We can lower our carbon footprint and end climate change—here’s how, by RGC Guest Blogger & 2nd place HS blog winner Savannah Young

We can lower our carbon footprint and end climate change—here’s how, by RGC Guest Blogger & 2nd place HS blog winner Savannah Young

 It’s needless to say that there’s no shortage of plastic in the Roswell area. 

Between the sheer amount of straws given out at restaurants to the load of plastic bottles you can find on the side of the road, there’s no doubt that we need to make a change. 

However, while some may struggle to see that we need to make changes in our lives to help the environment long term, others may find it difficult to actually make the change.  

So, we’re throwing it back to elementary school and reminding everyone of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. 

I know, I know, it’s something we were taught at a very young age, right?  

As we get older, the three R’s slowly slip into the back of our minds. I mean, we no longer do those big earth day projects anymore, do we? That’s why it’s important that we keep the three R’s in our heads at all times, as it’s one of the steps towards a greener future for us and generations to come. 

So, let’s start off by talking about the most well-known R: Recycling.  

For any of those unfamiliar with recycling, it means “the action or process of converting waste into reusable material”.  

Here in Fulton County, we can recycle metals (aluminum, steel, tin), glass (bottles, jars), plastics 1, 2, 5 (including grocery bags, bubble wrap, and shrink wrap), and cardboard. 

And, while it’s great that so many people in Fulton County recycle, we could take it a step further—which brings us to our next R: reusing

For example, instead of recycling cardboard, you could find another use for it. You could use it for storage or as a way to mail gifts down to family and friends. As for plastics, you, too, could use it for storage (for cereal, snacks, etc.) and other household needs. And, for all those Pinterest lovers out there, Mason Jars have a variety of uses. 

While reusing is another amazing way to help the environment, we could take it even further than that. How, you may ask? 

We could reduce our use of single use items. Yes, I know, it seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it may be easier than it seems.  

For those who haven’t heard of reducing, it means to “make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.” 

If we were to stop purchasing one-use items, such as Q-tips, straws, and water bottles, we would be a few steps closer to being eco-friendly. 

If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to make the switch (or worried about the cost of going eco-friendly)—you don’t have to worry. After all, you can make small switches along the way, rather than completely giving up everything at one time. 

In order to make the switch, and help the earth in the long run, you need to go into it with an open mind and positive attitude. Instead of fearing the change, be open minded. Remember that you’re doing this for future generations, wildlife, and, most importantly, to save your earth.  

You may be one person, and while that may not seem like a huge difference, one person is all we need to get more on board with the idea of a greener and brighter future.  

Below, we’ve compiled a short list of links to eco-friendly switches you can make from your average, every day, one-use products. With your help, we can end climate change and lower our carbon footprint. 

Why am I Helping the Environment?…by Guest Blogger & 3rd Place Winner Maynor Chinchilla

Why am I Helping the Environment?…by Guest Blogger & 3rd Place Winner Maynor Chinchilla

I want you to think about the question “Why I am helping the environment?”. For a lot of people this question is difficult to answer because they may not help the environment or not ever think about it, and if you are one of those people here is the answer. We need to help our environment so we as the entire humanity can have a better future. Remember that this is the place that you are going to invite

What is the point of destroying your home and not having another place to live in

your children. Remember that their future is located in their home, and I don’t think someone can have a future when it does not even have a home. You are choosing between letting the kids live and die. Trust I know that those words are really strong but this is the reality. Right now we can have the chance to repair some of our environments and if we don’t take this chance these kids may not have the best future in life. If you ask Why? Here is your answer if we don’t change the way global warming is going. These kids would not be able to stop it. It’s like writing with a pen you can not erase, and yes you can cover it but it is always going to be in there. So let’s stop covering these problems and let’s try to repair it. Remember that humanity is strong and we have changed the way we do things all the time. Let’s become more modern and not just use the thing in our home. Let’s also keep our home stable, and ready for the future that comes. So be ready to help the earth and be ready to give them the future that they deserved. Let everyone say “I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet earth and promise to promote education so we may become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.” And also let’s all find a better and more modern future for the good of our children, for the good of our home, and for the good of the entire humanity. I hope you help our generations to find a future.

Lets Learn how to protect the beauty around us

Now that we talk about why let’s talk about what we can do. Something that we can do is show care about it every time there is an election. Remember that the leaders would give us representation in the government. Which means that if we show care they would start to also show care about it. Let’s demand the care that this topic needs. Other activity that we can do is planting trees, but please do research to see if the tree belongs to your environment so you don’t create an invasive species. Other activity is recycling. This would help our future generation to have less starving communities because right now a lot of animals that we eat are dying because of contamination on water and earth. That is why after going into a park you need to remember to clean after yourself. Remember to stay safe and to help the future generations.

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.

 How to Winterize Your Dahlias by RGC Blogger Donna Feit

 How to Winterize Your Dahlias by RGC Blogger Donna Feit

I love my dahlias. I bought some tubers from Zulily a few years ago, planted them as soon as they arrived, and several weeks later was delighted with beautiful pink and sunset-orange blossoms. They bloomed throughout the latter part of summer right up until the first frost. I left them in the ground for the winter and they returned the following year.

After that, I wanted to learn more and started to research growing dahlias on Pinterest. I was surprised to learn that they don’t “winter” well and are often killed by freezing cold weather…I was fortunate in that the first winter was an especially mild one and my tubers survived.

I don’t want to run the risk of losing my beautiful dahlias, so this year, I’m going to dig up the tubers and store them properly over the winter. Since we’ve already had a couple of frosts, now is the time! Cut off the stems and leaves. It’s a good idea to let the tubers cure (dry out a little), especially the larger ones. Shake the dirt off, but it’s not necessary to completely clean them. They may be okay wrapped in newspaper, and/or stored in a paper bag. But, it’s even better to store them in dry-to-slightly-moist packing material such as peat moss, coco coir, wood chips, pet bedding, or sawdust. You could also use a mixture of vermiculite and perlite. Use whatever you have on hand.

Line the bottom of a box with newspaper to keep any packing material from falling through the cracks. Layer the packing material on top of that. Lay the tubers in the box so they will be surrounded by the packing material. You can store several clumps in the same box as long as they are not touching. Fill the box with packing material so the tubers are completely covered. Close the box and put on a shelf. It’s important that your dahlia storage space is cool and dry. A basement or the inside wall of your garage should work. If it is too warm, the tubers could rot.

You’re all set! After the last frost next spring, you’ll be able to replant your tubers and enjoy beautiful dahlias from late summer through fall.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Show Your Plants Some Love by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Show Your Plants Some Love by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Cooler temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight throughout the fall initiate the cold-acclimation process which enables plants to withstand winter temperatures. The best way to prevent cold damage is to select plants that can tolerate temperatures where you live. Georgia has different climatic zones, so it’s important to select plants that meet the minimum cold-hardy requirements for our area. For North Fulton that’s zone 7B.

Cold temperatures and wind can damage all parts of the plant including fruit, stems, leaves, trunk, and roots. Carefully selected plants can survive a freeze but may not survive a prolonged period of below-freezing temperatures.

Healthy plants have a better chance of surviving cold weather. A soil sample is the best method to determine what nutrients plants need. Contact the UGA extension agent to get information about soil testing. Pruning and/or fertilizing in late summer or early fall encourages tender new growth which leaves plants vulnerable to freezing temps. Check publications B961 and B1065 for information about feeding and pruning ornamental plants. Mulch is important too. It reduces heat loss of the soil, retains moisture, and protects the plant roots which also can be damaged by a freeze.

Covering plants with sheets, blankets, or cardboard boxes helps protect them from low-temperature injury. Plastic sheeting is not recommended; temperatures under the plastic rise quickly which can result in burned leaves or worse. Remove the cover during daylight hours to provide ventilation and allow the release of the trapped heat.

Plants have water requirements during the winter months. Make sure plants get at least 1” of water per week which is essential for a healthy, cold-hardy plant. If a cold snap is predicted, water the plants. Moist soil absorbs more heat and helps maintain an elevated temperature around the plants.

GA Extension offers more than 600 free, research-based publications to help you learn about everything from planting the perfect vegetable garden to raising a backyard chicken flock, and from identifying stinging and biting pests to determining if your agribusiness is feasible. For more information, go to http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications.

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.