Garden Week in Georgia: Sharing a Little Peace of Our Gardens by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe with a Little Help from My Friends

Garden Week in Georgia: Sharing a Little Peace of Our Gardens by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe with a Little Help from My Friends

One of the things I love about being part of a community of gardeners is getting to share plants with each other. Whether you are the giver or the receiver, when you share plants, you are sharing a teeny tiny part of the happiness and peace that gardening brings. To close out Garden Week in Georgia, here’s a peek at RGC members sharing pieces of plants and the peace of their gardens.

Dotty E – Due to a new fence and other challenges in my back yard, I had to completely redo areas of it. Florence Anne graciously shared her Mahonia and Lenten Roses with me. This is the area along the fence line that I have named Florence Anne’s garden.

Dotty EI’m just now planting Solomon Seal and Hardy Chinese Ground orchids in my garden thanks to Carolyn. You can see it’s a work in progress in this area of filtered sun and shade. Soil has been amended, light pine straw mulch added. and I will probably check on them at least three times a day, every day. This section will be referred to as Carolyn’s garden.

 

Linda Lee – My sweet friend Marcia gave me some Spiderwort years ago. It comes up every year plus explodes all over the yard. Ever indebted to her.

Linda B – This Chinese ground orchid came from Carolyn when we had a garden club pass along plant day. I love it!

 

 

 

 

 

Florence Anne – Trilliums on the path leading down to my oriental strolling garden along the creek from Nancy. They are special to me because, well, they are from Nancy! Every time I see them or another volunteer popping up around them, I think of her.

 

 

Gretchen – The one I could have shared a year ago is a miniature Japanese Maple, in a pot, that I bought about 8 years ago from a grower who spoke to our club. Sadly, last year the deer started to include this in their diet. And, it has lost its shape. It now resides on the porch, out of reach of the deer. I am about to move it to our daughter’s home…she also lives in Roswell but not in a deer path.

Gretchen – The beautiful ground orchid, or Bletilla, in the center of the flowers was a donation to one of our plant sales by Carolyn. I have several different types of plants that originated in Carolyn’s garden. This orchid is very hardy and survives with almost no attention.

Some of my Spanish Bluebells, Hyacinthoides Hispanica, are in the background.  These are a favorite spring bulb and are planted by the house as well as in my garden area in our woods.  They last well and are not eaten by deer!! That is a Camellia in the background. One bluebell clump’s foliage was sampled by deer this year, but just one. Hoping he/she had a wicked stomach ache!

 

Suzy-The picture at the top of this post is a basin of plants Lisa just gifted me. There’s a wealth of plants in here which I’ll be planting later today. I have plants from Carolyn, King, Nancy, and Donna in my yard and garens. And my grandma, my daddy, my sister Becky, and my sister Jeannie. And the deer, the birds, and Mother Nature.

At this time of year, RGC usually give away azaleas at the Roswell Open Air Market. Due to Covid, that isn’t happening this year. We miss this sharing of plants, and we hope it’ll be back on for 2022.

Whether you are the giver or the receiver, a lot of love and peace is passed on when you share plants. Here’s hoping some plant sharing takes place in your life. Thanks for spending Garden Week in Georgia with us!

 

Garden Week in Georgia: Hard-Pruning Rosemary or Down the Rabbit Hole by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

Garden Week in Georgia: Hard-Pruning Rosemary or Down the Rabbit Hole by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

This winter, my neighbor cut down a 50-year old maple tree on the east side of my back yard, instantly changing the light in my yard. My rosemary, which had crept toward the house in search of light, could now grow straight up. It needed hard pruning so that it could flourish in the new sunlight.

Of course, I hard to research how to prune rosemary before daring to attempt such a drastic pruning. My research told me to hard-prune rosemary in the winter before the rosemary started growing again. Sources also cautioned against cutting shortly before or during a cold period. With this conflicting information, I decided to prune the rosemary the first week in April. Things were under control. I was ready to roll, then e-gads! It got up to 80 degrees in March. What?? Now what was I going to do? Since this is Georgia, I knew we would have to have at least 1 more hard freeze before April 15, but wasn’t that rosemary trying to throw off the shackles of winter and grow? What to do, what to do? I decided what the heck, if I killed the poor plant, I could replace it. Not that I wanted to replace it, but I could.

With sharp, clean hand-pruners, I pruned that plant. After hard-pruning, my rosemary was petite and shapely–in a hard pruned way, that is. I also had a wealth of freshly cut rosemary on my hands.  

I knew just what to do with this since, while I was wandering through the web, reading about pruning rosemary, I hopped off on every link that had suggestions on what to do with the trimmings. I read about propagating rosemary via cuttings and water-rooting; making rosemary salt; cooking rosemary beans; drying rosemary; preserving rosemary in ice cubes; sliding farther and farther down the rabbit hole with each click of my mouse. Hmmm…maybe that’s why I didn’t get the rosemary pruned before the March heat wave.

Anyway, the down-the-rabbit-hole part of me wouldn’t let me simply throw away the trimmings. Nope. Not me. So I revisited the rabbit hole and chose a few of those suggestions:

  • I tried propagation. Here’s my healthiest looking cuttings trying to take root in water. I simply stripped leaves from the bottom 2” of 6” cuttings and put them in water. I keep the jars in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. I change the water every 2 days. Unless I forget.

 

 

 

 

  • And I made rosemary beans. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Here’s my sister Becky’s recipe for them. Since I don’t have an instapot, I used canned beans. Also yummy.

Rosemary White Beans, serves 6

 Ingredients:

    • 2 cups (1 pound) Great Northern beans
    • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
    • 4 cloves garlic, roughly diced
    • 5 sprigs rosemary
    • ½ medium onion, cut into wedges
    • 1 teaspoon salt

 Method:

    • Add all ingredients to an Instant Pot or electronic pressure cooker
    • Stir to prevent sticking
    • Set Instant Pot/pressure cooker to high for 32 minutes
    • When the timer goes off, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release the pressure for 20-25 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure
    • Skim onions off the top
    • Remove rosemary twigs (the needles will have fallen off – leave them in the beans)
    • Stir the beans

For thicker bean liquid:

    • Discard ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
    • Add about a cup of the beans and some of the bean liquid to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and thick.
    • Return the puree to the pot and stir through the beans to thicken.

As you can tell, this pruning project turned into quite the adventure. I hope you, too, have some down-the-rabbit-hole gardening adventures during Garden Week in Georgia. Just don’t forget to come out of the rabbit hole.

 

 

 

 

Garden Week in Georgia: RGC’s Community Series Let’s Talk Plants Kicks Off at Roswell’s Adult Recreation Center by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

Garden Week in Georgia: RGC’s Community Series Let’s Talk Plants Kicks Off at Roswell’s Adult Recreation Center by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

Roswell Garden Club is pleased to invite you to our inaugural community plant talk in the raised beds garden at the Roswell Adult Recreation Center. We hope you can celebrate Garden Week in Georgia with us by coming to our talk–Planting Annuals in Pots or Beds–on Friday, April 23, at 11.

Planting Annuals in Pots or Beds is the first in a series of community talks based on the plants in the raised beds at the ARC. The raised beds are planted for easy teaching & learning. The beds, which are refreshed in the spring and fall with appropriate seasonal changes, have a great variety of plants, including

  • Succulents
  • Herbs 
  • Ground covers & bulbs
  • Pansies & other annuals provide seasonal color
  • Bulbs & annuals are the final pairing

RGC built the raised bed gardens in 2007 for the ARC’s guests with physical and mental challenges. In 2017 the gardens were rebuilt as a Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout Project. These gardens have always been maintained by RGC and the ARC’s Young Adult Group. On November 6, 2020, Roswell Garden Club members transformed the waist-high beds for use in mini-lessons on planting and caring for various types of plants. All seven planters were stripped, the beds were charged with new soil, and plants were put in place. The plants were marked for reference and teaching purposes. This great team effort is about to yield results as RGC’s community talks begin.

Our current schedule of talks followed by Q & A is:

  • April 23 @ 11, Planting Annuals in Pots or Beds 
  • May 12 @ 11, Success with Succulents
  • June 9 @ 11, National Garden Week, Milkweed Mud Pies for Monarchs

 We look forward to sharing the fun of plants and planting. We hope you join us!

 

Plants: An Amaryllis Obsession by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Plants: An Amaryllis Obsession by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

I have enjoyed the beautiful blooms of the Amaryllis for many years. When I lived in Connecticut there was a challenge class for Flower Show judges and I still have one of the varieties from that challenge class. It traveled here with us in 2007. 

Several years ago, Nancy Moses gave me a helpful tip for Amaryllis: plant them in the garden in the spring after they bloom and dig them up in the fall. Prior to this I would let them rest in their pots under a tree for the summer. * Note, my Amaryllis are one of the only green plants my deer didn’t eat last summer!

I pull my Amaryllis up in late October, lay them flat in a low container in the garage, and allow them to dry. When they are dry, I pull off the dried foliage before repotting them in a good potting mix. Last year I heard, for the first time, that the roots should be trimmed before repotting. I did this leaving just an inch or two of root attached to the bulb. This worked wonders as my Amaryllis have never been as robust as they are this year. After repotting them, leaving several inches of the bulb above the soil, I water them to settle the soil and give them a month or so, with light watering, to begin growing again. After seeing new growth I give them more water and watch for the buds to appear. Sometimes the foliage will come first.  

Some of my bulbs were ordered from White Flower Farm, https://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/, and John Sheepers, https://www.johnscheepers.com/flower-bulbs-index/amaryllis.html, both in Connecticut.

My Amaryllis are now in bloom. This goes on for a month or more as some bloom earlier than others. When they stop blooming, I fertilize them to be certain to have a good result the next year. If you want them to bloom earlier, begin the drying cycle and repotting in mid-October or November. 

Flamenco Queen was the first to bloom. Her second stalk is now blooming. In the photo you can see the low soil level in these pots.

 

 

               I love the Nymph series and this is Sweet Nymph. There are two plants here.

 

 

I believe this is Ice Queen. Thanks to the root pruning this stalk is 36” tall. There are 6 blooms on this stalk and another stalk is on its way.

 

 

In this photo, the coral striped Amaryllis is Dancing Queen–it traveled here in 2007. It could be an off shoot or new bulb that grew off the original plant. The deep pink Amaryllis in the center could be Lagoon, but I’m not positive. The shorter one on the right is Purple Rain. Flamenco Queen is the taller one on the right.

I am waiting for and hoping that three more bulbs will bloom. I have had the experience of a bulb finally coming into bloom after being moved the the garden.

 

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 2, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 2, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

A team of 7 Master Gardeners volunteer weekly over a ten-month calendar in the garden. They maintained the CCYA Garden throughout the pandemic, being categorized as essential workers and grew over 1,800 pounds of produce to feed the kids during unprecedented times. Currently, with funding from the Food Well Alliance, our part-time garden manager and part-time chef, culinarily trained, maintains the CCYA garden under direction of Master Gardeners and provides continuity of care when Master Gardeners are unavailable. Quarterly, large volunteer groups from local corporations spend a day on campus assisting with a variety of large garden projects that assist the Master Gardeners. Groups from Home Depot, Six Flags and others help us cut down trees, prune all of the existing shrubbery on campus, install fencing, build sheds, spread mulch and more. All of our gardens have irrigation systems providing water for the plants. We are seeking funding for electricity in our hoop house and the chicken coop. We found funding to fortify our chicken coop from predators and build an adjacent aviary where the chickens can free range in safety. Over the past two years, Master Gardeners have been propagating all of our plant seeds. We are seeking funding to purchase a small greenhouse where propagation can occur. Currently, our Master Gardeners do it from their homes.

Master Gardeners work independently from most youth residing on campus as our youth are very busy with school, after school jobs, therapy sessions, daily tutoring and homework. The purpose of the Master Gardener Program at CCYA is to provide fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) to augment the meals that feed all of our youth and staff. At this time, Master Gardeners meet a minimum of once weekly to work in the gardens. Youth who volunteer to apprentice in the garden work under the supervision of our garden manager. They are paid a stipend for their work.

The CCYA gardens,  www.ccyakids.org, were part of the 2019 Cobb County Master Gardener Garden Tour. Annually, approximately 500 people visit the CCYA campus including tour groups from corporations seeking charitable outreach. Groups such as the Marietta Rotary Club, Leadership Cobb classes, Eagle Scouts and numerous other organizations provide assistance to CCYA. The CCYA Garden Project along with the CCYA Animal Assistance Therapy Program were finalists in the Harvard University Innovative Therapy Awards and the CCYA Garden Program was featured in the American Horticulture Society’s National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Los Angeles, California.

Master Gardeners at CCYA are seeking partnerships with area garden clubs to help us maintain the Flower Garden. We would love for some volunteers to come as a group once a year for 2-3 hours (dependent upon number of volunteers) to help weed, dead-head and keep our flower garden looking lovely. The flower Ggrden was professionally installed by High Grove Partners 3 years ago. It is approximately 20 feet x 50 feet. If we could get a garden club to come in the spring, another in summer and another in the fall, we would be ecstatic.

 Anyone interested in helping with the CCYA gardens can reach me via email at: lokme@hushmail.comMaureen Lok, Cobb County Master Gardener/ Past Board Chair The Center for Children & Young Adults

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 1, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 1, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

The Center for Children & Young Adults (CCYA) is located in Marietta, Georgia on a 4.5 acre campus. CCYA is a 501©3 group home dedicated to providing safe and suitable housing, youth development activities and comprehensive supportive housing services for at-risk homeless youth ages 12-20 who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or sexually exploited. Youth come to CCYA because their parents are unwilling, unable or unavailable to care for them. While at CCYA, youth attend public school, get part time jobs and learn skills so that they can one day live independently.

We find funds to send our youth to their senior prom, let them be on the football team or cheer leading squad, and purchase uniforms for part-time jobs at Chick-Fil-A. We send them to summer camps, enroll them in Drivers Ed, and seek mentors for them. We are not the ordinary group home for foster kids. We take in kids from Metro Atlanta and all of Georgia, but primarily from Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Douglas counties. At this time, our census is 71% female and 74% are black. Getting all of these kids to graduate high school is a major achievement, and we then help them transition to trade school, the armed forces, a job or college. In a world where the overall graduation rate for foster youth is 55.3% (graduation rate for other youth is 87.3%), our kids far exceed that grim statistic.

CCYA is a very special place in that we provide our kids with a nurturing atmosphere in a home-like cottage setting. For almost 20 years, Cobb and Douglas County Master Gardeners have volunteered at CCYA cultivating the atmosphere. What began with a single raised bed where tulips and herbs were planted has grown to a 1.5 acre succession of gardens that together provide fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and more to over 100 youth annually at The Center. Two Master Gardeners have been with the project since it’s inception…Maureen Lok (Cobb) and Toni Moore (Douglas). Maureen Lok served on the Board of Directors of CCYA and was Board Chair for 8 years. She continues as MG Director of the Garden Project and Emeritus Trustee. Toni Moore, Douglas County Master Gardener is Co-Director of the Garden. The garden is funded by Cobb Master Gardeners, Master Gardeners of Georgia, Pure Farmland Growth Project, the Food Well Alliance, the Peachtree Garden Club, Captain Planet Foundation, the National Garden Association and private donations.

 The core of the garden area at CCYA is the Veggie Patch where carrots, green beans, peas, cucumbers, onions, squashes, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, collards, peppers and more are planted. Nearby is an herb garden where an assortment of common herbs are grown to spice up food in the CCYA kitchen. In the Berry Patch blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are grown–44 pounds of blackberries in one season. Nearby, several fig trees reside. The Hoop House is a structure where we grow peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, collards and other plants year-round. Melon Hill is where watermelon, cantaloupe, squash and corn are grown. The Flower Garden is where cone flowers, asters, hydrangea and other colorful flowers and pollinators are grown. The final piece of the garden area is “The Egg Plant”, a chicken coop where a flock of one dozen chickens reside. These feathered ladies provide over five dozen eggs a week to our kitchen for scrambled eggs, frittatas and other dishes to nourish our kids.

 Part 2–More About the Gardens & Community Gardening @ CCYA, will be posted on 3/10. Anyone interested in helping with the CCYA gardens can reach me, Maureen Lok, via email at: lokme@hushmail.com. Photos provided by Maureen Lok.