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:  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: The bulb catalog website is  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!

Wreaths for Seniors

Twenty-seven DCG members created one-of-a-kind wreaths for seniors in the Bagged Lunch Program at the Council on Aging (COA). For the past five years, members have worked together at the COA, but this year the task was performed at homes because of COVID-19 protocols. These constraints didn’t slow down our dear members: they picked up bare wreaths, decorated them beautifully, and then delivered them to COA for distribution.

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!

Gardens: A Refuge in the Pandemic

Last spring we asked members to submit reflections on how our gardens help us cope with the isolation we may feel due to the Covid-19 virus. We received several responses which will be posted during the next few months. The submission from Harriet Magee below is perfect for Thanksgiving.

With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s time to thank our gardens for keeping us somewhat sane through the pandemic. Unlike nearly every other aspect of our lives since last winter—working, shopping, socializing, volunteering, taking classes—gardening has allowed us to experience real, not virtual, life. So much of the pandemic has seemed like a delusion. Efforts to bypass the terror of catching COVID 19 have driven some to spraying and wiping groceries and quarantining trick or treat candy. Such efforts seemed nutty and like whistling in the dark. People seemingly aren’t satisfied with the droplet theory of transmission, which has held its own over these long months.

Let’s celebrate that our gardens didn’t need to get cancelled, Zoomified, sanitized. Instead, as always, we dealt with poor dirt, weeds, the odd groundhog, and the endless rocks the New England soil never stops gifting. We produced lots of beauty and happiness using the same old tools and techniques. And we’re planning on making next year’s garden finally perfect. Or almost.

Meanwhile, should the desperate hope for a vaccine in the second quarter prove naïve, we’ll need to remember that the low-grade loneliness and boredom the pandemic has infected us all with has a powerful antidote. Come April and May, we’ll not need to social distance in our gardens. Unmasked, we can get real close to our beloved plants, and open up our needy, lonely selves to green shoots in the brown dirt.

The two photos are of Harriet’s garden.

If you would like to submit reflections on how your garden restored your spirit during the past months please send your thoughts to:

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.

Halloween Snow

Snow arrived early this year, in time to decorate the Abbot gardens for Halloween; or provide picture perfect images for Christmas cards. With often ignored details outlined in new ways and limbs hanging heavy, the spaces become magical. Luckily the temps over the next few days will melt the snow and we will once again be greeted with the normal late fall views.

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!