Good Guys versus Bad Guys!

Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead members gathered at the Abbot Public Library to listen and learn about native plants versus invasive species. The Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG) defines invasive plants as “non-native species that have spread into native or minimally managed plant systems in Massachusetts.  These plants cause economic or environmental harm by developing self-sustaining populations and becoming dominant and/or disruptive to those systems.”    

In the presentation by Suzanne Mahler, who has been sharing her passion for gardening for more than 30 years, we learned that many invasive plant species alter the surrounding soil to make it more difficult for native plants to survive. Suzanne described various ways to battle invasive plants and reminded us that those should only be disposed of in your trash, not in the compost pile!

Bad Guys, definitely bad guys, include: garlic mustard, creeping Charlie, buckthorn, barberry, burning bush, bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, purple loosestrife, phragmite common reed, and Japanese knotweed.

Invasive Japanese knotwood is definitely a bad guy!

Some Good Guys, very good guys, include: native aster, coreopsis, turtlehead, beebalm, Joe Pye weed, sweet pepper clethera, winterberry holly, American dogwood, red cedar juniper, milkweed, bloodroot, black-eyed Susan, phlox, and liatris.

A Good Guy – Common milkweed is an important source of food for monarch butterflies.

Presenter Suzanne Mahler recommends several resources: grownativemass.org; www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife; www.mass.gov/service-details/invasive-plants, as well as visiting the Garden in the Woods, home of the Native Plant Trust, in Framingham, MA.

According to Garden in the Woods, “The ultimate goal for the ecological gardener is a beautiful garden that provides year-round interest, supports local wildlife, absorbs and filters rainwater, and improves air quality.” 

So let’s plant more Good Guys!


An Enchanting Tour of English Gardens.

On a cold January evening, Driftwood Garden Club current president Ginny von Rueden delighted the audience with highlights of the group tour she organized of Great Houses and Gardens of Yorkshire and the Lake District of England.

This was our first gathering held in the meeting room at the temporary library while Abbot Public Library undergoes extensive renovations. Many thanks to our hostesses and to the staff of the library for such a warm welcome.

The Tour! Planned in honor of Driftwood Garden Club’s 70th Birthday, the travelers were led by head gardeners in such exquisite sites such as York Minster, Littlethorpe Manor, Castle Howard (of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ and ‘Bridgerton’ fame), Harlow Carr Gardens, Parcevall Hall, Levens Hall, Lowther Castle, and Holker Hall. Tour members enjoyed a private lakeside cruise along Windemere and a visit to Beatrix Potter’s home at Hilltop Farmhouse.

Please note that Ginny von Rueden will also present ‘A Tour of English Gardens’ for the Council on Aging Marblehead Speaker Series on Wednesday, February 15th at 12:30 pm.


‘Tis the Season to Decorate Holiday Wreaths!

Making Seasons Bright! Members of the Driftwood Garden Club gathered at the Jacobi Community Center to adorn over 50 fresh holiday wreaths and swags which are distributed by the Council on Aging to Marblehead residents.

DGC bow-making experts demonstrated their technique while the others decorated the fresh greenery with ornaments, pinecones, dried flowers and glitter.

Wishing all a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!


Sneak Peek …Driftwood Garden Club elves help decorate King Hooper for Christmas Walk!

Please enjoy the Winter Wonderland décor created by five local garden clubs at Marblehead Arts Association’s King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper Street, Marblehead. The Open House is Thursday evening 12/1 from 5-7 PM, and the mansion is open to the public during Christmas Walk hours on Saturday 12/3 and Sunday12/4 from noon till 5 PM.

Driftwood Garden Club elves installed the design created by members Ginny von Rueden and Laurie Boggis.


Save the Date, Local Garden Clubs Decorate King Hooper Mansion.

Please mark your calendars to visit Marblehead Arts Association’s “Winter Wonderland” at the King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper Street, Marblehead, MA. Enjoy the festive holiday décor provided by Marblehead local garden clubs.

Open House is Thursday evening, December 1st from 5-7 PM.  The Artisans Holiday Marketplace and Winter Members Exhibition in the mansion will be open during the Marblehead Christmas Walk, Saturday and Sunday, December 3 & 4th from 12-5 PM.

And now … here’s a sneak peak of Driftwood Garden Club members working on the stunning design created by longtime-members Ginny von Rueden and Laurie Boggis.

Stay tuned for pictures of the final results installed in the King Hooper Mansion!


The Magic of a Winter Garden

Members of the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead gathered recently for The Magic of a Winter Garden presentation by Joan Butler and Jan Milbocker of Enchanted Gardens.

According to master gardener Joan Butler, “The garden can be a magical place – even in winter! Stripped of summer foliage and flowers, the success of a winter garden lies in its structure, basic design and choice of plant material.” Their lecture provided inspiration and tips on designing our gardens for winter interest, choosing the best trees, shrubs and perennials, and grouping them to create arresting vignettes.

According to DGC Past President Kathy Bradford, Principal of Bradford Design Associates, “Ornamental grasses, sedums, and winterberry provide excellent winter interest. And don’t cut back until spring!”


Garden photos credit by Kathy Bradford.


Farewell to the Secret Garden, for now!

Members of the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead gathered together on a crisp October morning to bid farewell to the Secret Garden at the Abbot Public Library. The Library at 235 Pleasant Street has moved to an interim location at the former Eveleth School while the building and grounds undergo extensive renovations. Renovations are scheduled to begin in December, with a projected completion in spring of 2024.

Abbot Library’s Secret Garden, named after the classic English novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, has been lovingly upgraded and maintained by the Driftwood Garden Club for many years.

DGC Past-President Mary Stewart coordinated the design and installation of this granite key set in the Secret Garden’s brick patio back in the early 1990s. The key, a prominent symbol in the novel, unlocks the hidden garden where the children enjoy the wonders of nature and the healing of their spirits. Pictured is the original cover of The Secret Garden novel published in the U.S. in 1911. (source Houghton Library, Harvard University)

We look froward to the completion of the Abbot Library renovation with new garden space, and we look forward to our new civic projects in Marblehead.

The Secret Garden at Abbot Public Library, Marblehead, 2022

Fall Cocktail Party Fun

The Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead held its annual Fall Cocktail Party on a crisp and clear evening. Members and their spouses enjoyed a fantastic assortment of hors d’oeuvres provided by members and lots of laughter and fun as members greeted each other for the first event of the 2022-2023 season. Many thanks to member Rose Gould who shared her beautiful home with us, to our hostesses Silte McLaughlin, Cheryl Miller, Andrea Popeo, and Lesley Dexter and especially to our fantastic program chairs Pat Shannon and Harriett Magee who kept it all on track. Look at all of those smiles!


And the award goes to…

The Northeast District of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts recognizes that every garden club includes members who step up and go above and beyond to make garden club activities enjoyable for all of the members. This year, Northeast Director Kim Edwards requested nominations for the 2021-2022 year from each garden club in the Northeast District for an award of recognition.

As we all recall, during the winter of 2021 we had to rely on virtual meetings and workshops as in person events were canceled. Planning for the next program year was extremely unpredictable, we needed some additional woman power, and asked Maureen Karwowski to help. Maureen was able to use her considerable research skills to find speakers who could present virtually, forward electronic contracts for signature, as well as work remotely with our current and future program chairs to develop the great programs we all enjoyed last year.

We wish to announce that long-time member Maureen Karwowski was nominated and has received this award for her work on the 2021-2022 DGC Program Schedule during the Covid pandemic.

Maureen was presented with this award over the summer while visiting from New York, where she currently resides.

Congratulations Maureen – we will always appreciate your help!


Eye Candy!

Even though most Driftwood Garden Club members are still hard at work in their own yards as well as tending the grounds of the Abbot Public Library, a few DGC gardeners also donate their time and talent to create luscious floral arrangements for the historic Jeremiah Lee Mansion at 161 Washington Street in Marblehead. Hats off to our own Ginny von Rueden, Laurie Boggis, Susan McMullen, and Jo Ann Augeri Silva for treating us, and Lee Mansion visitors from around the globe, to this floral eye candy! Feast your eyes!

Arrangement by Susan McMullen.

Arrangement by Ginny von Rueden.
Arrangement by Ginny von Rueden.

Arrangement by Laurie Boggis and Susan McMullen
Arrangement by Laurie Boggis and Susan McMullen.
Arrangement by Ginny von Rueden