From the Garden: Garden Club Gathers to "Cuss and Discuss"

By Erin Breglia

Kick­ing off the first Lan­dis Arbore­tum Gar­den Club gath­er­ing, ten enthu­si­as­tic gar­den­ers came togeth­er on a beau­ti­ful autumn day to talk about their hits and miss­es” of the 2014 gar­den sea­son. Mem­ber and vol­un­teer Jeanne Post-Sour­mail and Board Vice Pres­i­dent Wilma Jozwiak had issued an invi­ta­tion to area gar­den­ers for a lunch and gab-fest, draw­ing a very out­spo­ken and envi­ron­men­tal­ly con­scious group. Before long we were hap­pi­ly eat­ing the best Dump Cake’ ever, washed down with apple cider. Our two-hour ses­sion quick­ly turned into three and a half!

Veg­etable gar­den­ing was the main top­ic, with each per­son eager­ly shar­ing reports of their best and worst crops of the sea­son, cor­rob­o­rat­ed by pic­tures and spec­i­mens. Much advice was shared regard­ing seed sources, dis­ease resis­tant vari­eties, and seed start­ing tech­niques. There were long dis­cus­sions on top­ics like the impor­tance of ben­e­fi­cial insects such as bees and but­ter­flies, raised beds ver­sus con­tain­er gar­den­ing, and plant pro­tec­tion from ani­mals and insects. Oth­er top­ics ranged from flower iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to recipes for veg­eta­bles such as kale. Sea­soned cooks exchanged recipes for kale chips as well as oth­er cre­ative uses of the plant in soups, stews, and scram­bled eggs. Con­cerns were expressed about the high prices of organ­ic pro­duce, which led to con­ver­sa­tions on how to cut gro­cery costs with prop­er veg­etable and fruit storage.

After a sec­ond round of cake, we ven­tured out­side to learn the dis­tinc­tion between Ascle­pias syr­i­a­ca (com­mon milk­weed) and Ascle­pias incar­na­ta (swamp milk­weed). Some of the gar­den­ers col­lect­ed seeds of the for­mer, an impor­tant lar­val host for the monarch but­ter­fly, which feeds on the flow­ers and lays eggs on the plant. The emerg­ing cater­pil­lars then feed on the leaves. A future project pro­posed for the Gar­den Club would be an expan­sion of the Arboretum’s but­ter­fly-attract­ing plant col­lec­tion and its con­sol­i­da­tion into a But­ter­fly, Bird, and Hon­ey­bee Garden.

The new­ly formed group decid­ed they would meet again in late win­ter to dis­cuss seed sources and order­ing, and to tour the Arboretum’s prop­a­ga­tion room and green­house. Sev­er­al atten­dees have expressed inter­est in vol­un­teer­ing to help start seeds and grow plants for the annu­al Spring Plant Sale. Gar­den­ers of all lev­els are invit­ed to join the group. For more infor­ma­tion email me at gardenflowerfairy@​yahoo.​com.

Winter 2015

Volume 33 , Number 1

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