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! 

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!

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.

Driftwood Garden Club Plant Sale 2021!

The sun was shining on the Driftwood Garden Club plant sale held at Abbot Public Library on Saturday, May 22, 2021. And according to DGC Treasurer Laurie Boggis, the sale was a financial success as well.  Customers filled their wagons with an assortment of healthy plants divided from local gardens, hanging planters, bright annuals, and herbs.  Hats off to the Ways and Means Committee for organizing an outdoor event with covid-19 safety restrictions in place.  Success! 

Please join us at the Driftwood Garden Club Plant Sale!

The Driftwood Garden Club’s annual plant sale features perennials, annuals, ground covers, and herbs, many from local gardens. Garden Club members will be on hand to answer questions and help select plants for your garden. The Driftwood Garden Club is an all-volunteer organization that manages and cares for the gardens at the Abbot Public Library. Proceeds from the sale are used to maintain and improve the library gardens. We hope to see you on Saturday 5/22!

It’s almost Driftwood Garden Club Plant Sale time!

Driftwood Ways & Means Committee member Joy Purdin’s creative and original sign!

Hats off to the Driftwood Garden Club Ways and Means Committee for their resourceful use of signage!

Hope to see you at Driftwood Garden Club’s Plant Sale on Saturday, May 22, from noon to 3 PM at the Abbot Public Library, 235 Pleasant Street, Marblehead.

2021 Museum of Fine Arts annual ‘Art in Bloom’ exhibit.

Two Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead (DGC) members participated in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) virtual edition of its 45th annual Art in Bloom exhibit, a festival that pairs art with floral interpretations created by New England-area garden clubs. This year’s exhibit was themed around artworks that tell the stories of women across the Museum’s collection.

Longtime DGC members Laurie Boggis and Ginny von Rueden created a floral arrangement representing their assigned painting ‘Ubi Girl from the Thai Region.’  The acrylic on canvas was painted in the Harlem Renaissance style by artist Lois Mailou Jones in 1972. The artist was born and raised in Boston and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

According to designer Laurie Boggis, “the painting is large, 44 inches wide by 60 inches long. It is even more striking in person!”  Ginny states, “the strong imagery of the African face masks, which contrasted with the variety of exuberant colors, made a strong impression on us. Overlapping zigzag geometric shapes give movement and excitement to the theme of the painting. They bring to mind the flora and fabrics seen throughout Africa and represent the vitality of African women.”   

Laurie and Ginny were most struck by the ‘eyes’ featured in the painting, and much of their plant material has ‘eyes’ which are central to the theme of the painting.  The plant materials reflect the shapes and colors in the painting and are native to African countries, especially those of the artist’s heritage. Ginny says, “we wanted to give special attention to the alocasia, often referred to as ‘African mask’ because it replicates the shape and features of the girl’s face. The protea blossoms reflect the orange, round qualities of the two masks. And red and pink gerberas are a happy nod to the mix of these colors in the background.”

Laurie found the perfect container, which was handmade in Ghana. The container complements the arrangement, not only because it is made of African cedar wood, but also for its protruding zigzag shapes and striking blue color.

This painting has a special place in Ginny’s heart since she has lived in several African countries and visited others like South Africa, where she co-founded a partnership between Old North Church in Marblehead and a community in KwaZulu, home of the Zulu people. Laurie and Ginny both agree that floral designers form a strong connection to the piece of art they interpret in Art in Bloom. Congratulations to Laurie and Ginny!


Driftwood Garden Club members Laurie Boggis and Ginny von Rueden created a striking floral arrangement representing the acrylic painting “Ubi Girl from the Thai Region” by artist Lois Mailou Jones for the 2021 Museum of Fine Arts virtual Art in Bloom exhibit.