HLS – The Final Stretch

I scraped light frost of my vehicle windows this morning which isn’t unusual for this time of year.  While the day started quite chilly, the sunshine did warm things up to around 55 degrees F which wasn’t bad working weather at all!  The gardens are looking very “Autumn-ish” as seen in the photo above with ornamental grasses (Miscanthus) in the foreground and ‘Hillside Winter Gold’ white pine (Pinus strobus) in the background.  Most of the leaves have fallen from all but the most stubborn trees and we continue with our fall clean-up efforts as time (and available labor) allows.

Our progress on setting up the Holiday Light Show (HLS) has been remarkable over the past two months and has really moved along nicely over the past two weeks with such nice weather.  While volunteers are involved with this event in many ways, including set-up, the grounds staff plays the primary role in setting the event up starting as early as late September.  With a significant route expansion this year and thousands of additional lights, the “running of the cords” is finally catching up.

Regal Prince hybrid oak (Quercus x warei ‘Long’) in the main parking lot
 ‘Dolce Licorice’ coral bells (Heuchera) with some frost – perennial
fragrant snowball viburnum (Viburnum carlcephalum) fall color

We had a nice batch of volunteers today with many arriving this morning wearing layers with “Jack Frost” in the air.  Above are Kathy (left) and Eva heading out to do more garden tidying in two different areas.  Dave (below) emptied and hauled back the colorful plastic containers from the Nancy Yahr Memorial Children’s Garden.  Bob C. was out collecting leaves while Dick H. ran loads to the dump and had some other tasks.  Jim and Ron Y. worked on carpentry projects while Patrea repaired lights for the HLS.  Randy M. came in to repair some of our HLS displays (which he made many years ago) and we greatly appreciate his valuable time.  Maury ran errands for us and both Rollie and Dr. Gredler were in for mowing duties.  Gary S. worked on some signage and we also saw Pat M. and many others.

Big John, Terry, Cindy, Janice and Larry H. all worked on HLS projects today with Cindy interspersing some gardening duties too.  Our plan is to have everything up and ready by early next week so we have some time to test and tweak the show.  The testing identifies power issues that will need to be addressed while observing the show prior to the premiere at the Taste of Chocolate (tickets still available!) on November 21 allows us to add more lights as needed and/or shift displays one last time.  We’ll keep “plugging away” at it! (get it?)

 fall color of ‘The Blues’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) – perennial
 frosty turf this morning!
 fall color on a small, ‘Vienna Weeping’ European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) in the Japanese garden
 ‘Circus’ coralbells (Heuchera) – perennial
Most of the gang went to a “goodbye” luncheon today for our education coordinator, Kris Koch (second from left).  After five years of excellent programming, super symposia and many creative accomplishments individually and with her education volunteers, Kris will be done this Thursday and will be greatly missed.  We hope the hiring for her replacement is arranged quickly to continue the important momentum that our educational programming is providing for the community and area at large, not to mention our Mission as well!