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 E – I’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!
If you are interested in a great garden-related volunteer opportunity or a fantastic tour, check out Johns Creek Beautification’s Secret Gardens Tour on May 1, 2021, come rain or shine.
Secret Gardens is a drive-yourself and walking tour of seven homes and the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve. Each stop has its own special, charming features. The tour features a beautiful hillside oasis and beehive fireplace; a woodland garden with a hand-made stone bridge; an iris garden; a creek-side garden; a gated gazebo garden; and so much more.
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve is home to splendid woodland and butterfly gardens. The preserve has a visitors’ center, farm museum, Summerour cottage, the old Warsaw church, Green Country Store, and a tenant farmhouse. There will be musicians and artists to enjoy as you walk around surrounded by the blooms of spring. When you order your passes, make sure to pre-order a boxed lunch to pick up and enjoy at the preserve.
All proceeds from this event support the work of Johns Creek Beautification and are specifically earmarked toward the purchase of public art for the city, landscape beautification projects throughout Johns Creek, and to benefit a massive citywide, daffodil planting effort to raise awareness of cancer survivorship through JCB’s partnership with CanCare.
Interested in helping? As the Volunteer Coordinator for the JCB Secret Gardens Tour, I am recruiting volunteers (ages 18 years and up) to get involved in the community and fill various roles for this event. All volunteers will receive a complimentary pass for the tour (value: $25), so that they can also enjoy the gardens during the hours before and/or after their shift. Go to https://www.johnscreekbeautification.org/volunteer_sign_up to sign up. A variety of positions and times are available. Everyone involved in the Secret Gardens of the Johns Creek Community event will be practicing current masking and social distancing guidelines.
Just want to tour? If you are unable to volunteer but are interested in attending the event, passes can be purchased on our website at the the following link https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTA4NzUx
Questions? If you have questions, email me, Jennifer Schau, Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com
This year EarthDay.org is collaborating with people around the world for three days of climate action. April 20 is the Global Youth Summit led by Earth Uprising & the We Shall Breathe Hip Hop Caucus; April 21 is Teach for the Planet led by Education International; and April 22 Earth Day Live starts streaming at 12:30. All of these events can be streamed on earthday.org. Earth Day also marks the start of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on the Climate.
While I was checking out what was going on for Earth Day, I came across earthday.org’s 51 Ways to Restore our Earth. As I was reading the tips, I realized it’s pretty simple to start making a difference every day. I picked out a few to start with, and I encourage you to try some, too. We only have one earth, and we need to stop trashing it right now. Here’s my plan:
- Take earthday.org’s zero-waste challenge: The first step is to commit yourself to logging each and every item of food for a whole day. Start with breakfast and include everything, even the snack you have in the middle of the night. Compile all of your packaging and food waste, and then take a hard look at what you have: Is there a lot of plastic? Are any of your food scraps compostable? Are your leftovers stored in plastic or glass containers? Once you know your food habits and the waste you produce, you can start making some adjustments. For example, you can swap out daily yogurt cups for one larger container to reduce the total plastic used. But don’t stop there — keep going! The folks at earthday.org have some recommendations to support your waste transformation.
- Take part in the Great Global Cleanup. You’ll find suggestions for individuals and groups on the earthday.org. I’d be interested in plogging (picking up plastic litter while jogging), but I don’t jog. I’ll have to stick to plalking (picking up plastic litter while walking)
- Try a foodprint calculator https://www.earthday.org/foodprints-calculators/ or foodprint quiz https://foodprint.org/quiz/ to see how the food you eat impacts the earth. I took the foodprint quiz and found out I’m not doing too bad, but I definitely have room for improvement–especially if I do everything I said I do when I took the quiz. After you take the quiz, you’ll see your general score and detailed suggestions for improvement. Here’s some improvements I’m jumping on:
- Meatless Monday…I’m in. And let’s add those Rosemary Beans to the menu
- Cut your meat serving-size in half
- Stop buying individually packaged items
- When my plastic storage containers wear out, replace them with glass
- No straws unless they are re-usable
I was going to say I have my work cut out for me, but really, all I need is a more informed, intentional approach to some everyday activities. Join me and let’s restore our earth!
BTW, the beautiful featured image for this post is from Share America. You can download it for free at https://share.america.gov/earth-day-2021-download-free-poster/
Yellow and gray are the Pantone colors for 2021. The following floral designs make beautiful use of these colors.
The featured image, from Art Floral Francais, 96 Rue Raymond Poincare, Bordeaux, France, has beautiful rhythm. This would possibly be the first quality commented on were it to be judged. The vine appears to be a bundle of fine reeds that are tied and shaped, probably with some wire within. Calla Lily stems can be easily shaped when wet. The Aspidistra leaves are also flexible and have been manipulated.
The elements have been skillfully combined. There is probably a piece of oasis hidden in the center for hydration as all the Calla Lily stems emerge from the center.
This second design has a tube like sculpture for its base or container. The interesting foliage consists of palms that have been manipulated and braided. After drying they probably were colored with gray since their natural color when dried is tan. The blooms are heliconia. Heliconia is easy to use in creative designs as it is sturdy and long lasting. This design has a creative combination of forms and textures.
The final design is a creative horizontal design. I’m not sure what the base is underneath the attached dried leaves and yellow fabric, but it has a pleasing form. The manipulated foliage and yellow roses create a restful design with the horizontal line. One criticism has to do with scale, or the relationship in size of one material to another. I find the tiny pieces of plant material do not relate well with the other forms–they are fussy and detract from the total.
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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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!
RGC had the privilege of hearing botanical artist Linda Fraser at a recent meeting. Linda is a renowned botanical artist specializing in native plants of the southeastern United States. Linda has created over 100 watercolor and colored pencil paintings, grouping those found blooming side by side in their specific environment. The plants in the paintings are life-size and botanically accurate. The date on each of her paintings indicates when you would find the plant blooming in the garden. This post, from Linda’s website http://www.lindafraserartist.com/, is posted with Linda’s permission. We encourage you to start your celebration of Garden Week in Georgia by looking for Pink Lady’s-slipper.
Sometimes called Pink Moccasin Flower, this orchid has very small hairs on the two basal leaves and on the top two petals. The third petal is an inflated pouch.
I prefer to paint a plant indoors where there is no wind or rain to disrupt the plant. Most importantly, the shadows don’t move under my stationary lighting and the flowers hold still rather than following the sun’s path across the sky. You can see that there are two plants in the painting. I brought them indoors in a pot and, after painting them, put the pot outdoors. Although a pot is not a good place for a Pink Lady’s-slipper (because the roots spread out, shallow and wide), they both bloomed the next year. They continued to bloom but by the fifth year only one very small orchid remained. So, I put them back out in my woods where they have now disappeared.
It’s just not good to dig Pink Lady’s-slippers. Damaged roots don’t heal. And, they are picky about soil requirements: acidity and perhaps a certain pine fungus. If these conditions change, the plants may go dormant for years until required conditions return. So, I may see my Pink Lady’s-slippers again.
A dry seed capsule of a previous pink lady’s slipper is illustrated in the background in one of my other paintings, that of the Jack in the Pulpit and Pink Lady’s-slipper seed pod (May 13).
Note from RGC: Linda’s site, lindafraserartist.com, contains several beautiful paintings, along with the opportunity to purchase prints and note cards.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Maureen Lok, Cobb County Master Gardener/ Past Board Chair The Center for Children & Young Adults
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: email@example.com. Photos provided by Maureen Lok.