Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Horticulture

The Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the Print Shop Art Gallery on Courtsquare, Greenville.  Hosting the meeting were Vera White and Babs Gordon. Members and guests enjoyed delicious refreshment while wandering through the art gallery, meeting new members and chatting with old friends.

Presiding officer Sally Neal, club secretary, thanked Linda Wilburn for making the art gallery available to the group for the meeting. Wilburn gave a brief summary of the second streetscapes project.  Construction should begin this winter and sidewalk pavers will once again be available for purchase.  Many have asked about this unique fundraiser and have wanted to have a chance of leaving a permanent memorial or mark on the sidewalks of Greenville.

Wilburn also explained the future plans for Hill Brothers Store. The designer’s blueprints were shown to the club and the ladies found the planned addition for its east side to be most exciting. “Watch the Progress, Catch the Vision” is the slogan on the poster for the store, and it is indeed a unique facelift for downtown Greenville.

Former Merry Weather Garden Club president Mary Anne Rasmussen joined the meeting to lead the Botanical Talk which was Winter Horticulture. Some of the winter plants that were blooming and brought in from local yard were on display: jonquils or narcissus, spirea, mahonia, winter jasmine, flowering quince, vinca, iris, blooming rosemary, Carolina Jasmine, camellia, and Daphne. Members had questions about the care, pruning, and fertilizing of the various plants and of course each of the plants displayed were available because the deer did not find them particularly appetizing! Toots Hobson noted that the Columbus Ledger recently had an article about the new mahonia that is relatively thorn free.

Members were encouraged to enter their horticultural exhibits in the upcoming Southeastern Garden Show.

The January meeting was a “Show and Tell” program featuring the flower in art. Neal introduced the topic by pointing out that in our early civilizations there is not much remaining featuring flowers.  Cave drawings depict primitive man and beasts, the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans focused more on people, architecture, and graphics.  Back grounds in paintings exploded in the 18th century and Neal displayed Fragonard’s “The Swing” before moving forward to the Impressionists: Van Gogh’s Irises, Monet’s Giverny, and Renoir’s bouquets were stunning.  Members remembered in the 1980s when Irises sold for 84 million dollars.

Members brought favorite pieces that traveled easily on the wet and windy winter day. Dee Garrett displayed stationery she bought in Maine as well as a copper cross with dogwood blossoms and groupings of twelve leaves symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel. Menlia Trammel had a fabric sample and she along with several members confessed to loving fabric stores especially drapery and upholstery fabrics and looking through floral items with their varying textures and colors.

Marilyn Austin Carter brought two of her stunning whimsical birdbaths that feature water lilies.  She explained how she made them and gave the rocks texture by either making little holes with a toothpick or by pressing lace into the clay to give it texture.  She also had glass flowers made from scraps of colored glass.  The kiln melts the colors to create wonderful patterns. Mary Anne Harman brought a 1930s crewel sampler of an English cottage and garden.

Sallie Mabon displayed some prized pieces of painted china: A teapot with pink roses and camellias and a brooch made from broken china. Vera White brought s stitched crewel piece that she found at an estate sale that displayed a basket of arranged flowers. Mary Beth Tsoukalas brought a painting on rice paper of a mason jar filled with daffodils that she found in an antique store.

Ellen McEwen brought a painting that wowed the group: a still life done by her Aunt Dorothy Gay Poole.  Aunt Dot has done the official portraits of Newt Gingrich, the presidents of Georgia Tech, and the portraits we see of the Gay family at the Cotton Pickin’ Fair.

The club members had a last reminder of it being the time to prune roses and move any shrubs. Members signed up to host club meetings. Neal shared her copy of “Portico” a regular publication from Hills and Dales that lists their upcoming workshops. Several members have participated in the workshops there and found them exemplary and superb. Neal noted that Brooks Garcia is designing the display for Hills and Dales that will be at this year’s Southeastern Flower Show in March.