Spring Clean Up

Chester Garden Club cares for two community gardens, the Cove Garden and the Parade Square Garden. Because gardens gradually overgrow their spaces , decisions for changes are made.

Today members gathered to work on the plan to re-design the Chester Parade Square Garden. Shrubs and perennials have been either pruned or removed.

A new garden path has been installed for better garden access and viewing. The new plan implementation will continue throughout the sping season.

 

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Following the volunteer gardening work event, lunch and a social gathering was enjoyed at Sylvia’s.

 

Thanks to everyone.

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Posted in Community Service, Garden Clubs, Garden Design, Gardening

Spring in Cuba

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Many gardeners take late winter or early spring vacations in countries where weather is warmer. Cuba is one of those  recovering from last falls hurricane. Those who have committed both time and energy deserve congratulations. Resorts were devastated and are now operating as well as completing repairs or reconstruction.

Click on any picture for slide show:

 

Birds are returning to their usual habitats

 

 

The plant life is also showing how nature copes with unexpected changes and challenges.

Congratulations to all of the Caribbean communities who smile as they continue to pick up their lives.

 

Posted in Birds, Environmental issues, Flowering shrubs, Gardening, Nature's Designs, Seasons, Wildlife

The Secret Life of Plants

 

How Plants Work

 

 

At our 1st meeting of 2018, held Monday evening, March 19th, we were treated to an entertaining and very informative presentation by horticluturalist and member Dave Adams on the secret life of plants. 

 

 

He distributed tree cores and various leaves that added considerable punch to his presentation. To some of the 18 members present, he sparked memories reminiscent of happy high-school biology classes.

 

 

Dave taught or reminded us how plants work, reminding us that what we do makes a difference.

If we over fertilize there is a greater concentration of salts around the roots and we have x osmosis.

If we leave our plants root laying in the sun the root hairs die and the plant must replace them before the plant can provide food for growth.

If we ring bark a stem our plant can no longer feed itself.

If we want to move our plant in warm weather we can temporally block the stomatal pores with an anti transparent until the roots and stem are back in balance.

Cambium heals pruning wounds if we cut around the abscission layer.

 

 

 

In closing, we were reminded that our garden plants are wonderful structures that take these basic principles and adjust and modify them to help them tolerate all kinds of climates and conditions.

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Thanks Dave…

Posted in Gardening, Perennials, Seasonal chores, Spring

Are you Winter-Weary ?

 

In March the winter-weary world begins to awaken from its long rest. Now the remnants of winter are washed away by what is often to referred to as the “tides of March”.

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In every pond, lake, river and stream, the water that was frozen a month ago begins to thaw and flow again. In our gardens frost rises to the surface and the earth ooses underfoot. In every tree and shrub, that vital fluid known as sap begins to rise, and as a result, buds begin to swell. We don’t see or hear sap rising but it’s there. In small plant growth or a towering tree, leaves, color and syrup are being produced.

 

It is a time of observation, preparation and anticipation as we look forward to another gardening season.

For our garden club, March is also a time to end our winter break and begin regular meetings. Watch for news under the categories: Current Activities, Annual Gardeners Sale, & Annual Flower Show and Tea. There will be many opportunities to learn, support and participate, enjoying varied garden club activities.

 

 

Posted in Annual Gardener's Sale, Community Service, Community tea party, Floral arrangements, Flower Show, Garden Clubs, Gardening, Spring

Spring Blossoms

Do you want to force a branch?

Coincidentally, late winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees and large shrubs. We usually head out into the yard with pruners in hand starting in late February or early March. We get a jump-start on our pruning along with an early gift of spring color inside our house. We prune our trees and shrubs for shape and to remove crossing branches and old or diseased wood. From the wood we have cut off the plant we can select branches for forcing that are less than 1/2 inch in diameter and cut them to the desired length.

Many ornamental trees and shrubs set their flower buds during the previous growing season. These buds will usually come out of dormancy after two to three weeks of being exposed to warmth and moisture.

 

 

Forsythia, pussy willow, quince, cherry, apple, peach, magnolia, are all good candidates.

 

Choose branches that have lots of buds and put them in water as you work. After bringing the branches inside, fill a sink with very warm water—as hot as you can stand it without scalding your hands. Very warm water is important because it contains the least amount of oxygen. If oxygen gets into the stems it can block water from being taken up, thus preventing hydration.

 

041083045-02_xlgHold the stems underwater and recut them at a severe angle an inch or two above the original cut. The stems will quickly absorb the water. Arrange the branches in your vase, which should be filled with warm water so the ends are submerged. Place in a cool room or if you want the process to go more quickly in a warmer room. At this time of year, it may take only a few days for pussy willow to bloom and look their best. Forsythia takes a few days more and the other varieties can take up to several weeks.

 

 

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It is very satisfying to sit and observe the daily progress of buds as they swell and burst open bringing a bit of spring blossom inside.

 

Posted in Floral arrangements, Forsythia, Gardening, Seasons, Spring, Star magnolia | 3 Comments

Pepe

The author of a blog post I follow lives in California and I enjoy reading his blogs, mainly about gardening, as he is a horticulturalist. Today he wrote about his “adventure” with Pepe, the skunk. Since we sometimes have unwanted encounters with both racoons and skunks and with his permission I have reposted.

Tony Tomeo

P80304Coons are not much of a problem in the garden; but they can be a problem around the home. They scatter trash, eat dog and cat food, and can be dangerous to dogs and cats. They get into places we do not want them, including basements, attics, and even our homes. Once inside, they can cause significant damage.

That is why they sometimes need to be trapped. No one wants to do it, but it is sometimes necessary.

One problem that we did not consider when putting out a trap for a coon who was getting into the trash was that we might not actually catch the offending coon. Actually, not catching the coon was not as much of a problem as who we caught instead.

Pepe got to the trap first.

Pepe was none too happy about it.

Neither were we.

You see, Pepe, who is difficult to see…

View original post 548 more words

Posted in Gardening | 1 Comment

It’s February and our gardens are alive !

 

Our garden plants are still dormant, waiting for spring. But there is life in and around our gardens right now.

 

 

Are Your Pruners as Sharp as mine ?
Do you ask yourself:

When do I prune my plants ?  How do I do it ?  What result am I hoping to achieve ?

A general rule of thumb is to prune out dying, diseased, damaged or dead as you see it. The other times, pruning is usually done for training, restricting, balancing or creating a pattern of growth, controlling flower and fruit quality & maintaining plant health and are season and plant dependant. The times chosen are late winter when things are dormant, spring as buds emerge & pruning following spring bloom. There are many books & on line sites/blogs that describe methods for pruning trees and shrubs. Also, closer to home, many garden clubs have members who have horticultural backgrounds or life long experience who are willing to give a little coaching.

 

 

Grasses, Perrienels and shrubs with seeds that have been left for the birds can be cut back just before new growth .

 

 

In the meantime, while waiting, enjoy the warmth in the February sunshine and have a look at the critters who are reminding us that we can learn a lot from the plants and critters in our gardens. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have wierd names and all are different in color, shape and size, but they all live in and contribute to the beauty in the same community.

 

Listen. You will hear the song sparrow soon.

Posted in Birds, Deer, Environmental issues, Gardening, Seasons, Wildlife | 2 Comments