Month: August 2010

Cove Garden Gets a Trim

Cove Garden Gets a Trim

In a summer that has produced a steady supply of sunny weather, it’s been hard to find a day that is pleasantly cool for garden chores and, August 29th, scheduled as a clean-up day for the Cove Garden, had to be one of the hottest. Nevertheless, seven hardy members of Chester Garden Club turned out to tackle the weeding, edging and pruning needed to put the garden back in shipshape condition.

As usual, Myra brought large sacks to cart away the debris and take it home for composting.

The rose bed along the top of the sea wall is looking in good shape but the cotoneasters, planted with the aim of having a low ground cover around the rosebushes, were once again victims of sea surges and had to be dug out. The Trustees are now considering replacing them with hardy vines that can grow over the stones and soften the look at the edge of the seawall.

Knee pads came in handy for many of the gardeners who found themselves getting down and dirty while weeding under the overgrown roses that border the garden on the roadside.

The application of good compost last spring had a beneficial effect on the many weeds that were lurking among the roses and azaleas. Aside from the usual culprits (sheep’s sorrel, plantain and buttercup), several larger “volunteers” had to be cut out from the shrubbery.

Accumulated piles of weeds and cuttings were gathered into bags for future composting.

With only a few more feet to tidy along the edge of the path, the volunteers took a moment to admire the neat and attractive garden space that is the Cove Garden, a property owned and maintained by the Club and open to anyone who enjoys strolling through, or sitting on one of the benches while reflecting on the charm of a seaside setting.
Garden Party

Garden Party

The Club’s traditional summer social event was an enjoyable garden party, held on a sunny afternoon in mid-August. This year’s host was Margaret White, whose garden provided a lovely setting for the members who had hung up their gardening overalls in favour of more appropriate tea-drinking attire.

Bloom Day North in August

Bloom Day North in August

Lots of sunshine and little rain this summer have been a great combo for sailors and tennis players; not so much for gardeners. Many plants bloomed earlier than usual and there are fewer blooms to choose from on this Bloom Day. Fortunately there are still the old reliables like Explorer roses and various hostas that stand up to any weather. Rudbekias and a few day lilies are also holding their own. One late-comer in your blogger’s garden is a Ligularia; the flower heads would not win any beauty contest but the large heart-shaped leaves make a bold statement in the garden.

The two photos that follow came from Sandy Dumaresq, who has contributed a number of images to previous Bloom Day North collections. The lovely Annabelle hydrangea has produced copious blooms that lighten up the edge of the wood.

The arching branches of a crab apple weighted down with its fruit is a perfect frame for the serene setting in this corner of Sandy’s garden.

Sprucing up the Parade Square

Sprucing up the Parade Square

On a holiday Monday, a few days after producing the Annual Flower Show and Tea, volunteers from the Chester Garden Club were out in force to prune and weed the Parade Square Garden, making it look spiffy for Race Week. This garden is close to one of the gates of the Chester Yacht Club and thus becomes part of the scene for visiting sailors during the summer. Members of the Garden Club felt it was their responsibility to tidy up the area in advance of the influx of visitors.

Pruning overgrown roses and digging up weeds, the group managed to complete the job within a couple of hours. Then ,with a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done, they posed for a group photo [taken by Sylvia McNeill].

The Club’s next event is a social occasion: the summer party, to be held on August 20 in East Chester. Details have been circulated to members.

More Flower Show Photos

More Flower Show Photos

As mentioned in the last blog, we are adding a few more photos taken at the Club’s Flower Show and Tea on July 29th. The shots below are a combination of photos by Brenda Hiltz and your blogger. Hiding behind the greenery that comprised part of The Veranda section (foliage only), Joan and Sheila were in a cheery mood despite the early hour. They were two of the volunteers on duty to receive and set out the various floral arrangements brought in by exhibitors between 8:00 and 10:00 AM on the morning of the show.

The composition below was from the section titled SunRoom which required inclusion of a water feature. In this case, a miniature waterfall with pebbles and floral surround created a soothing effect.

The children’s classes included categories using flowers or vegetables, with entrants ranging in age from under seven years to teenage. Lara Parsons’ two children were among the early entrants. Later, Lila Hume’s creation was designated winner of the Wilkin’s Cup (a new trophy, see below).

One of the most colourful sections in the design class was Party Time, which allowed exhibitors full scope to create bright and clever compositions as seen in the next three photos.

Nancy Guest received a painting as the award for the best use of roses in an arrangement. Sheila Knowlton-MacRury made the presentation.

As a former member of the Club, Peggy McAlpine returned to Chester to present the McAlpine Trophy for the best entry in the children’s class. This year’s winner was Louise Stimson. In her absence, her grandmother, Sylvia MacNeill, accepted the cup.

Despite the pressures of a busy day, Jane Wilkins is all smiles as she presides at the tea table. Shortly afterwards, during the presentation of trophies, Larry Wilkins inaugurated the first presentation of the Wilkins’ Cup, which has been donated by the family to encourage young people to take an interest in growing and arranging flowers.

Flower Show and Tea

Flower Show and Tea

In keeping with its long tradition, Chester Garden Club held another successful Flower Show and Tea this summer. The event dates back to the club’s earliest days and is a popular feature of summer in Chester. This year’s theme was All Through the House, which gave the organizing committee scope in dividing the design class into sectors such as “Living Room”, “Kitchen”, “Child’s Playroom” and “The Veranda”. The competition, open to members and the general public alike, brought in a large number of entries in both the design and specimen classes.

Jane Wilkins’ lovely arrangement for a dining room table won the Popular Choice award, the one prize that is voted on by all those who came to see the exhibits and enjoy the delicious tea.

All other awards were determined by qualified judges who based their decisions on the exhibitor’s adherence to the rules laid down for the competition as well as general elements of design composition. This award winner for the above arrangement was Myra Knight.

Organizers were at the Chester Legion before 8:00 AM on the morning of the show, to receive entries and help exhibitors fill out their tags correctly. Shown above are Brenda Hiltz (an exhibitor), Brenda Garland and Heather Mackinon (co-chairs), and Sheila Soestmeyer (committee).

A member puts a final touch to her entry on the specimen tables, which were aligned along the length of one wall and included sample blooms for about 30 varieties. The close-up below shows the range of sizes, from tiny sweet peas and nasturtiums to giant Asiatic lilies.

A long view of the hall provides a glimpse of the colourful arrangements that were received by the committee before 10:00 AM, at which time the hall was vacated to allow the judges to work uninterrupted.

Although it is impossible to show all of the entries in the design class, we are showcasing a few samples of the beautiful arrangements that can be done by amateur floral artists.

The section devoted to floral designs arranged in a teacup and saucer brought in 13 charming and delicate entries.

Of course, one of the draws is the actual Tea itself. Here we see one of the Club’s most venerable members, Maggie Copas, pouring tea for Margaret White who, among her other duties, was a volunteer server for the occasion.

The arrangement below was created by Myra Knight and won the Dudley Lees Trophy for the Best in Show.

And last, but most certainly not least, the success of the event was due in no small part to the unsung heroes who formed the kitchen team. Many of those volunteers were kept busy preparing plates of sandwiches and desserts, while others (hello, Alec and Robert) devoted their efforts to ensuring a steady supply of freshly washed cups and plates.

Because we expect to receive more photos from members who attended the event, we hope to post more images in the next few days.