Ribbons and Bows Oh My!

Armed with ribbons & bows, pinecones, whimsical garnishes, and hot glue guns, members of the Driftwood Garden Club recently decorated 40 fresh balsam wreaths and 15 swags which are donated to the Marblehead Council on Aging. The COA delivers these freshly-festooned greens to local seniors who live alone and enjoy the creative touches of holiday cheer.

Established in 1952 as a volunteer, non-profit organization, the Driftwood Garden Club maintains the Abbot Public Library gardens and provides educational opportunities in gardening and support of the environment, as well as spreading cheer through holiday wreaths to the Council on Aging! 

Winter Wow at the Abbot Library!

Members of the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead returned to the Abbot Library for our first indoor event since March 2020. Library Director Kim Grad enthusiastically welcomed over 50 DGC members and guests back to the library meeting room. Members enjoyed a lovely assortment of treats provided by hostesses Pal Bickford, Pinar Gokce, and Silte McGlaughlin as everyone chatted and reconnected.

President Susan Smith announced to the membership that Charlene Carpenter, a longtime member of the DGC has been made an Honorary Member for her many contributions to the club. Charlene is our third honorary member. Congratulations Charlene!

Members who could not attend in person were given the option of Zooming in to the presentation part of the meeting, thanks to Kim who helped us use a new piece of library equipment. Six members zoomed in from as far away as New York!

Deborah Trickett from the Captured Garden presented a fabulous talk aptly named “Winter Wow: Beautiful Containers for the Winter Months”. The timing was perfect as Deborah showed slides of some gorgeous containers – just in time for the holidays!

Some of Deborah’s tips include:

  • Try using a theme for your creations: silver and white look amazing!
  • Consider whether your containers will be viewed from afar or close up: here the red twig dogwood branches are arranged close together for impact.
  • Use fresh greens that will last from December till March: noble fir, boxwood, cedar and arborvitae are good choices.
  • Don’t be afraid of accenting with artificial berries or fruit: the birds won’t eat them!

All photos courtesy of Deborah Trinkett at The Captured Garden.

Decorating the King Hooper for the Holidays

The garden clubs of Marblehead decorated the King Hooper Mansion for the holidays. The theme this year is America the Beautiful and the Driftwood Garden Club decorated the Beth Hendricks Room in a Woodland theme.

As always, designers Laurie Boggis, Sue McMullen, and Ginny von Rueden made the trip into Jacobson’s in South Boston in late October to scout out supplies for the new design. Members gathered cedar, arborvitae, japanese holly, boxwood, pinecones, birch bark and rose hips from around town, and then with instruction from Laurie and Ginny spent a fun morning making some very beautiful and surprise decorations. Four new members, Silte McLaughlin, Rose Gould, Cheryl Miller, and Jeanne Robertson joined Barbara Day, Linda Duvel, Judy Conner, Barbie Saraceno, Nancy Davidge and Susan Smith in cutting, arranging, wiring, and gluing everything in place.

Our Woodlands creations were then installed just before Christmas Walk Weekend by our seasoned team: Barbara Day, Linda Duvel, Laurie Boggis, Ginny von Rueden, Susan Smith, Barbie Saraceno, Valerie Evans and Marie Doughman. New to the team this year was Pat Shannon and Silte McGloughlin who both jumped right in. We are so lucky to have this opportunity to show off our skills every year at the Hooper!

Daffodils at Memorial Park

As part of a town-wide garden club initiative organized by the Cottage Gardeners, several members of the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead gathered recently at Memorial Park on Pleasant Street to plant over 150 ‘Yellow Trumpet’ daffodils for spring! Led by DGC President Susan Smith, our group was small in number but very efficient at digging holes, trimming plants and placing bulbs. Due to the recent Nor’easter, the soil was rich and moist and we expect a fantastic bloom in the spring!

Putting Your Garden to Bed!

Driftwood Garden Club members gathered for a hands-on demonstration led by landscape architect Kathy Bradford. Hosted in the lovely gardens of Barb and John Tatum, we learned that putting the garden to bed is a gradual process that begins around the end of September and continues right up until the ground freezes in mid to late November. This year is totally different due to all the rain in July and the warm weather in October.

General Winterizing Tasks

  • Transplant: Move perennials that are crowded based on your micro climate & plants.
  • Weed the garden: One final weeding done in September or October will help eliminate hundreds of overwintering seeds that will just be waiting to sprout in spring.
  • Remove debris: Clear fallen leaves and other debris from lawns and beds to decrease the potential for overwintering pests and diseases. Clean, dry leaves (not those from diseased trees or shrubs) can be shredded and used as mulch. Gather leaves and put them through a leaf shredder or simply run over them with a lawnmower with a bag attached. Shredding the leaves prevents them from packing together in layers, and allows for better air circulation and water to flow through.
  • Remove diseased leaves and take to transfer station. Do not put in compost.
  • Guard against deer: When there is little left to eat, deer will eat just about anything. Increase your efforts to protect your plants from deer. Methods include spreading Milorganite and planting deer-resistant plants in front of plants they like to nibble.

When to cut back perennials:

The rule of thumb is: If it’s yellow or brown, cut it down. If it’s green leave it alone.

Perennials to leave uncut for Food Source:

The first task most gardeners consider when preparing the garden for winter is cutting back perennials. While cutting everything to the ground may give the garden a tidy look, wildlife species can make use of many plants in the winter as a natural food source. Gardens with dried fruit and seed heads will provide birds with a reliable food source. Seed-eating songbirds such as finches, sparrows, chickadees, juncos, and jays will feast on the following: Coneflower, Black eye Susan, Joe Pye Weed, Pin Cushion Flower, Sedums, Coreopsis, Evening Primrose, Verbascum (Mullein) Perennial Grasses, Switch grass.

Perennials to leave uncut for Winter Visual Interest:

Beyond providing habitat, limiting fall clean-up can also provide winter interest in the garden. Dried stalks and leaves add a different dimension to the garden once the snow begins to fall. In particular, ornamental grasses add color, movement, and texture to the winter landscape. All perennials left standing for the winter should be cut to the ground 3” tall in the spring before new growth starts.

Perennials to cut:

  • plants that will blacken and turn mushy, like Hosta, Phlox, Veronicas, Geraniums, Liatris, Ferns
  • ones that tend to harbor disease or insects over winter:  Peonies, Bearded Iris and members of the Mint family;
  • those that just don’t provide attractive winter interest or food for birds

When cleaning up the garden, prioritize removing and discarding diseased top growth, but leave healthy seed heads standing.

Moving to another gardening zone!

Many members of the Driftwood Garden Club gathered to bid a fond farewell to long-time member Sue Ball. Sue has been a member of DGC for almost 35 years! Her numerous contributions include serving as Civic Chair for the Abbot Public Library work teams, working tirelessly at the annual plant sale, and recruiting many of our current members. She has been the liaison with the King Hooper Mansion and organized many of our holiday decorating projects there, as well as hosted the hands-on decorating workshops in her home.

Sue and her husband, Dick, are moving to be near family in the Portland, Maine, area. She is maintaining her membership status in the Driftwood Garden Club and we look forward to seeing her at future club events.

Sue, from your many appreciative friends in the garden club…we wish you the best of luck and many blossoms in your new gardening zone! 

Let It Rain!

The Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead welcomed both new members and familiar guests to our Annual Cocktail Party to kick off the 2021/2022 season. Held in the lovely gardens of our Vice President on a late September evening, the weather report predicted possible light showers. Ha!

And then the rain came.  Umbrellas went up and food was quickly covered before the skies opened up. In between rain bursts, we were rewarded with a double rainbow and golden light in the gardens.

The rain did not dampen our spirits. Driftwood Garden Club members are resilient if not waterproof! We enjoyed the food, drink, and camaraderie under the canopy backlit by torches, and we look forward to the coming year working and learning together.  

Founded in 1952, The Driftwood Garden Club will begin celebrating its 70th year as a community organization in 2022. To honor this milestone, the ‘Hugo spritz’ was served as our signature cocktail.

Driftwood Spritz Signature Cocktail

Recipe for one serving:

1 ounce elderflower syrup

2-3 ounces prosecco

1 ounce sparkling water (optional)

Mint leaves to garnish

Cheers to the Driftwood Garden Club!

Leaf Birdbaths at Long Hill

On a beautiful Saturday morning, 13 appropriately-attired Driftwood Garden Club members attended a leaf birdbath making workshop at Long Hill Reservation in Beverly. The grounds at Long Hill were just gorgeous, and several members remarked on a number of improvements made since their last visit. Members worked together in a shady outdoor workshop led by Long Hill’s Senior Horticulturist, Dan Bouchard. DGC members brought leaves from their own gardens and were shown how to first set the leaf on a mound of sand, and then to mold a sandy concrete mixture against the back of the leaf to make an imprint of the veining on the bowl of the birdbath. The birdbaths are currently drying and will look just beautiful in our gardens. This was such an enjoyable workshop!

2021 Annual Luncheon!

It was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting. Many thanks to Driftwood Garden Club member Andrea Gregory for hosting our annual lobster roll luncheon in her picture-perfect gardens.  We thank our outgoing President Barbie Saraceno for leading our club through the Covid-19 pandemic. And we look forward to sharing another successful year with the incoming Officers and new Program Chairs.