Perfect Autumn Day

The photo directly above and directly below were taken from the roof of the Rath Environmental Center where I was running cords for the Holiday Light Show (HLS) as the “rooftop ninja” (although I have a healthy fear of heights!).  Above is ‘Fenway Gold’ Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) which will still turn a pinkish/orange fall color in the coming weeks.  The formal gardens can be seen below with most of our annuals cleared in advance of both frost and cords for the HLS.  Today had a chilly start which we expect in October but we weren’t prepared for the perfect 70 degree sunny day which was just gorgeous.  I was surprised to see so few visitors but we did host the grounds staff from The Christopher Farm and Gardens (Sheboygan, WI).  We had a nice tour and “talked shop” which is always a valuable exchange.

The grounds staff had a busy day with continued focus on the looming HLS (opens November 24th this year!).  Larry O. push mowed and continued his HLS preparations.  Larry H. continues to sling many lights daily for the HLS and has done so for the past 8 weeks already.  Cindy had some watering and gardening duties but also continued her placement of half gallon milk jug luminaries for the HLS.  Bobby K. worked with Larry H. on decorating one of our giant, 20′ tall obelisks and had more electrical improvement duties.  After my tour I spent the afternoon running cords which will absorb more of my time over the coming weeks.

Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) – woody vine

newly planted primrose (Primula sp.) blooming out of season – perennial

ripening fruits of ‘Black Pearl’ ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) – annual

some of our tropicals are already for hauling to their winter homes (local greenhouses)

Our volunteers were a huge help today and we had an excellent turnout.  The photos directly above and below, however, are from yesterday.  Above is Steve E. removing annuals in a space that will see HLS decorations early next week.  Steve E. is one of our rookie volunteers this year and we had a bumper crop of excellent new helpers this year.  Directly below is Dale Sievert (“Mr. Moss”) who designed and built our two moss gardens (now maintained and improved by Marv B.).  Dale stopped by the gardens yesterday and then did a presentation for the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society on moss gardening last night at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI).    Our volunteers today included Bonnie, Shirley H., Vera, Kathy, Eva, Alan, Bob K., Brian, Kay, Ron Y., Dave, Jim, Vern, Steve, Dr. Gredler, Rollie, Peg and many others.  The order of the day out in the gardens was plant cutting and removals.

Dale Sievert (“Mr. Moss”) above

Bobby K. is hiding behind the obelisk as he attaches the top and bottom prior to putting on LED twinkle lights

Brian processed over forty ‘Thailand Giant’ elephant ears (Colocasia gigantea) today and brought them back for re-potting

Bob K. (left) and Alan M. (with Brian photobombing in the back)

Kay did a nice job (as always) with her “clearing kung fu” this afternoon (in her assigned garden space)

fall color of hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) – woody tree

variegated fiveleaf aralia (Eleutherococcus sieboldianus) – woody shrub

‘Aconitifolium’ fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum) in foreground which will ultimately turn bright red – woody tree

the Japanese garden today as seen from the upper path

fall color (above and below) of Firespire™ musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana ‘J.N. Upright’) – woody tree