Sunken Garden Gazette 8/22

Catch the Summer Show while you can!

Green Thumbs…

I can’t believe our Fall Show is just a little over a month away. Where did the summer go? Sadly our summer horticulture interns Katie and Zach have headed back to college. We will miss them! New Guinea impatiens have had enough of summer and won’t quite make it to the end of the show. They will be swapped out this week for a fresh combination of butterfly bush and lantana that will carry the design to the show change.

There were the usual chores this week, watering, fertilizing, and deadheading. The white salvia continues to reward our constant deadheading with explosions of white blossoms making it all worth it.

Our thoughts are also turning toward design as the Fall Show nears, and a fresh map will be drawn by Garden Designer Renee. How will we use elements of design such as line, form, texture, scale, pattern, repetition, and of course, color, which is affected by all of the former?


Behind the Scenes

In the greenhouse it’s all about preparing for the Fall and Holiday Shows.

The Fall Show will be here in a blink and the chrysanthemum crop will be ready. The shade cloth is pulling at night to ensure the mums receive short days to fool them into thinking it’s time to make flowers but soon the nights will be, sadly for us humans, long enough for flowers to form naturally. Horticulturist Renee has worked hard to give the mums what they need, watering, fertilizing, pinching, spacing, moving, and staking. The plants are incredibly robust and will soon be ready to burst into the Fall Show’s colors of red and yellow.

The chrysanthemums will receive show support from fruitful ornamental peppers, yellow swiss chard, a vivid red leafed heuchera. Horticulturist Diane sows our Sunken Garden annuals and started the pepper and swiss chard seedlings. Once the seedlings were transplanted, Horticulturist Victoria took over their care. They will soon make both horticulturists proud with their colorful garden display.

Poinsettias can hardly wait their turn for the Holiday Show. We had a big poinsettia push this past week because the plants were ready to move to larger pots. Horticulturist Ariel transplanted half of the group one poinsettias all in one day (that’s 300 poinsettias)! The next day her fellow horticulturists Bryn, Deb and Victoria pitched in to help her transplant the second half. Mission completed and the poinsettias now have room to grow.


Have you ever noticed Sunken Garden’s marble floor? Look at all the variety of color next time you visit. I love to use the marble floor as a canvas for my floral shots.

Plant of the Week

I am so impressed by some of the Sunken Garden plants.  The pentas is stilllllllll blooming and is as beautiful as ever. It went in with the show’s first planting at the end of April. What a trooper! I love tough plants like pentas but the the double vinca has just as much grit. It was not excited to be in the garden at first, but we strove to keep it as dry as possible and slowly the vinca began to adjust. Now this comeback kid is floriferous and a perfect pink foil to its neighbor salvia.

Just for Kids (of all ages)

When you visit the Sunken Garden and cannot tell what the weather is outside you can check with portulaca and it will tell you if the sun is shining brightly or if it’s cloudy and rainy. When the sun is out, it opens its petals wide and when the sky is dark it closes its petals tightly. I know you can really tell for yourself if it’s sunny or rainy, but it’s fun to see portulaca respond to sunshine. If you want to see for yourself look for it along the sides where it grows on top of the stone walls. If you come on a rainy morning, you may even catch it still sleeping! (That’s just me pretending, it’s actually saving its pollen for when pollinators are apt to be flying about.)

 – Karri, your happy horticulturist