Month: July 2015

Heather on the Heights

Heather on the Heights

Jill Colville from the Annapolis Valley (www.bunchberry charmed us all Monday June 15th with pictures of rolling hills of heather located both in Scotland and its namesake Nova Scotia (New Scotland). She spoke of heaths as well. Do you know the difference? Most heaths bloom in the spring and heathers do the same in summer. At Bunchberry Nurseries in Upper Clements, she handles 50-60 cultivars of the over 600 varieties.

Heaths have the distinction of providing the first flowers for pollinators—even earlier than crocuses! Why plant heaths and heathers? She explained that they can provide diversity, bloom from February to October with foliage that weaves a tapestry of colour.

She proved it in pictures. We saw burgundy, salmon, purple, orange, white and various shades of pink or almost red.   Varieties can fit into any size garden with minimal maintenance. You can’t beat that. As a relative of the blueberry, they prefer full to half sun as well as acidic soil–perfect for Nova Scotia, right? Jill suggested companion plantings of conifers, rhododendrons and junipers, among others. Ornamental grasses, such as blue fescue, add soft texture to heather landscapes.

Jill cautioned that heathers newly planted can lose moisture in March with the hotter sun. Once wilted, they won’t recover. Be sure to keep them watered and covered with boughs. Don’t be afraid to prune them in April to sheer off last year’s flowers. She capped off her remarks by directing the members to three tables with heathers for sale. Irresistible!

Flower Show Practice

Flower Show Practice

This month’s meeting, Monday, July 20th, started early with a tour of Stewart M.’s charming garden. Please see the gallery below for some digital glimpses. Our regular club meeting concentrated on practice–practice making new designs. Members Myra K., Sydney S. and Jane W. lent their expertise to inspire us all to create floral arrangements with flair. Myra reviewed traditional mass designs and introduced us to the modern mass.

Characteristics of Traditional Mass Design

  • Generally a geometric shape
  • Stems radiating from a central point
  • Flowers equally distributed throughout the design
  • Smaller flowers (transitional) placed between larger ones with spaces between.
  • Design size approximately one to one and one half that of the largest dimension of the container.

Myra emphasized that this design type is already well known to CGC members.

Characteristics of Modern Mass Design

  • Bold containers in larger proportion than in Traditional design.
  • Few components in large forms.
  • No elements of transition as in traditional design.
  • Design has a sculptural feel and relies on sharp contrast.
  • Plant material is grouped to form a mass of volume.
  • Materials do not intermingle.
  • The sculptural form is three-dimensional and incorporates space, positive and negative.
  • It is recommended to use only three to five different elements.

Sydney demonstrated the assembly of a Parallel design. (A design in which three or more groupings are placed in a parallel manner with open spaces between the groupings. Parallel direction may vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Design is in one container of containers combined so as to appear as one unit.

Jane W. concluded by encouraging members to try their hand at cup and saucer designs which this year takes on a new tack—a design using a tea cup, not necessarily a design inside a tea cup. Be sure to check out the Show Schedule to decide which designs you intend to enter.

New this year as well — We have been asked to make our “reservations” for our entries to ensure space will be available.

The evening was capped off by another beautiful design—our snack table, ably fashioned by Joanne J. and Tom F.

Myra provided the following pictures of traditional and mass designs to aid you in your plant selections.  And, in case your missed it, enjoy the photo gallery of Stewart M.’s fabulous garden that we toured earlier in the evening.

Chester Train Station Gardeners’ Sale: Still Growing and Going After 9 Years

Chester Train Station Gardeners’ Sale: Still Growing and Going After 9 Years

Weather for this year’s sale proved to be the best in several years, although somewhat cool. Best of all, the blackflies didn’t appear to get the memo for our May 30th date, so sales remained as comfortable as they were brisk. Says, co-chair Herb F., “I was impressed with the quality of the member’s plants. Many were sold at our highest price table for $5.” He reported that community members use the event to mark the beginning of summer here in Chester. “Some of the summer residents even time their return to the sale itself.” As Herb steps down from organizing the event, Jayne C. and Esther A. plan to take up the challenge for next year slated for May 28, 2016. Says Jayne, “I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Herb this year. I realize now that there is a great deal to consider when planning this event. I met many of the vendors and they all felt that the day was worth their efforts in sales and exposure. The plants were very healthy and very reasonable in price.” Lots of comments ensued from members: “Everyone enjoyed it,” “Good atmosphere–everyone chatted away,” and best of all, “We had fun!” Perhaps the following pictures express the day’s event best.

Club Virtual Garden Tour

Club Virtual Garden Tour

Recently, we were invited to enjoy an actual tour of some member gardens.  In case you missed it, here is a virtual tour of even more. May they delight and inspire you!  By the way, if you are experiencing deer/rabbit problems, Myra K. recommends you apply this mixture that works for her:

Into 1L of water, blend 1 egg, ½ c. milk, 1 T. cooking oil, 1 t. dish soap. Place this mixture into 2 gallons of water. Then it’s ready to spray on vulnerable plants.