The late spring and absence of the usual apple blossoms didn’t slow down members preparations for the annual Chester Gardener’s Sale held on May 25th at the old train station.
Our clubs annual fund-raising gardener’s sale, with proceeds going to Club activities and two garden parks in the village attracted the usual faithful group of full time residents and seasonal visitors alike who enjoy finding special treasures.
On display, a raffle (the draw will be at the annual meeting in the fall) this year, was our gift from friend and artist Maria Kuttner. Maria has kindly donated her rendition of our annual event. Along with greeting cards this will help raise funds for our clubs annual commitments.
Featured again this year were a wide variety of perennials from members gardens along with many plants and accessories for the garden brought in by commercial vendors. Other surprise items, providing more variety were “gently used” garden tools ready for sharpening at “the Blade Runner” who was on site and a wide variety of gardening books.
Marion’s “coffee and muffins” were a warm-me-up addition on the sunny, cool day, a welcome change from the frequent wet weather during May.
Now that this once-a-year sale is over, the countdown is on for at home gardening, community gardening, garden tours, flowers shows and summer gatherings.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Hold 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.
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.
June 19th was a special meeting at the Chester Garden Club. We were able to honour one of our long time dedicated members, Herb Fraser with “Outstanding Member of The Year”. He was very surprised but pleased with the award. Well deserved for all of the work he has done preparing and taking care of so many important gardens in the village.
Following the presentation, Nancy Guest wowed us with her display of window boxes and gardening for seniors. She had three displays. One window box for the shade, another for the full sun. Her selection of plants were delightful. They varied in texture and lots of colour. Her wooden ladder garden or porch display was a combination of flowering pots, ornamental bird houses and potted greens.
Lunches are always a delight and usually incorporate a little arranging
each month. Thank you Myra for these additions to the table.
Thanks to Jocelyn and Jayne for the pictures and content for this post.
Earth Day was first launched in the United States in 1970 as an environmental awareness event, and is now celebrated world-wide. By a happy coincidence, this year Earth Day fell on April 22nd, the day designated by Chester Garden Club for a spring clean-up of the two public gardens in our village. Answering the call for volunteers, about two dozen members showed up and contributed their gardening skills in service to the environment in this one small corner of the globe.
The following gallery reflects the morning’s activities, which included spreading mulch, pruning and weeding at the beds in the Cove Garden and Parade Square, as well as socializing at a luncheon that followed, where all hands were offered delicious home-made squash soup and other treats. The photos were taken by Jocelyn and Joan. Unfortunately, Joan wasn’t able to maintain the chronological sequence of shots when creating the gallery so, enjoy the images as a media melange.
Earth Day Canada is a national environmental charity founded in 1990, with the aim of fostering and celebrating environmental respect, action and behaviour change that lessens our impact on the earth. Members of the Chester Garden Club joined over 1 billion people in over 170 countries by staging their clean-up on April 22nd. Not all the club’s volunteers could be rounded up for the photo below but their work was much appreciated.
Early March finds many gardeners beginning to create visions of the splendid displays they hope to achieve in this year’s garden. Of course, there are some who take a different approach to planning a garden. As syndicated humorist Dave Barry puts it: ” Your first job is to prepare the soil. The best tool for this is your neighbor’s garden tiller. If your neighbor does not own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”
Obsession may not be too strong a term to describe the fervor of these folk who, fed up with looking out at snow-covered shrubs, curl up with their seed catalogues and dream of what could be. In the thrall of lavishly illustrated garden books, they somehow repress memories of the extent of work required last year. But, as Lou Erickson has noted: “Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration.”
” No garden is without its weeds,” observed Thomas Fuller, and a throng of other gardeners concur!
Another observation that rings true is: “A garden is never so good as it will be next year”; this, from Thomas Cooper, a wise man who obviously speaks from experience. Of course there’s also the familiar refrain, “you should have seen it last week,” (anonymous, but widely quoted). Then there’s the perennially perceptive adage, “God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done,” by another old favourite – Author Unknown.
But the most reliable of all these observations, corroborated by years of personal experience is: “Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise. “ – Michael P. Garafalo
Looking into the near future, Garden Club members are reminded that the aptly-named Iris Burke will be guest speaker on March 18 to help guide us in our planning for this year’s gardening.