Monday, August 31, 2015

The Warm Up Begins

The gardens continue to be very colorful.  Above is a small vignette in the shade garden which features 'Unstoppable Upright Fire' begonia (Begonia) and the silvery 'Pegasus' begonia (Begonia) as well.  We had some nice rain on Saturday which has mitigated our need for irrigation or sprinklers for at least yesterday and today as it still looks quite damp out there.  While the temperatures should be increasing this week in to the upper 80 degrees F and lower 90 degrees F, the plants wont mind the warm up.  Some of the tropicals, including our Elephant Ear Collection, would sure appreciate the heat!  We had another super turnout of volunteers today and with watering needs minimal, we all collectively dove in to gardening projects and many other duties.  All the photos in today's blog were taken this morning.

 kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale) - annual (drops LOTS of seed!)
 'Blue Boa' hyssop (Agastache hybrida) - perennial
 'Gnash Rambler' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - annual
 'Boule de Neige' double pearlwort (Achillea ptarmica) - perennial
 'Curly Fries' hosta (Hosta) - perennial

I had a tour this morning and lacked the time to photograph all of our wonderful volunteers but was able to capture Eva (above) on her way back to join Kathy with primping and tidying in the entrance garden and terrace garden.  The ladies always do a nice job.  Rollie (directly below) mowed along with Dr. Gredler.  Lloyd worked on path repair and improvements while Ron R. collected leaves and debris from other areas.  Vern, Dave, Jim and Ron Y. continued on their carpentry projects which included building some neat raised beds for all-accessible gardening.  Dick P. was in to help out and Dick H. ran to the dump and was working on equipment repairs.  Pat M. continued with his pre-Holiday Lights Show duties which are significant.  Gary was in to help with some pre-plant sale activities and Pat C. popped by for label production.  Maury ran many errands for us and Alan continued with his edging/weeding project around the Horticulture Center beds.  We also saw Dr. Yahr, Terri N., Karen, Skylar and many others today including Larry Olsen who stopped by around the lunch hour.

We had a quartet of VIPs arrive this morning from Cantigny Gardens ( in Wheaton, IL.  I love this garden and have visited many times over the years.  The gang can be seen above and we had a delightful stroll through the gardens and talked "shop" all along.  We enjoy receiving these visits and making these trips ourselves as we find we have much to share and learn.  Botanical garden folks are very cordial and we enjoyed having these folks from Cantigny visit us today.  

I spent some time with these folks and moved on to more desk work related to getting our Fall Plant Sale in order and other upcoming events.  Big John and Terry hung out today and worked on planting five trees, removing a good sized, dead Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), container watering and many other duties.  Bob K. cleaned out the far end of the pond including our "water movers", watered, repaired a mower and bounced between other duties.  Larry H. did a nice job continuing his mulching work in the Scottish garden and woodland glade garden and did quite a bit of push mowing as well.  He is a productive and steady worker which we already knew with his many years as a Grumpy!   Great day overall!

 'Varied Directions' larch (Larix x marschlinsii) - woody tree
 'Midori Sour' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta) - tropical
 'Banana Boat' sedge (Carex siderosticha) - perennial
 shade garden annuals featuring 'Blazin' Rose' bloodleaf (Iresine hybrida) in the center
 'China Purple' bush clematis (Clematis heracleifolia) - perennial
 strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum) - annual
 'Tidal Wave' katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) - woody tree
 'Elephant Head' amaranth (Amaranthus gangeticus) - annual
 the mushrooms are coming up quickly after the heavy rains on Saturday
Mums are starting to arrive for the Fall Plant Sale!....make sure you mark the calendar for September 12th and 13th (9 am - 4pm daily) for mums ($8 each!) and a whole lot more (RBG Members are invited to our Friday, September 11th Pre-Sale from 9 am - 4 pm with everything 10% off)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Storms On The Way

Today started with the strong promise of rain which is reinforced on the doppler radar!  We had some drizzle this morning but the bulk of the rain should arrive later this afternoon and evening.  Tomorrow might be soggy as well.  We'll see what happens.  The gardens continue to look lush as seen in the photo above of the formal annual sections and the two photos below.  We had a solid morning of gardening with some excellent volunteer help as well.  With the Fall Plant Sale looming soon, we'll be spending more time on preparing for that important fundraising event.  Actually, the pre-sale for RBG Members starts two weeks from today (9 am - 4 pm) with a 10% discount and "pick of the litter"!  Folks can come down and become members that day and start shopping. The discount extends throughout the duration of the sale and the other benefits of membership are worthy of consideration as well.

 Hal and Doris' garden area (above) is looking sharp!

The Story Walk 2015 (above and  two photos below) has been very successful this year.  Called the Alphabet Jungle Garden, this sequential experience features (and interprets) the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.  This is the third year we've had a "jungle garden" experience that has become so popular with all of our visitors.  The doors and windows will come down after this year and we have an interesting concept for next  year (top secret of course!).

 variegated giant reed (Arundo donax 'Versicolor') with Easy Wave 'Red Velour' petunias (Petunia)

I was remiss again with photography of our volunteers but we had a decent showing today.  Above is Resa on her way out to the North point garden which is looking spectacular.  She (along with Cookie) has done a great job out there.  Kathy P. was in for entrance garden primping which includes lots of deadheading of spent blooms and removal of any unsightly annuals.  We are having to remove a few annuals here and there but the color is still quite excellent.  Kay came in to weed and tidy around the formal annual garden sections and Jan R. primped and tidied in the Scottish garden.  Bill O. and Dr. Gredler did their mowing rounds and Pat M. came in for some pre Holiday Lights Show duties (it's never too early to start!).  Marv was in to tidy up his moss areas and we also saw Karen M., Dr. Yahr, Robert K. and many others today.  Jumbo Jim brought in four RECAPPERS and the guys did a great job out in the gardens with clean-up and preparing a new garden area.  This baby bird below was quite stubborn and wouldn't move off of the main path. Mother was nearby though and probably resolved the situation.  This is the look I get from my wife too by the way...

We had a small but efficient grounds staff today.  Cindy worked on primping multiple areas and has an excellent eye for detail.  She also did some watering along with Janice. Janice also did the cutting display, tidied the front entrance garden and had some clerical projects as well.  Bob K. ran some irrigation, checked water features, continued his gravel project and did a nice job creating more space out in the yard for the mums that will be arriving for the Fall Plant Sale next week!  I was able to tour the gardens but find myself at my desk with a pile of "to do list" items related to the upcoming sale and Holiday Lights Show.  Another excellent day though!  All these blog photos were from today.

 big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) - perennial
 'Benary Giant Scarlet' zinnia (Zinnia elegans) - annual
 'Stripe it Rich' Hakone grass (Hakenechloa macra) - perennial
 white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) - perennial
 'Raiche Form' wood aster (Aster divaricatus) - perennial
 'Scarlet Pimpernel' caladiums (Caladium) - tropical
 'Lemon Queen' perennial sunflower (Helianthus hybrida) - perennial
 'Chocolate Drop' stonecrop (Sedum hybrida) - perennial
 'Scarlet' kale (Brassica oleracea) - annual
'Serenade Mix' Chinese aster (Callistephus chinensis) - annual

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oodles of Volunteers

Today was beautiful weather with sunshine and mid 70 degrees F.  The gardens looked great and we had lots of visitors out in the gardens.  Incoming rain this weekend and a warm up in temperatures next week will be helpful for extended color and plant vigor.  There was a large group meeting at the main building and I'm sure they were able to get out and explore the gardens too.  Our staff and volunteers had a busy day and Thursdays continue to see the most volunteer traffic around the gardens.  We continue to primp the gardens which look excellent this late in the season.  Above is the English cottage garden that Marcia and Mirjam tend so lovingly and below are the eight formal annual sections looking lush.  It was another excellent day in the gardens.  All of the blog photos were taken today.

 'Silver Falls' Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum) - perennial
 'Postman's Pride' stonecrop (Sedum hybrida) - perennial
 'Cosmic Orange' cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) - annual
 'Alexander's Great' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) - perennial (huge leaves!)

We had a spectacular volunteer turnout today which has become commonplace for Thursdays!  Lots of smiling faces like that of Del (above) who was peeling labels for later re-use.  In lieu of task descriptions for our two dozen plus volunteers (many shown below), I'd like to offer a hearty thank you to Del, Alan, Vicki, Dave, Jim, Ron Y., Ron P., Larry H., Lloyd, Ed, Marleen, Magda, Bonnie, Peg, Suzie, Pat M., Dr. Gredler, Dr. Yahr, Karen, Joanne A., Dick H., Hal, Doris, Kathy P., Maury, Kay F. and many others!  It was a very productive day.

The grounds staff of Big John, Cheryl, Janice, Larry H. and I all had myriad tasks as well.  John and Larry took on mowing duties while Janice and Cheryl took care of watering containers.  John also planted, pruned, ran irrigation, set up sprinklers and bounced between some other projects.  Larry continued composting when he wasn't mowing.  Cheryl spent another day in the woodland walk and had plenty of tidying to keep her busy.  She does an excellent job.  Janice also watered, tidied in the Thomas Jefferson Collection, had "pre plant sale" duties, etc.  I was able to get out in the gardens but remain focused on looming events.  It was another great day of weather and progress out in the gardens.

 Dave, Ron Y. and Jim (left to right)
 Peg L.
 Marleen (left) and Magda
 Ron P. (left) and Larry H. (sitting down on the job)
 Dr. Gredler
 Kathy P.
 devil's bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) - perennial
 yellow waxy bells (Kirengeshoma palmata) - perennial
 'China Town' plume celosia (Celosia plumosa) - annual
 'Carnevale di Venezia' morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) - annual vine
 pretzel bean vine (Vigna unguiculata) - annual vine
 'Strawberry Fields' globe amaranth (Gomphrena haageana) - annual
'Mystic Haze' dahlia (Dahlia hybrida) - annual