An oppressive heat settled on the gardens today with a sticky feel to it. I was mostly inside today (no surprise to the grounds staff) but truly felt bad for our staff and volunteers that toughed it out in the gardens today. By the afternoon, it was just Terry, Cindy and Janice out in a 100 degree F. heat index. UGH! This reminds me of last summer. Nice shot above that I took this morning of a black swallowtail in the "Pollinator's Paradise" theme of the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children's Garden. This butterfly ignored me as he/she? worked over this butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) this morning. While there is a chance of rain this afternoon and over the evening hours, we watered today based on an expectation of no rain (which is usually a safe bet!). Below are some additional shots from today.
'Carmencita Pink' castor bean (Ricinus communis) seed capsules - annual
'Green Jewel' coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) - perennial
'Early Splendor' summer poinsettia (Amaranthus tricolor) - annual
the "orange slope" in the entrance garden this morning
'Torch' Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) close-up - annual (7' tall!)
The grounds staff had a brutal but productive day. Cindy (above) can be seen tidying up the entrance garden before a busy weekend. She also watered, planted, tidied the All-America Selections collection and did more watering! Big John and Pat were here for half days. John ran irrigation, set up sprinklers and finalized his path widening project in the Japanese garden (looks great). Pat push mowed, planted in the Scottish garden and watered. Terry set up lots of sprinklers, sheared boxwood (Buxus) and watered containers. Janice watered, fertilized, weeded, picked veggies and did the cutting display which features ragweed (Ambrosia sp.) as the "Weed of the Week!". Of course the gang did lots of other small projects as well in the sweltering heat. Below is the 'Punch Bowl' hybrid blanketflower (Gaillardia hybrida) which is an annual variety that I plant and photograph every year here.
Our volunteers wisely selected this morning for the bulk of their activities and we had a strong showing as usual on a Friday. Above is Ron K. in the woodland walk garden (his assigned garden) where he did plenty of clean-up and some planting of new perennials. He does a great job and has a lot of square footage (which he dominates!). Below (in order, top to bottom) are Kay, Terri and Eva. The ladies did a dynamite job on the front entrance garden bed along Palmer Drive. They weeded, removed spent annuals, gossiped, cut back unruly annuals and really made it look nice. They were all pretty spent by the end of the morning but the results were certainly worth their mild discomfort in brutal temperatures. Note that Eva looks ready to pounce like a crazed cheetah (which oddly enough is her nickname too...). On my way to work, I see Eva walking briskly almost every day. I think she puts in 7 miles before she gets to the gardens (not joking). We also saw Maury, Cheryl, Vern (carpentry), Dick H. (carpentry), Bill O. (mowing), Dr. Gredler (mowing), Bob & Bev D. (watering), Dr. Yahr and many others. Pat R. came in to help recruit volunteers for the Fall Plant Sale (see our website!). The fourth photo down shows Art with our new cart for mobility impaired guests. He gave a tour for three folks today and he and Chuck S. do a great job with cart tours and standard docent tours. All of our docents are superb! Long weekend ahead with hopefully some rain! Check out the cool punkins (and other photos) below...
2013 Mini-Pumpkin Collection -varieties
some of the pumpkins from the collection at the Horticulture Center
many of these will be used in the RBG education programs
fruiting structure of Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) - native perennial
fruiting structure of Italian arum (Arum italicum) - non-native perennial
one of our 56 environmental quote benches out in the gardens
another neat morning glory (Ipomoea sp.) - mesmerizing (and vigorously reseeding) annual