Touch of Autumn


With our cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) dropping leaves early like they do every year, it feels a bit like Autumn out in the gardens already!  The last couple of days have been warm but as I type, we’re getting even more rain and tomorrow will be nice and mild at 77 degrees F.  We’ve had enough rain for a bit I would say but that is certainly out of our hands.  We haven’t run our irrigation in over a week which is very telling for this time of year.  Above is the Ivory Halo® dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’) which is my favorite for strong variegation; here seen in our shady woodland walk garden (note all the leaves on the ground already!).

We had a great crew of both grounds staff and volunteers today although some of my photos are from yesterday.  Big John, Cindy and Larry H. all had a wide range of tasks today.  John did a lot of much needed pressure washing in the Japanese garden while Cindy was a planting fiend and kept up with my placement of perennials for installation along with her other tidying duties.  Larry H. had some odd jobs (path repair) but settled in nicely to putting up more lights for the Holiday Light Show (HLS).  We’ve realized that it is NEVER too soon to start; at least on those trees that are out of the way and take a lot of time.  Decorating in 80 degrees F is much better than doing the same at 20 degrees F!  I placed plants for installation, had some appointments/meetings and am shifting most of my focus to our Fall Plant Sale which starts September 10th and 11th (9 am – 4 pm) although there is a RBG Friends Members Only pre-sale on Friday, September 9th (9 am – 4 pm, 10% off during the duration of the sale).  Check out our website for more information.


‘Forever Purple’ coral bells (Heuchera) – perennial


the Caladium Collection is looking excellent right now!


fruiting structure of the umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) – woody tree


yellow waxy bells (Kirengeshoma palmata) – perennial


‘Standing Ovation’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) – perennial


‘Red Lightning’ coral bells (Heuchera) – perennial


Our volunteers have done a lot of work over the last couple of days.  Above is Alan tidying up paths today.  We had Kathy, Eva, Alan, Jumbo Jim, Dick H., Bill O. and Larry O. today as volunteers.  Peg came in later to work on some labels.  Yesterday included many of our Grumpies and typical Monday volunteers.  I believe I saw Kathy, Eva, Peg, Rollie, Dick H., Dave, Vern, Ron Y., Bob C., Ron R., Dr. Gredler, Dick P., Steve J., Kristin, Jim H., Larry O., Hayden and many others. Fall clean-up efforts have begun with leaf collection and we are starting to remove any annuals that are failing.  There are no shortage of volunteer duties this time of  year and we’ll extend interest out in the gardens as much as possible over the next six weeks and beyond!


From left to right, Dick P. and Steve J. leveling a brick path yesterday


Eva (left) and Kathy continue to come in almost every week day to help out (here in the Japanese garden)


 Bob C. (above) was part of the clean-up crew yesterday


above is John cleaning up the bridges in the Japanese garden with a pressure washer today


above is Larry H. putting lights on our apple (Malus) espalier – our first HLS decorated tree!


We had some VIPs from UW-Extension at the gardens today with Amy Freidig (Master Gardener Program Assistant) to the abobe left and Dr. Susan Mahr (Master Gardener Coordinator) to the above right.  Always nice seeing the ladies and we filmed a little segment about soils


sweet Autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) – hardy vine


‘Red Gem’ signet marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) – annual (flowers are only 1/2″ wide!)


‘Velvet Curtains’ amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) – annual


‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ Korean fir (Abies koreana) – woody tree


‘Velvet Elvis’ lavender spurflower (Plectranthus hybrida) with coleus


bloodleaf (Iresine hybrida) combination of ‘Blazin’ Rose’ and ‘Blazin’ Lime’ – annuals