81 Days Away


The photo above might confuse those not familiar with the Holiday Light Show (HLS) at Rotary Botanical Gardens but for those better versed, these are of course, our half gallon milk jug luminaries.  The luminaries were brought out of storage today for some fresh air and while they wont go out in the gardens proper for a bit, we’re getting poised and ready to jump in to continued set-up for the HLS.  Larry H. and Big John have already started slinging lights and Ron P. is processing new lights quickly.  While our opening night (public) for the HLS is December 9th, that is only 81 short days away!  We like to have the HLS up, tested, tweaked and ready to go by late November so we have less than 81 days to be ready.  Our primary goal right now is to keep the gardens looking great and much of our efforts today and recently have centered on that goal.  However, we’ll need to take advantage of nicer weather for HLS set up as we plan out the scope of this massive event.  We had a nice turnout of volunteers today and while we’ve had closure with the fall plant sale, our year is far from over!

The grounds staff had a busy day which included quite a bit of watering.  It looks like some rain throughout the week (including tonight) but we’ll adhere to our policy of assuming it wont rain!  We set up sprinklers, watered containers and worked on lots of other projects as well.  Cindy, Larry H., Larry O. (back on staff!) and Big John all had a wide range of projects aside from watering which included hauling mums (still only $7 each!) to the Parker Education Center, planting, tidying and HLS preparations.  I had a good tour of the gardens, marked spots for new trees and continue to keep up with an ever-growing pile on my desk.  It wasn’t hard to take beautiful photos out in the gardens this morning though…


‘Strawberry Fields’ globe amaranth (Gomphrena haageana) with ‘Frosted Explosion’ annual switchgrass (Panicum elegans) – both annuals


‘Blazin’ Lime’ copperleaf (Iresine hybrida) – annual


flossflower (Ageratum houstonianum) in the Heirloom Garden – annual


‘Arrested Development’ smooth blue aster (Aster laevis) – perennial


‘Banana Boat’ sedge (Carex siderosticha) – perennial


‘Blushing Shortwood’ garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) – perennial


It’s always a sign of a good volunteer turnout when all the carts are in motion and being used.  We had some great help today.  In the carpentry workshop seen above, we have Jim, Dave and Vern (left to right) with Ron Y. just off camera. The guys are building new benches for placement out in the gardens next Spring.  Alan, Lloyd and Bob K. worked on taking down and storing our many plant sale tables and had some other tasks as well.  Dave E. brought out all the milk jug luminaries seen above and did some path repairs/adjustments out near the gazebo.  Bob C. and Del went out to tidy up paths and both Kristin and Stan did a nice job tidying in the Japanese garden.  Kathy and Eva weeded, planted and then did tidying in another garden area.  Shirley H. (directly below) also had multiple areas to check over and address as needed.  Bobby K. and Steve J. had some finishing touches over by the new power panel and Dick H. ran many loads to the dump among other duties.  Dr. Gredler and Rollie took care of their mowing while Bill O. was for garden tidying this afternoon.  We also saw Dick P., Terry N. and many others today.


Shirley H. (above)


Kathy (left) and Eva


Steve (left) and Bobby K.


monarchs sure enjoy the late season (and fragrant!) flowers of seven-son-flower (Heptacodium miconioides) – woody shrub


‘Apple Blossom’ caladium (Caladium sp.) – tropical – COME SEE THE CALADIUM COLLECTION!


‘Jasmine’ flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) with ‘Lacinato’ dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea) – annuals


‘Profusion White’ zinnia (Zinnia hybrida) – annual


interesting spiky seed capsules of the ‘Zanzibariensis’ castor bean (Ricinus communis) – annual (POISONOUS!)


‘Redhead’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) was vivid this morning – annual


monarchs (and visitors alike!) are enjoying the Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’) – annual


the hummingbirds are loving the lion’s tail (Leonotis leonurus) in the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children’s Garden – annual


white black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata ‘Alba’) – annual