Area garden club news

Shawnee State Park Lodge Recognizes Area Garden Clubs

Since 1991 members of Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, Region 10, (Scioto, Lawrence and Pike Counties) have joined with Shawnee State Park and Resort Lodge to create a winter wonderland for the Christmas holidays. Over the years more than fifteen clubs and hundreds of members, their guests and area high school honors students have enjoyed creating the Christmas décor. Thousands of travelers have visited the lodge and enjoyed the fruits of this labor and Region 10 has received the State’s top beautification award for these efforts.

Displaying their gratitude, the Lodge Staff provided a “Thank You” luncheon on March 15 for area clubs. Club members were treated to lunch and an opportunity for members to win an overnight stay at the lodge, plus a basket of goodies from the lodges gift shop.

Lodge management reported on the upcoming, extensive renovation plans for the lodge and advised that they will seek public comment concerning the growth and design of the lodge. The lodge restaurant has added a smoker, is now offering an expanded and redesigned menu, The restaurant will also be listed under a new name in the near future.

Christmas 2016 plans are already underway, as members gathered after the luncheon to brain-storm ideas for another special event.

Green Triange Garden Club

The March meeting of Green Triangle Garden Club featured Bob Hurley, Hurley Landscaping with an interesting program. He described himself as a Christian, a father, a gardener and a landscaper.

He presented four plants to be discussed. First was a Blue Star Juniper, a needled evergreen with silvery-blue foliage. It is a slow growing, dwarf tree, reaching 1 to 3 ft. at maturity. This plant will widen, rather than lengthen and is excellent for our weather conditions. Second was a Golden Mop Cypress, which produces dramatic, bright yellow/green foliage. It features a feathery appearance and is also adaptable for this area. Third was a Red Twig Dogwood, which will grow in height to 8 ft. and produce variegated leaves. The tree will bloom with small white flowers in flat clusters, that are followed by berries. Fall foliage is a rosy gold, but the tree is deciduous, so during the winter, one can have a clear view of the lovely red bark. The last plant was a PJM Rhododendron, which is a hybrid. Its growing habit is compact, with small evergreen leaves, and it will grow in height to 3 to 6 ft. It is an early bloomer, with flowers clusters (4 to 9 per cluster). This plant is excellent for our area. Four lucky members, Stephanie Wright, Anna Cardenas, Sherrill Day and Eva Wolery received these plants as gifts from Mr. Hurley.

President Wolery received the business reports. Stephanie Wright and Shelby Powell reported on the February garden therapy program at Bridgeport Health Care Center. They had a Valentine/Spring theme for eleven residents. The project was a spring planter made from a cloth covered Styrofoam cup, a silk flower and the addition of a Valentine heart. Valentines were distributed to all residents, and also to the residents at Heritage Square.

Wolery reminded members of the upcoming Spring Regional meeting and the Shawnee Lodge Appreciation luncheon on March 15.

Ground temperatures were the focus of the horticulture report. Karen Wood advised that our early spring flowers, daffodils and forsythia bloom when the ground temperatures reach 35 degrees. And gardeners may use that as guide to planting the early spring garden, of spinach, lettuce and peas. If one is using seeds, it is a good idea to also check the ground moisture. A handful of dirt, that is squishy, when squeezed is too wet, but if it holds together in your hand, the early seeds should thrive. Testing the ground temperature again, the gardener can safely plant broccoli and kale seeds when it tests at 50 degrees. Remember that these early plants only like cool temperatures, and are not good when the air temperatures rise to 80 degrees.

The March hostess was Anna Cardenas and Jordan Dean was a guest. The April meeting will be at Bridgeport Health Care Center.

Portsmouth Garden Club

The theme for the March meeting of Portsmouth Garden Club was Irish in honor of St Patrick Day, and the hostess was Sherrill “O” Day. Fourteen members were present, for lunch at Hillview Retirement Center.

Sara Marley presented the program, “Growing Bearded Iris”. Iris is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, and for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. In addition to the scientific name, iris is also used as a common name for all Iris species, including the bearded iris.

Bearded irises are classified as Dwarf, Tall, or Aril. The bearded iris is easy to cultivate and propagate and is very popular in gardens and there are thousands of cultivars available (more than 30 000 cultivars only for the tall bearded irises !). They are best planted as bare root plants in late summer, in a sunny open position with the rhizome visible on the surface of the soil and facing the sun. They should be divided in summer every two or three years, when the clumps become congested. To separate, after the plant has bloomed and when the roots and rhizomes are exposed, begin by breaking away the rhizomes from the clump, and saving only those rhizomes that are attached to the sides of old “mother” rhizomes. They are the ones that will be replanted to bloom the following spring. The new iris bed should have good drainage, good soil, a sunny location, and should be kept weed free.

NOTE: Once a rhizome has bloomed, that rhizome will not bloom again. Only the “increase” rhizomes that grow along the edges of the “mother” rhizome will bloom, so save the “increase”. Discard all the other rhizomes and leaves by placing in the curbside trashcan. Do NOT compost iris plants.

President Dolly Cole conducted the business meeting, receiving various reports, and making assignments for club garden areas. Portsmouth Garden Club will offer a $500 scholarship to a senior at Portsmouth High School in 2017.

Specimens on display were two forced blooms presented by Cole and Linda Sieling.

Portsmouth Garden Club met in February at the Community Center at Forrest Heights, for a potluck luncheon, hosted by Joyce Coakley and Ingrid Bridwell. The meeting theme was Valentines, and members worked on 125 favor bags of Valentine candy for Hospice patients.

Winter months are not favorable for gardening, so the discussion concerned our declining songbird population. Certainly our hard winters and a lack of winter food are some of the reasons for the decline, but our increased use of pesticides and the loss of habitat also contributes to the steady decline. Several favorite birds, including Flycatchers, Canadian Warblers and Swallows are now listed as species at risk.

Slocum Garden Club

Members of the Slocum Garden Club met in March for a St. Patrick Day themed luncheon, hosted by Brooks Sexton at Hillview Retirement Center.

Mary Lou Beaumont shared information gained at the Amish Bird Symposium in Adams County. She advised, that it is notable that the American woodcock is returning to our area as a result of planned re-foresting. Members were encouraged to try to observe this tiny, returning songbird. Beaumont was appointed to the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District’s policy committee.

Participants in the club’s garden therapy program at Adult Daily Living, Best Care, Wheelersburg planted caladiums and seeded valentines in preparation for spring gardens and will be creating Easter baskets as their March project.

President Diane Reese presented the roster of activities for the coming spring season. Members were reminded of the OAGC Spring Regional meeting on April 21st at Grace Methodist Family Life Center in Waverly. The club will offer many handmade items for sale. Handmade items will be finalized at the home of Beverly Norman on April 7. Members will also assist one another in the creation of designs for the Spring Regional flower show. Reese, a OAGC flower show judge, circulated photos of miniature, creative, reflective, table centerpiece and small designs to encourage members to participate in the show.

Slocum Garden Club will participate in the area’s April 23rd Conservation Fair at Tracy Park, Portsmouth, a celebration of Arbor and Earth Days. Emphasizing conservation through re-cycling, Slocum members will be informing the public about the opportunity to recycle plastic pots and potting materials at Lowe’s Garden Center and will offer recycled items for sale. Backyard conservation activities, which encourage butterfly and bird health will also be shared.

The March program was presented by Anna Cardenas, Green Triangle Garden Club member and the former OAGC Regional Director. Cardenas demonstrated the Art of Japanese floral design, or Ikebana (Japanese for “giving life to flowers”). She demonstrated that only a few items are necessary for Japanese designs. With only a few pussy-willow

stems, mums, a shallow ceramic dish and a kenzan (needlepoint) to stabilize the flowers, Cardenas crafted a beautiful simplistic design in the moribana upright style, a basic structure reflecting the modernistic, free-style method introduced in the 20th century.

A brief, exciting discussion followed as members discussed the promised 600 acre Ohio Hanging Rock Nature Preserve to be located near Minford and South Webster, which is planned for 2018. The preserve is the result of the sale of forested acreage, sold recently to the Arc of Appalachia in an effort to assure the prevention of any future logging there. The land was sold to the Arc by the Wetlands Resource Center, a private partner of the Conservation Foundation to mitigate the loss of wetlands and stream corridors resulting from the new Portsmouth bypass. Walking trails and a nature center are planned.

The day’s hint advised members to pour water used in cooking vegetables, once cooled into potted containers to provide nutrients for plant growth.

Members will plant flowers at Adult Daily Living, Best Care on Dogwood Ridge in Wheelersburg and at the James Irwin Post, American Legion, Minford on April 14, then proceed to the Greater Portsmouth Municipal Airport in Minford for a luncheon meeting.

New members are always welcome. For more information, contact (740) 259-4432.