Its the first of November and there is a definite chill in the air! We have had a few nights of below freezing temperatures, which have come earlier than normal around here. This has prompted us to start the over-wintering process for some of our more unusual plants. In the Rain Forest Garden we began cutting back the sub-tropical plants and applied mulch and straw over the plants and roots for some extra winter protection. The banana tree trunks were cut back to about three feet and enclosed with a wire cage and filled with mulch and straw. This much protection should allow the trees to start off next year at 3 which will result in a much taller tree by the middle of the growing season. All of the other plants are just simply covered up with a generous amount of mulch and straw. We have also used pine straw in the Carnivorous Bog Garden to give some extra protection to our pitcher plants, gunnera, and calla lilies.
With the cool, clear days the color of the plants has intensified. The bog especially is showing some outstanding color and is just as beautiful now as it was in the summer. With the cold nights many plants have gone dormant for the season, including all of the lake plantings. These plants will be cut back and the dead foliage will be removed.
We have also been busy with some of the plantings in the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden. We started at the top of the largest of the waterfalls we have installed. This section is full of long flowering perennials and shrubs that are very attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies. Monarda, butterfly bush, coneflowers, and butterfly weed are just a few of the varieties in this section of the garden. This is a very large garden, approximately two acres, and we will continue to plant as long as the weather allows. Besides the beautiful plants, this garden will also be highlighted by a large pergola, waterfall and retaining pools, sitting areas, and a bridge over a series of the waterfalls. This garden space should be stunning in the summer months.
The most exciting news!!! Our topiary T. rex has arrived! We have been anxiously waiting for this day. The T. rex and other topiaries will be installed in the Rain Forest Garden. The T. rex is over 12 tall and is specially designed and built just for us. I think everyone is really going to enjoy this addition to the garden. Outstanding!! Special thanks to Rob and crew for this one-of-a-kind dino. In addition to the large T. rex we will also have a smaller one as well as a couple of herons and a nessie. All of these topiaries will be installed now and planted in the spring.
During the cold months we will be working on several projects, such as the new parking lot addition, stone work, pavers in the courtyards, irrigation, transplanting trees and shrubs, removal of old decaying trees, general garden clean up, grade preparation for turf areas, and planting in the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden. Ohand did I forget to mention the 10,000 daffodils we have to get in the ground?!
Anyone interested in being a part of the bulb-planting crew please contact Kirk Rice, our Volunteer Coordinator.