowing. John also helped repair path washouts, ran for plant sale wagons with Terry and had myriad other tasks.  Pat (half day) also push mowed, edged and worked on various indoor projects as well.  Cindy had tidying duties in multiple areas and tested Holiday Lights Show lights inside during the rain.  Cheryl also had indoor duties and spent her outdoor time primarily with leaf collection (second photo down).  Terry (directly below) worked on path repairs, mowing and went on the "wagon run" with John.  I was able to tour the gardens but continue to try and keep up with accumulating desk work.  Further below are more photos from this morning.
'Tie Dye' Helen's flower (Helenium autumnale) - perennial
'Jack Frost' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) with fruits of the Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) - both perennials
'Religious Radish' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - annual
'Jenny Lind' cantaloupe (Cucumis melo) in our collection