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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.
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Driftwood Garden Club 70th Anniversary in the news!

The Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead proudly celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1952. Please take a few minutes to watch our current president Ginny von Rueden’s interview with James Maroney, Marblehead Community Media & Access, Inc. marbleheadtv.org

The story will air on this week’s Marblehead TV Headline News beginning Friday, June 24. Don’t miss it!

Here’s the link, enjoy!

James Maroney, Marblehead Community Media & Access, Inc. marbleheadtv.org. interviews Driftwood Garden Club President Ginny von Rueden.
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Driftwood Garden Club Annual Luncheon 2022!

After a busy year of educational programs, a successful Plant Sale, maintaining the gardens at the Abbot Public Library, and working in our own gardens, members of the Driftwood Garden Club relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company at our Annual Luncheon in June. The weather was delightful and our hostess’s garden was picture perfect. 

Our outgoing President recapped the year and welcomed the new Officers and Board of Director Members.

Our incoming President and Club Historian highlighted the 70Th Anniversary of the Driftwood Garden Club’s founding in 1952.  Happy Birthday to the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead!

Next year will be a year of transition as the library is renovated.  The DGC is flexible and committed to another civic project, whatever that may be.  Each member received a sentimental hosta plant, divided from hostas planted at the library many years ago.

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Driftwood Garden Club Plant Sale 2022!

Many thanks to all our fellow gardeners, friends, families, and neighbors who bought plants at the Driftwood Garden Club Plant Sale on 5/7/22. We loved seeing your smiling faces as you carefully chose plants for your own gardens or to give as gifts. Thanks so much for your support.

The selection of specialty plants, including double bloodroot and trillium, sold out quickly. Hanging baskets, annuals, herbs, and succulents were popular. Gardeners marveled at the variety of healthy ground covers, sun and shade perennials, as well as orchids and hand-crafted baskets for Mother’s Day gifts.

And it’s a Wrap! DGC members enjoying lunch at The Landing after the sale!

Hope to see you next year!

From our gardens to yours, we hope your Driftwood Garden Club plants continue to thrive!

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This is how we Dig and Divide!

In preparation for our annual Plant Sale on May 7, 2022, members of the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead grab their tools and head out to their gardens. We have several local ‘host’ gardens where members carefully divide various varieties of perennials.  We dig them, split into smaller sections, and then repot each plant in fresh potting soil.  Members clean up the host garden bed and replenish the soil. Then each member takes several plants home to water and nurture until the sale.

Please join us on Saturday, May 7th from 8:30 to 11:30 AM at the Masonic Hall, 62 Pleasant Street, Marblehead.  Come meet the DGC members and learn about the plants you purchase.  Also for sale are orchids, annuals, and other flowering plants perfect for Mother’s Day gifts!

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Divide and Conquer!

The Driftwood Garden Club’s April ’22 meeting was well attended at Abbot Public Library as well as on Zoom. Featured presenter was long-time DGC Civic Committee Chair Lisa Biggio, a Master Gardener and Horticultural Therapist. Lisa provided educational handouts, tools, and plenty of Sansevieria (now in genus Dracaena) plants for us to divide and replant in this hands-on meeting.

Lisa’s Tips to Divide & Conquer

Divide perennials to make healthier plants in our garden:

  • Divide when a plant looks good.
  • Start digging at the drop line.
  • Divide in cool weather.
  • Keep roots cool and moist.
  • Replenish soil with organic matter.
  • Use vigorous sections first.
  • Take extra care when plant is in bloom.
  • Keep only the healthiest pieces.
  • Spread out your divisions.
  • Let the roots be your guide.

These are a few of our favorite things!

Yes, Lisa has a favorite potting soil by Pro-Mix. Look for a high-quality soil mix containing peatmoss and perlite for moisture retention.

Here are Lisa’s favorite tools, which she cleans and disinfects with a mild bleach solution or “green” citrus cleaner after each use.

Opening a can of worms…

We continue to educate ourselves on invasive Asian jumping worms which have been identified here in Massachusetts. Jumping worms deplete the topsoil of nutrients and moisture. Lisa’s handout had good information and listed resources for additional material. The garden club will have a Master Gardener on hand at the plant sale to answer questions.

Next week starts Driftwood Garden Club’s big effort to dig and divide in host gardens around Marblehead as a source of plants for the plant sale.  We are getting ready for the Plant Sale! See you on Saturday, May 7 from 8:30-11:30 AM at the Masonic Hall, 62 Pleasant Street, Marblehead!

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Mindfulness in the Garden!

Mindfulness coach Michele Frank Schuckel speaks to Driftwood Garden Club members.

In March 2022, members of the Driftwood Garden Club walked down a different garden path (figuratively!) with our guest speaker Michele Frank Schuckel. Michele, who is a registered nurse, a mindfulness coach, and a master gardener, described gardening as a mindful activity. She touched on the things we can control and the things we can’t control, and gave us useful suggestions to practice. Among the many wellness choices for longevity and health for gardeners, we should strive to cultivate connections; exercise; grow and eat a rainbow of foods; hydrate; and rest.  She says, “feed your plants and your purpose.”

Wellness is health in mind and body. Wellness is having the tools to navigate the ups and downs of life. Wellness is self-compassion, and compassion for others. Wellness is being present in your life.

Ms. Schuckel suggests we all cultivate an attitude of gratitude with ourselves, with each other, and in our gardens!

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Designing Shady Retreats!

Designing a Shady Retreat photo courtesy of Joan Butler of Enchanted Gardens.

Many thanks to Joan Butler of Enchanted Gardens for the Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead’s well-attended January 2022 presentation on Zoom. Joan’s presentation of ‘Designing Shady Retreats’ has a wealth of ideas for those dappled spots in our yards.

Joan recommends many design techniques:

  • Make a color connection and choose companion plants with similar colors, or use companions on the opposite side of the color wheel.
  • Add balance to the design with fine textures, a variety of plant sizes, and use of solid foliage to offset variegated foliage.
  • Use layering and repetition to draw the eye to a focal point in the garden. Joan says, ‘where the eye leads, the feet will follow.’
  • Include rocks in the garden with a water feature, and to offer seating, and sense of structure.
  • Group plants in masses to be noticed from a distance.
Epimedium “Spring Wedding” photo courtesy of Joan Butler of Enchanted Gardens.
Bloodroot “Multiplex” photo courtesy of Joan Butler of Enchanted Gardens.

Joan Butler has been an enthusiastic gardener for over 30 years and believes gardens should invite you to linger in the world outside your door.  Please visit Enchanted Garden Design’s website at enchantedgardendesign.com for additional information on their design, speaking engagements, and guided tours of gardens and nurseries.

Shade border photo courtesy of Joan Butler of Enchanted Gardens.
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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! 

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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.