2020 RGC High School Environmental Blog Post Competition Winners

2020 RGC High School Environmental Blog Post Competition Winners

Roswell Garden Club is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Environmental Blog Entry Competition:

1st place – The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling, Tara Goff

2nd place – We Can Lower Our Carbon Footprint and End Climate Change—Here’s How, Savannah Young

3rd place – Why am I Helping the Environment?, Maynor Chinchilla

We encourage you to read the words of these student-bloggers from our community and take action on their suggestions. Let’s work together to take the National Garden Club, Inc.’s challenge and move from consumers to caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.

Creating a Fall Wreath by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Creating a Fall Wreath by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Although wreaths are beautiful, they are a bit more challenging than creating an arrangement in a container. Here are some pictures and commentary about creating a fall wreath.

 First the ingredients: I chose several items from my design collection. I chose an interesting vine form…it’s a bit trickier to put together than a plain grapevine or straw wreath. Also, wheat stalks, Sea Grape painted foliage, dried Aspidistra leaves. Freshly fallen oak leaves, an assortment of ribbons, and sprayed Palmetto (I ended up not using this). Wire and tools.

 

Second, the wreath is put on a stand to decorate: Wheat sprays and Aspidistra go on first. Aspidistra is normally green or green with white stripes. This Aspidistra was used before…It was manipulated, folded, and pierced when still green and used in a fresh design. I usually save fresh Aspidistra for more uses since it turns to these beautiful brown tones as it dries.   

Third, the wreath hanging on the stand is completed: I chose the gold ribbon as it stands out well against the other colors. The orange Sea Grape leaves came from Florida years ago and have been used more than once. This fall, some of the oak leaves are falling in clusters. As you can see, I picked up the greener ones to add the green accent. The gold bow completes the wreath.

And, this is how it looks on our front door. The oak leaves will continue to dry and turn brown but there are more out there to replace them. I have painted completely dry oak leaves gold in years past. 

Remembering Lov by RGC blogger Florence Anne Berna

Remembering Lov by RGC blogger Florence Anne Berna

Roswell Garden Club lost a loyal member and beloved friend, Lov Heintzelman, this spring. Florence Anne Berna shared this written account of Lov’s dedication to RGC. Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Lov Heintzelman, thank you for touching all of us and making the city of Roswell a more beautiful place.

On May 3, Roswell Garden Club lost long-time honorary member Lov Heintzelman. While she went by the nickname “Lov,” her full name was Lavonda Marlene – a beautiful name for a beautiful lady. She was born, raised and educated in Grand Rapids, MI. She attended a private girl’s college called Stephens College majoring in, of all things, Aviation. Upon her graduation in 1955, she attained her pilots license. Also that year she married Robert Heintzelman. They were together 59 years, raised 3 boys (one set of twins), and enjoyed 3 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. 

 Not many people know, but Lov worked as a detective for a few years. When she established her own arts and crafts business, that platform allowed her artistic talents to soar. She sold her creations from her Roswell home, and later when she and Bob relocated permanently to the North GA Mountains, from a store nearby. She and Bob also collaborated on a business venture entitled Interiors by Heintzelman. Lov truly enjoyed entertaining family and friends and was an expert cook, baker and decorator—especially during the holidays. Even after her move to Jasper, Lov continued to commute to Roswell to attend monthly garden club meetings and functions. Many of us remember how stoic and strong Lov was when both her husband and son were so very ill.  Randy–one of the twins—battled cancer for years. As fate would have it, Randy and Bob passed away within a few days of each other. Lov brought her family through 2 funerals and 2 out-of-state burials. Despite those losses, Lov wanted to remain in her Jasper home. Since Bob was a member of the US Marine Corp. and a member of a local Marine Corp. League, Lov had lots of support and many friends helping around the house, checking on her and keeping her company. Lov battled health and heart issues for years and finally needed to relocate to an assisted living facility in Jasper. It was there while in hospice she left us after an amazing 85 year life. A few years ago, a poem was printed I believe in the GA Garden Gate magazine by Barbara Bailey. I think it’s appropriate we revisit it. 

                                                                            Meet You at the Gate

                   A beautiful garden now stands alone,
                   Missing the one who nurtured it.
                   But now she is gone.
                   Her flowers still bloom, and the sun it still shines,
                   But the rain is like teardrops, for the ones left behind.
                   The weeds lay waiting to take the garden’s beauty away,
                   But the beautiful memories of its keeper are in our hearts to stay.
                   She loved every flower, even some that were weeds!
                   So much love she would plant with each little seed.
                   But, just like her flowers, she was part of God’s plan,
                   So when it was her time He reached down His hand,
                   He looked through the garden…searching for the best,
                   That’s when He found her; it was her time to rest.
                   It was hard for those who loved her to just let her go.
But God had a spot in His garden that needed a gentle soul.
So when you start missing her, remember..if you just wait…
  When God has another spot in His garden,
He’ll meet YOU at the gate.

 

 

National Garden Week: A Look at Some of our Favorite Gardens by RGC Members

National Garden Week: A Look at Some of our Favorite Gardens by RGC Members

We are closing out our National Garden Week posts with a look at favorite gardens members have visited, pictures from Lisa’s recent visit to Gibbs Garden, and pics from a few members’ gardens–the feature image for this post is from Mary Ann Booth Cabot’s backyard. We hope you are as inspired by these gardens as we are. Thanks for celebrating National Garden Week with us.

Debbie V suggests we add visiting these gardens on our bucket lists:

Image from https://www.lewisginter.org/aloverofroses/rose-garden-2/

 

 

 

Gretchen C’s 3 favorite gardens to visit in the United States are:

Image from longwoodgardens.org

1. Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square, PA. These gardens are located just 30 minutes from where I lived the first 30 years of my life, so I have been there innumerable times. The gardens are known for their fountains, architecture, and green houses. In 1798 an arboretum was planted at this location. In 1906, Pierre S. DuPont really developed the garden with structures and more plantings. It was opened to the public in 1921. There are over 1,077 acres with 4.5 acres of greenhouses and a 5 acre fountain area. In addition, there are buildings enclosing a theater and world class organ as well as an outdoor theater where one can see a play or musical in the summer.

The Philadelphia area’s climate is a zone that encourages many types of horticulture and for this reason there is much to see in the extensive outdoor gardens. The Christmas Decorations in the large conservatories are magnificent.

I first visited as a child but remember most vividly taking my own children there in strollers. At that time there was no admission charge and a friend and I would go frequently with our young children. A favorite spot was an outdoor water feature that flowed down a large stone stairway. After moving north to New Jersey and then Connecticut, I would visit my parents in December, take them to see the Christmas Decorations, and have dinner in the restaurant.

2. Portland, Oregon Japanese Garden. There are many Japanese Gardens in the world. This one is situated on 12 acres on a wooded hillside west of the city. It is a tranquil spot with 8 separate different styles of Japanese Gardens. Water runs through the gardens as falls and pools, adding to the enchantment. In addition to the tea house there are other small Japanese style buildings. There is a Koi Pond and many moss coated structures. The numerous Japanese Maples are not to be missed. If you have visited Portland, you know that horticulture in that area is more abundant than many other places. This is due to ample moisture and moderate temperatures.

3. Of the gardens I have visited, our Atlanta Botanical Garden is my other favorite. No need to tell you as I know you all must love it too!

 

Lisa E shared these beautiful pictures from her recent visit to Gibbs Gardens, a world-class garden in Ball Ground, GA, a few miles north of Roswell.

         

 

Linda Lee P shared these gorgeous pictures from Miramar Beach.

   

 

Carolyn H shared images of her remarkable daylilies.

       

                   

           

 

Mary Ann Booth Cabot shared glorious pictures from her garden.

     

 

National Garden Week: Go Green with a 100% Solar Powered Fountain by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

National Garden Week: Go Green with a 100% Solar Powered Fountain by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

I love fountains. Their sound is soothing, happy music to me, they attract wildlife, and they give birds a place to drink and bathe. This spring I decided to convert a wet area in my landscape to a fountain. The wet area was a bog I created with reeds and yellow iris in my grandfather’s 55 gallon cast iron scalding pot. I was planning to go with a fountain with an electric pump until I came across the cute little ZETIY 100% solar bird bath fountain that doesn’t require a battery or electricity. You can’t get any greener than that! In addition, it only cost $16.70. It sounded like a win-win for me and for the birds.

When the fountain came in, I decided to test it before clearing out the boggy mess in the scalding pot that would become a fountain. The fountain was very easy to put together — I just had to put the pump into a clamp on the underside of the fountain and test out the 4 nozzles that came with the fountain. It took me a little while to figure out how the pump fit in the clamp, so I took a picture of the bottom of the fountain in case you decide to get your own fountain.

 

 

Once the pump was clamped down, it was on to testing the fountain. I used a large metal bowl and tested each nozzle. The nozzles were very easy to change and had a nice array of spray-patterns. I got a nice little sprinkle from the nozzle I ended up choosing. I also fell in love with the sound of the fountain–I could tell it was going to be well worth the time it would take to clean out the scalding pot. Here’s my video of the test.

 

Next I moved on to cleaning out the swamp. I forgot to take a picture of it before I started, but here’s what it looked like when I was close to the end. I transplanted the iris and the reeds in a shady area of my yard that has poor drainage. So far, they are still living and growing.

Once I cleared out all of the plants and as much of the dirt as I could, I filled the fountain with water. As you can see, there was a ton of vermiculite in the water. Why oh why did I use ancient potting soil when I created the bog? After a feeble attempt to float out some of the vermiculite, I had a brainstorm–I could use wire mesh to scoop out the pesky stuff. That worked quite well. I scooped out all of the vermiculite I could see, let the water settle for a while, then I scooped out more. Scoop, settle, repeat. Scoop, settle, repeat. After a while, the vermiculite was gone.

Since the fountain is 100% solar, there is no moving water at night. I needed to figure out a way to prevent mosquitoes without harming the wildlife. I needed an environmentally friendly biological solution. Lucky for me, I faced this same problem with the bog, so I just added some Mosquito Bits I had on hand. I have to add a few more bits every two weeks, but Mosquito Bits are a great solution.

A day or so after I finished the scooping, the water was clear as a bell. Now I’m seeing a lot more wildlife activity in my yard–I’ve seen nuthatches, house finches, brown thrashers, robins, blue jays, cardinals, a hawk, other birds whose species I don’t know, chipmunks, squirrels, and, as you can see in the featured image at the top of this post, a little frog sitting on the right side of the rim that thinks it has found a new home.

This is a great little project–I highly recommend it to you. It’s a win-win for wildlife and for the intrepid gardener.

National Garden Week: Feeding…& Watering…the Birds by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

National Garden Week: Feeding…& Watering…the Birds by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

A song in the children’s movie, Mary Poppins, features a woman selling birdseed crooning, “Come feed the little birds; show them you care.” It turns out, she’s right. Feeding the birds during the winter is a popular pastime which increases the survival rate of our feathery friends. But what about during the summer? There are mixed opinions about that, but more about that later. Whether or not you feed the birds in the summer, everyone agrees that birds need water year round. Wild birds need fresh water to drink and to bathe. Many bird aficionados incorporate birdbaths or ponds in their gardens to meet the birds’ needs.  Birds flock to these water features, especially those with moving water. As a bonus, in the summer these water features may attract new baby birds hanging out with their parents.

So water features are a go year round. What about feeding the birds? The Humane Society article Feeding Your Backyard Birds says the only birds we should feed in the summer are hummingbirds and goldfinches. Hummingbirds need nectar in the summer due to their high metabolism. Goldfinches nest later than other birds, so they need nyjer seed in the summer until the thistles go to seed.

Unlike the Humane Society, the National Wildlife Federation offers considerations for feeding wild birds in the summer. The article Summer Bird Feeding: the Case For and Against points out that you might want to feed the birds in the summer so you’ll be visited by birds that don’t live in your area in the winter. It’s up to you to decide whether to take down your bird feeders in the summer.

Lucky for us, Georgia’s winter appeals to a lovely assortment of seed-eating, fruit-eating, and insect-eating birds who look for sustenance in shrubs and trees as well as on the ground. So it’s important to provide different types of food and to use an assortment of feeders if you want to maximize your bird-watching experience.

When it comes to bird feeding supplies, a visit to a specialty bird store can provide valuable information, guarantee fresh seed, and showcase quality accessories. Purchase table-like feeders for ground-feeding birds such as sparrows and towhees. Hopper and tube feeders are best for shrub and treetop species such as finches and cardinals. Suet feeders—for cool to cold weather only—will attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees. Be sure to buy sturdy, good-quality feeders that are easy to clean. Cats running loose in the neighborhood are the bane of a bird feeder’s existence. Make sure to place feeders out of predators’ reach.

Different types of food will attract a diverse mix of birds. Black oil sunflower appeals to the greatest number of birds. Feeding nyjer/thistle seed is a tasty treat for finches, but be sure it’s fresh; the birds will not eat stale seed. Waxwings, bluebirds, mockingbirds and other fruit/berry eaters enjoy raisins and currants soaked in water overnight and placed on a table feeder. Fill one feeder with peanuts and nuts to attract nuthatches, titmice, and woodpeckers. When purchasing blends, avoid those with milo, wheat, and oats which do not appeal to most birds. Store the seed in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

Bird feeding and watching can be inspirational and educational. For further reading, the Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware professor’s book Bringing Nature Home and its accompanying website are highly regarded tools to enlighten you about biodiversity, the importance of native gardening, and to move toward biodiversity.

The featured image for this post was taken by Stephanie L’s husband Phil. JoAnn J…woodpecker, Debbie J…brown thrasher, Sherron L…hawk, and Linda B…fledgling nuthatch that they have been watching since the mother built a nest in a birdhouse in their yard… provided the other pictures. As you can see, RGC members love to Feed the Birds…and water them.