Grandmother’s garden: many of us remember the lovely old-fashioned plants that grew in our grandmother’s garden, and those memories are often triggered by the familiar scent of certain fragrances that we once experienced in that garden. But what about Grandpa, you ask? Didn’t he enjoy growing pretty things too? Or was he content to let Grandma look after the flowers while he staked the beans and hoed the potatoes? Well, whatever the answer, today’s gardeners include women, men and children, all of whom can now enjoy both the benefits of modern hybrids and the charm of heritage plants.
To encourage gardeners of both genders as they gear up for another season, the Chester Garden Club has scheduled its Annual Gardener’s Sale for May 30th. In a nod to the fact that both the Village of Chester and Chester Garden Club are celebrating special anniversaries* this year, the Gardener’s Sale will have as its focus – Plants from our grandmothers’ gardens. Circle the date on your calendar as a reminder to come to the old train station for a good selection of old and new varieties of plants, as well as decorative and practical garden accessories.
The colourful poster above will soon be seen on notice-boards around the Chester area during the run-up to the sale. Members of the club and a large number of retailers are busy preparing their wares, and they look forward to greeting lots of shopping gardeners during a day of horticultural treats (and, usually, more than a few bargains).
* For those who haven’t heard, in 2009 the Village of Chester is celebrating the 250th anniversary of its founding; and the Garden Club, its 70th!
The Club’s April 20th meeting will feature Gail Logan, from “One Sky Now”, speaking on organic gardening and organic sculptures for your garden. The meeting will be held at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre in Chester, beginning at 7 pm. All members are encouragd to attend. Guests are welcome.
Members with any clean, plastic, garden pots to spare are asked to bring them to the April meeting. The pots are needed by the committee that is pottting up plants for the plant sale to be held in May.
For your calendar: At a meeting of the board of directors last week, plans were made to hold the annual clean-up of both the Cove Garden and the Parade Square garden on May 4th. All members are invited to volunteer their time and talents to this event, which includes the usual weeding and pruning required to groom the gardens at the start of the season. A light lunch will be served following the clean-up. Details to be circulated later.
Back in December 2006, Chester Garden Club undertook a risky mission to save a magnificent old magnolia that had been a much-loved feature of Chester for many years. The tree was about to be uprooted and discarded to make way for a new house that was to be built on a seaside property, and the owners were offering the club the opportunity to re-locate it. Unfortunately, this proposal came during the Christmas holidays, a difficult time of year for transplanting of any sort and the club had to act quickly within a very small window of time. Because the ground was not yet frozen, however, a team of volunteers using a small back-hoe managed to move the tree and get it established in its new location – the club’s own Cove Garden! Luckily, there was a fair amount of rain in the week that followed and then the winter snow blanketed the ground.
The following spring, the tree was nourished with a special seaweed emulsion and was provided with lots of water by club members who lived nearby. Members became encouraged at some signs of new life; a few buds that appeared on the tree developed into green shoots, and some blossoms opened on forced branches (which had been saved after pruning) but still the tree appeared to be struggling. On the advice of (and under the watchful eyes of) a local garden consultant, club volunteers then performed a major pruning operation to try to preserve what strength remained in the tree.
Throughout 2007, several members of the club acted as guardians, fertilizing and watering the tree on a regular basis. By the summer of 2008, however, it was clear that major surgery was required to preserve and redirect the tree’s energies A severe pruning then reduced the magnolia to a mere shadow of its former self. Optimistic members of the club have continued to hold on to their hope that the tree might recover but it will be the state of its health this spring, 2009, that will tell the tale.
As of April 11th, no growth is evident and the bare branches have enticed some village children to use it as a climbing post. We will be monitoring the magnolia closely for any signs of growth this spring before making any final decision as to its fate. Stay tuned!