Friday, August 31, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
The grounds staff had recollections of July as they all had significant watering duties. Marv kept the irrigation zones going most of the day and also set up sprinklers in multiple areas. He also worked on edging, container watering and other tasks including preparing our holding yard for incoming plant sale goodies. Terry also set-up sprinklers, push-mowed, watered containers and went around the gardens for his Friday blower rounds. Big John was in for a half-day and also worked primarily on watering. He also push-mowed with Terry this morning. Janice hand-watered multiple areas, checked on the moss gardens and helped me with some other projects. Marianne was in to do her cutting display as well. I spent most of the day preparing task lists for next week as I'll be on vacation. I was able to walk the entire gardens and was again amazed at all the color. I also spent some time spraying herbicides in a couple locations as the afternoon was quite hot and sunny and perfect for these applications. To the right is a Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) leaf close-up in the English cottage garden. Directly below is the fragrant bloom of the annual sweet sultan (Centaurea imperialis 'Imperial Bride White'). This one smells unbelievably sweet, particularly at dusk. The next photo down shows two fragrant blooms of the Carefree Wonder shrub rose (Rosa 'Meipitac') in the rose garden. These are setting another nice flush of semi-double pink blooms right now and are quite showy. This variety is also a 1991 All-America Rose Selection winner. Of course we had some good volunteers in today. Kay (above) did another nice job weeding in multiple areas. We truly don't have one large area that is weedy but that's not to say that we don't have weeds. These past couple of weeks have included plenty of suggestions for "wandering and weeding". We're tidying up all areas in regards to weeds, deadheading, staking and/or removals if necessary. Kay is one of our best "wanderers" and can fill a cart quickly. Rollie and Bill O. were in this morning to take care of most of the riding mowing out in the gardens and Dr. Gredler came in later to touch up the last of the areas. Bob T. (to the right) was in for most of the morning and worked on touching up our "air edging" in the larch area. Air edging involves using a flat spade to create a sharp, clean separation between turf and a flower bed (where traditional edging doesn't exist). Bob is our veteran air edger and has trained many "grasshoppers" in this art form. We're glad to have his skills out in the gardens and his efforts quickly improve the appearance of any space he's addressing. We also saw Chuck, Maury, Dr. Yahr, Vern and some others today. To the left is the 'Peach Whirl' copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana). This variety is planted along our orange wall and features some very exquisite foliage.
Janice and I loaded up her grain samples (potted) this afternoon for her to haul over to the Garden Festival. Hosted by the Rock Prairie Master Gardeners, this annual event is fun and educational for the entire family. Held at the Rock County 4H Fairgrounds from 9 am until 3 pm, this event also has free admission, vegetable tasting, kids activities, entertainment, food and a pie baking contest among other things. Janice will be talking about our Grains of the World Collection (sponsored by the Rock County Farm Bureau) and I'll be addressing Ornamental Edibles. Check it out. To the right is the leaf of the 'Diamond Head' elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta). I first saw this variety at the New York Botanical Garden three years ago and the rich chocolate coloration caught my eye. We have about 50 of these scattered around the gardens and they look great with lighter neighbors for contrast. Directly below is the nicely variegated foliage of the variegated corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas 'Variegata') in the Japanese garden. I call a plant like this "multi-featured" as it has nice yellow blooms in early spring but the variegated foliage extends interest until fall. The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is 'Skyracer' which has topped out over 12' tall in the Ornamental Edible & Compact Vegetable Collection. That bloom is over 15" in diameter! At the bottom are our most oftenly used Adirondack chairs in the Smelly Garden. I need to sit here at dusk some evening and see how fragrant that garden can become at "peak scent" time.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I spent the day helping with volunteers, in meetings, some watering and getting ready for being gone on vacation next week. I'll blog tomorrow but wont be back online for a week or so. Directly below are three plants of interest and a nice shot of the formal gardens today. Directly below is the native, white wood aster (Aster divaricatus 'Raiche Form') near the fishing pier. This one is blooming early but that has been the story all year! The next photo down is the annual bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii 'Brilliantissima'). Also called the "chicken gizzard plant", this foliage annual has bright pink and maroon highlights and really catches the eye in both full and part sun. The next photo is a perennial stonecrop (Sedum 'Razzleberry') which is a nice low plant at 10" or so. The foliage emerges a bluish-grey but darkens to light maroon. The raspberry colored flowers start in late summer and extend well in to fall.