Category Archives: Horticulture

GCI Big Winner in “Kaleidoscope” Annual Meeting Flower Show

Every GCA garden club in New York state was required to enter a mixed planting in the ”Kaleidoscope” class at the GCA Annual Meeting in Rochester: Plants we’d propagated and/or grown in or our gardens composed in a 14″ terra-cotta-colored pot. Each club could choose a color scheme: yellow-orange, pink-red, or blue-purple. GCI chose blue-purple. Starting last September, we approached the project as a club, with members rooting cuttings and planting bulbs. Over the last few weeks, we combed our gardens for blue flowering plants. The harsh winter and late spring didn’t make things easy.
Renee-Anne SM

Renee Shamosh and Anne Myers in Rochester, NY, today with the club’s winning container planting.

However, yesterday, the judges award us a first-place blue ribbon as well as the Rosie Jones Horticulture Award, for:

“An entry of exceptional visual appeal that reflects the spirit of growing with joy and enthusiasm and inspires others to propagate, grow, show and share horticulture.”
The container planting was designed by Ellen Shapiro, Renee Shamosh and Donghai Zhen. Renee contributed phlox, streptocarpus, evolvulus, forget-me-nots, and ‘super blue’ pericallis. Ellen contributed wood hyacinths and blue chalk fingers Club president Susan Weisenberg contributed bearded irises, the centerpiece of the arrangement. Also adding to the arrangement were plants contributed Bunny Bauer, Deb Flock, Nora Galland, Cena Hampden, and Anne Myers: the Cape primrose, comfrey, dwarf blue cypress, amsonia, and forget-me-nots, respectively.
The entry was accompanied by the following key card, indicating to show visitors the botanical and common names of the plants and their relative position in the container.
GCI BlueContainerKeyCard

 

 

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Filed under Garden Club Flower Show Categories, Horticulture, Zone III Events

A Visit from the Expert

Beth Hickman

Last month, in preparation for the Garden Club of America’s Annual Meeting Flower Show in Rochester, May 18-20, GCA Zone III (New York) Horticulture Representative Elizabeth D. Hickman spoke to our club. She demonstrated how to choose, display and groom plants for horticulture exhibits at the show.

Here, Beth is critiquing members’ plants, describing how they should be groomed in order to be “passed” or allowed to be displayed in the competition. For example, in addition to no evidence of insects or disease, there can be no brown edges or yellowed leaves. She noted that some of the members’ plants were imbalanced, too leggy, needed fertilization, or were displayed in containers that clashed with the plant rather than enhancing it.

She also spoke about how to cut stems for display in glass bottles. Here are her cutting and conditioning tips that will help keep plant material looking fresh after two or three days, not dried and wrinkled:

1. Cut stems in the coolest part of the day, out of direct sunlight; early in the morning or near sunset is best.
2. Cut the stems at an angle for maximum surface.
3. Split the ends of woody-stemmed flowers or branches. For flowers that bleed milky juices, like euphorbia and poppies, pass the cut end through a flame to seal the cut.
4. Make sure the bottle is filled to the top with room-temperature water (see more details in our article on cut stems under the “Horticulture Tips from GCI” tab.)

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Tour of Irvington’s O’Hara Nature Center

OHara2

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, Maureen DePaoli, assistant to the Village of Irvington Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, and GCI past president Barbara Defino provided an overview of the Center’s history and programs and gave a tour of the gardens. IHS Senior/Girl Scout Amy Friendlander spoke about the Center’s educational materials. Like at many of our public events, guests of members were welcome to join us at 170 Mountain Road.

For more information about the O’Hara Nature Center, please visit the Village of Irvington site.

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Filed under GCA Events, Horticulture, Irvington Garden Club Events, Rivertowns Westchester NY

A Rose Grows in Harlem

Stephen Scanniello is the 2013 recipient of the GCA Jane Righter Rose Medal.  His latest book, A Rose By Any Other Name, was the seed for the Heritage Rose District of NY City, an all-volunteer project that has grown to include more than 1,500 rose bushes planted throughout Harlem in 35 different gardens. He works with children and adults throughout Harlem bringing back roses that grew in Manhattan when the only inhabitants were Native Americans. Stephen spoke about the Heritage Rose District of NYC and his other rose preservation projects.

Scanniello

Guests and the public were invited to join us for his talk at the Irvington Public Library.

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“Candy in the Garden” with Kent Russell

Celebrity gardener Kent Russell recently educated and entertained Garden Club members with ideas and inspiration to create eye-catching drama in any garden setting.

Abutilon

Here, he demonstrates the long-blooming qualities of Abuliton “Biltmore Ball Garden.”

“The perfect garden has a little bit of everything in it,” Kent said. He served up his “Candy in the Garden” presentation with verve and humor and illustrated his points and anecdotes with a wide assortment of live plant materials (available for sale afterwards). He re-introduced Garden Club members to fancy-leaved geraniums, including “Vancouver Centennial” and “Crystal Palace.” Don’t water them—and pinch for beautiful new growth, he admonished. “Geraniums hate moisture!” And he got everyone to fall in love with Abuliton, a type of flowering maple, especially “Biltmore Ball Garden.” He advised, “Treat it as an annual, out on the patio or porch. It blooms all summer and it’s easy to make cuttings. Then bring it in at it will flower all winter on a sunny windowsill.”

Kent was “The Garden Guru” on PBS and is listed as a preferred speaker by the Garden Club of America. “I was born with a silver trowel in his hand,” he says, beginning his life in horticulture at his family’s nursery, Russell Gardens, in Bucks County, PA, where he is still based. Kent designs gardens and container plantings for clients throughout the East Coast.

The program, at the Irvington Public Library, was free and open to the public.

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Filed under Horticulture, Irvington Garden Club Events, Irvington NY, Plant Sale, Rivertowns Westchester NY

Using Natives in Your Garden

Famed landscape designer Larry Weaner gave Garden Club members and guests an important presentation on gardening with native plants of the Northeast. Here are some of the the main points of his illustrated talk that may be helpful in planting your garden:

Plant Communities

A plant community with Liatris spicata (blazingstar) and Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root). If plants grow together in nature, they most likely will be good companions in a garden.

• HABITAT: Look at plants, how they grow, and “who” they grow with.

• The same plant combinations that grow successfully in the wild can be planted successfully in a garden with the same temperature, water and soil conditions.

• Match each plant to its ideal habitat. For example, as shown in the photo below, perennial lupines typically grow at the forest edge in well-drained, sandy soil with slightly acidic pH. Scatter seeds of Lupinus perennis in the spring in a partly-shaded spot that has well-drained, sandy, slightly acidic soil, and within two years you may have a beautifully flowering stand.

Wild Lupine0010

A naturally occurring stand of Lupinus perennis (perennial lupine)

Disturbance 1

A naturally occurring stand of Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)

• DISTURBANCE: Many seeds lie dormant, and when an event happens, like a fallen tree branch, it creates a disturbance that causes the seeds to germinate.

• Scatter seeds after disturbing an area to encourage growth. Monitor area for weed growth, most intensively during the establishment phase.

Disturbance 2

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) in the garden with Phlox paniculata ‘David’ (summer phlox), Amsonia tabernaemontana (blue star flower), and Heuchera villosa var. macrorhiza ‘Autumn Bride’ (hairy alumnroot)

• SUCCESSION: Use shorter-lived plants (you may start from seed) as “place holders” until longer-lived perennials develop.

• Choose plants that grow and mature at different time frames.

• Use plants that spread seed and roots to fill gaps naturally.

• Structure your garden in layers (tall, medium and low) as they would grow in a woodland setting or meadow.

• Use logs and stumps in the garden as a habitat for plants and wildlife.

Natural Design

“Natural Design”: a planned meadow with Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) and
Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan)

• “Meadows” can get weedy if not properly managed. But once established and if managed appropriately, a meadow’s dense vegetative growth can inhibit weed seed germination. Weed to favor desired species and discourage undesirables, especially during the critical establishment phase.

• Cut weeds instead of pulling. Pulling disturbs the soil, encouraging more weeds.  If you must pull, plant in the gap. To get rid of vines or larger weeds, cut and paint with a herbicide rather than digging.

Competition 2

A border of natives: Aspclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed), Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Liatris spicata (blazingstar), Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ (switchgrass), and Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant), Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi (bearberry), Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood), and Rhus aromatica ‘Gro lo’ (fragrant sumac).

• If you consider views and vantage points — like viewing the garden from a distance looking up to the house — and plant using natives imitating the patterns of plant communities in nature, the results could be as rewarding as the two properties above.

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Filed under Conservation, Horticulture

“One of the Ten Gardens Not to Be Missed this Summer”

“And now at last we have a chance to catch our breath, and really stop and smell the roses at the annual Rose Day at Lyndhurst, home to one of our very favorite rose gardens in the whole Hudson Valley,” wrote Bill Cary in an article in The Journal News last Friday, in which he named the Rose Garden at Lyndhurst “one of the ten gardens not to be missed this summer.”

Sunday was an almost-perfect early summer day, and a record crowd of hundreds of people enjoyed an afternoon of observing, learning about, and photographing roses while they listened to live chamber and choral music, sipped punch, munched on cookies, and just relaxed. Rose experts from the Garden Club explained the finer points of planting, caring for and pruning many varieties of roses.

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The Rose Garden, tended by members of the Garden Club, is on the grounds of Lyndhurst, a 67-acre National Trust for Historic Preservation property  on the Hudson River. It is open to the public, free of charge, daily from dawn to dusk. Rose Day is an annual event, the first Sunday in June.

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Filed under Horticulture, Irvington Garden Club Events, Tarrytown NY