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!
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.
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!
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!