Covid-19 Season Contemplations and Garden Pictures

Essay by Margaret Bowen

Staying-at-home this spring has provided a rare opportunity to work with my husband on our property.  Normally a regular on the golf course, he has been present every day and had the time to explore with me the needs of our plantings and to enjoy their beauty.  With the pent-up energy born of being housebound, we have both attacked with relish the pruning of overgrown Roses of Sharon, yews, holly and forsythia.  Chopping away at the limbs was so satisfying to my husband that he cut down a 12-foot tall witch hazel to a mere three feet!

It was also possible to protect our tulips from a bumper-crop of rabbits by spraying rabbit repellent and by covering them with prickly holly branches.  Sightings of our local woodchuck/groundhog have been frequent.  A coyote passed through the backyard one morning in search of its prey.  Then we removed two huge yews and discovered a nest of baby bunnies.  Yikes!

It’s been a time of re-attunement with nature.

Photo Credits

Pictures courtesy of Margaret Bowen: In the first picture there are roses and rose campion in the foreground with sedum and candytuft on the rocks.  In the background center are rhodies and on the far right is a rosa glauca shrub (flat flower), lemon thread shrub & catmint. In the second photo the white flowered shrub is deutzia ‘niko’, the blue is baptisia and behind are a barberry and a golden spirea.

Pictures courtesy of Janice Daley: Oh, the bunnies! Oh, the bees!

Picture courtesy of Barbara Tatum: The bright blue plant mid-photo is Pulmonaria “Trevi Fountain” blooming with Woodland Phlox “May Breeze” (I hope the phlox comes back! It was new in spring 2020.) The coral bells are “Pink Fizz.”

Plant This With That, January 2021 Virtual Meeting via Zoom

A 90-minute presentation to 50-some garden club members covered six garden scenarios  comprising more than 70 perennials, shrubs and bulbs, kicking off the first DCG program of 2021. The Jan. 12 event was hosted by President Barbie Saraceno on Zoom; she reported that 26 people from the Cottage Gardeners Club accepted DGC’s invitation to the event.

The evening’s speaker was landscape designer Laura Bibler, whose firm, In the Garden, LLC, is based in West Newbury, Mass. Her “Plant This with That” lecture covered plant selection, design, and cultural requirements. The talk offered the audience a comprehensive and rich gardening lesson. Although focused on plant pairing, as her title suggested, Laura reminded her listeners of the multiple factors that determine a successful garden.

For example, she pointed out that since plants are typically purchased in bloom, it’s tempting to forget their appearance will change dramatically from the beginning to the end of the season. Knowing the different iterations of a plant helps to ensure pairings work well over several months.

Thanks to a handout distributed to attendees by Program Chair Sarah Bates, this spring gardeners will be able to plan their own full-sun to full-shade gardens and those in between using the suggested combinations. Some examples were goatsbeard and hosta, Russian sage and phlox, and red twig dogwood and boxwood.

The event was a hugely valuable lesson. Gardening fundamentals like sun exposure as the deal breaker and the rule of planting in odd numbers were interspersed with the West Newbury designer’s advice and observations. Use certain tall blue irises for their significant foliage rather than for their transient flowers. Cut back ‘Becky’ daisies three times for repeat blooming. Go to the public website for Van Berkum Nursery, Deerfield, NH, for excellent information. Laura said it has the best perennials but sells only on a wholesale basis.

Acer palmatum diss.atropurpurem Crimson Queen’ (Laceleaf Japanese Maple),
Deutzia gracillis Nikko’ (Deutzia), Cotoneaster dammeri Coral Beauty’ (Cotoneaster)
Piceapungens Glauca Globosa’ (Global Blue Spruce), & Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’

A recording of the Zoom presentation is available at the DCG website in the ‘Member’ section through January 2021.

P.S. Additional notes from ‘Plant This With That’ Presenter Laura Bibler

The wholesale perennial nursery I spoke of is Van Berkum in Chester, New Hampshire.  This link will bring you directly to the plant information page:  http://www.vanberkumnursery.com/perennial-photos-catalog/.  Another good source for information on trees and shrubs is Millican Nursery, also in New Hampshire.  They sell only wholesale, but their website’s plant index is open to the public.  This link will bring you to that page:  http://www.millicannurseriesinc.com/plant-index.aspx. The bulb catalog website is https://www.johnscheepers.com/.  Again, they have a wealth of information on their site.  In addition to the two nurseries that I mentioned, Lake Street Nursery (in Salem, NH, nice selection of Roses too) and Russell’s Garden Center (in Wayland, far for you!), Corliss Brothers and Wolf Hill typically have a good selection of perennials.  
There was a question about pruning Hydrangea quercifolia.  Would you let your club know that the flowers are formed on the previous year’s growth, so it should be pruned after flowering.  

Season’s Greetings 2020!

The Driftwood Garden Club wishes you Peace, Love, Hope, and Joy during this Holiday Season.  Since we can’t have a Holiday House Tour due to Covid19, please share some pictures with us.  Stay warm, stay safe, stay healthy!  Happy New Year 2021!

Gifts from The Sea at the King Hooper Mansion– December 2020

For over ten years the Driftwood Garden Club has collaborated with other garden clubs in Marblehead to decorate the historic King Hooper Mansion, home of the Marblehead Arts Association, for the holiday season.

This year talented DGC members Laurie Boggis and Ginny von Rueden designed and installed the display in the first-floor dining room. Their ‘Gifts From The Sea’ silver-themed décor includes fallen branches, driftwood, starfish, sea urchins, shells, beach stones, and hermit crabs found on Cape Cod. Foliage sprays include different types of artemisia, dried cow parsley, and rose hips…wired together and sprayed silver. The ‘Gifts From The Sea’ display is gorgeous!

Please join the preview of holiday décor on Friday, December 4th, 2020, from 5-7 PM to enjoy all the decorated rooms, current MAA art exhibits, and see some of your gardening friends!

Your Body In The Garden

The Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead’s November 2020 meeting was a robust Zoom presentation by Susan Guest entitled “Your Body in the Garden.” Susan, who has a background in physical fitness, highlighted practical information to keep us injury-free while we work in the garden. We all know gardening can be demanding on the body. She showed us a variety of ergonomic tools to bring more awareness to our posture, improve our strength and flexibility, and avoid muscle strain. Don’t forget your wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen! She also emphasized the importance of enjoying the experience, and walking barefoot on your grass to connect with nature.  As always, our meeting was a time for us to learn valuable information and to reconnect with fellow garden club members.

Putting Your Garden To Bed

On a crisp fall morning, two groups of Driftwood Garden Club members gathered at the homes of Ginny Von Rueden and Margaret Bowen for practical demonstrations on putting our gardens to bed for the winter.  Many thanks to speakers Kathy Bradford, Ginny Von Rueden, and Laurie Boggis.  We learned which plants to bring inside, which to cut back now and which to leave until spring. According to speaker Kathy Bradford, “If it is yellow or brown, cut it down. If it is green, leave it alone!”  We also discussed cleaning our tools at the end of the season: wash your tools, then dry and coat with a light layer of linseed or mineral oil to prevent rust.  Putting your garden to bed is a process over several months, and will result in less spring cleanup and healthy plants to enjoy next year!

Who Are These Masked Gardeners?

The Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead found a creative solution when their annual plant sale was cancelled due to the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. Wearing face masks and maintaining social-distancing guidelines, members dug and divided plants in their yards, then listed those plants available to other members. Members virtually shopped for a special plant, and arranged for socially-distanced pickup. This member-only plant sale fostered camaraderie and hope for a healthy future in the spring of this pandemic time.

March 2020 Welcoming Native Plants and Insects to your Garden

Driftwood Garden Club members welcomed author and speaker Rebecca Warner to our March 2020 meeting at Abbot Public Library. Rebecca’s ‘Sustainable Enough’ philosophy recommends making environmentally-friendly changes when and where we can. Seek to add native plants and let fallen leaves stay over the winter to provide food and habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators. She recommends the Missouri Botanical Garden website to search for information on a plant’s native range, height, bloom time, leaf, sun and water requirements.  Ms. Warner signed copies of her book “The Sustainable Enough Garden” for our members to purchase.

January 2020 Confessions of a Garden Fanatic

At the January 2020 Driftwood Garden Club meeting, self-described garden fanatics Linda and Fred Lipton delighted us with their presentation of creating formal gardens behind their Greek revival home in Salem, MA.

Along with their family, these avid ‘do-it-yourselfers,’ laid all the bricks in their driveway, leveled their narrow yard, and double-dug all the garden beds. Linda meticulously measured, planned and designed multiple ‘rooms’ to craft the formal space in a cool color palate.  Linda repeated the design elements of ovals and diamonds, even in her fabulous She Shed windows!

Their backyard garden was featured in the 2018 summer issue of North Shore Home Magazine, see https://www.nshoremag.com/northshore-home/salems-secret-garden/  for pictures.

Welcome to new member Susie Raviv.  And many thanks to DGC hostesses Pal Bickford, Sue McMullen, and Andrea Gregory for the tasty treats and libations, and the stunning floral arrangement.