Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Thursday, April 18th, 2013, the Merry Weather Garden Club traveled to Pike County to join the Concord Garden Club for its 15th annual Lunch and Learn Garden Lecture Series. Held in the unique old Strickland Store, members enjoyed shopping at garden, book, and bakery vendors before lunch with members from Redbud District Garden Clubs and interested gardeners from our area.

Helen Phillips from Garden Solutions in LaGrange was the featured speaker and the program was on the topic of “Year ‘Round Color in the Landscape.” Year around color was not the only approach to landscaping however and she emphasized height variations, colors, texture, and scent to make an interesting garden.

Quoting from Walter Reeves and his “thriller, spiller, filler” line, Phillips pointed out ways to get height differences in the landscape. Color choices should be unique to the landowner and not a patchwork of all colors.  Red and orange are hot colors, and pastels like lavenders and pinks are the cool colors.  Gardeners know what makes them feel good and should plant according to that. She recommended touring Dr. Allen Armitage’s Trial Gardens at UGA and seeing how the different colors make you feel and what fits the gardener best.

Phillips said that texture in the garden makes the biggest difference of all because texture creates interest. To test for texture she said take black and white pictures of your garden and judge from them whether or not you have variations in texture.

Scent also makes a fabulous experience and the sense of smell is one of the most memorable of the senses. When the senses are engaged, the experience stays in the memory bank. Plants like anise, while pretty, smell like yesterday’s fish left in the sun. Pleasant fragrances come from tea olives, banana shrub, viburnum, scented geraniums, and ground covers like mint.

The basic landscape is evergreen but the homeowner can do better than just meatball shaped hollies surrounding the house’s foundation. Save pockets in the landscape for seasonal surprises: spring bulbs, summer dahlias, lilies, and liatrus, and in the fall spider lilies.

Considerations to use when you mix into the greens are the color of a plant’s bark, the shape of the twigs, the seed heads and whether they stay attached. Another consideration is to find out where plants come from and will do best: Martha Washington geraniums need shade not sun like most geraniums, a grey plant is typically a plant for sunny spots.

An important consideration is to adjust for the view: the garden from a favorite window, where guests drive in, focal points like fountains or sculpture, or from sitting on a porch. Coral bark Japanese maple is stunning in the winter when the leaves are gone.  Phillips asked Lynda Woodall to describe the maple to the crowd and Lynda said its red bark was amazing against the snow in winter and like a sculpture throughout the cold season.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick is a unique plant with its twisted, curly cue limbs and dangling catkins that make a statement in the garden. Florida Jasmine is great for a slope to provide help with soil erosion and a plus is the early winter bloom. Pieris or lily of the valley shrub blooms late in winter, has great burgundy new foliage with interesting seed heads. Variegated foliage like acuba adds texture and interest and today we have varieties with stripes or dots plus it is still a flower arrangers’ best friend.

Fatshedera is a great climber that needs to be used more. For texture Phillips said you can’t beat a creeping yew. Cast iron plant is a plant that adds texture and the speckled variety makes the plant more useful than for just circling a tree like once common. Holly ferns and autumn ferns are both great for texture as is the pipe plant. Re-blooming azaleas, mountain laurel, and lilac varieties are now made for Georgia and our heat and humidity. The Miss Kim lilac (purple) and Betsy Ross (white) are new lilacs made specifically for our area.

For many, gardening in containers is the way to go. Phillips displayed containers for shade with liriope, needlepoint ivy, caladiums, begonias, and tiarella that were stunning. A container for a sunny spot held white geraniums, lambs ear, euphorbia, white vinca, and Texas sage. Both were beautiful with texture and color and height variations.

The next meeting of the Merry Weather Garden Club is May 7th when the club will view the lady slippers while touring Cochran Mill Nature Center. For more information, contact Gail Coffee.




Monday, April 15, 2013

Thanks Merry Weather Garden Club

Carla Snider could not be a prouder grandmother! Her granddaughter Katie Kerce who goes to
Futural Road Elementary School in Spalding County won first place at the state science fair competition with her Fairy Garden, something her grandmother introduced her to after attending a Merry Weather Garden Club meeting. The program, given by Martha Evans of LaGrange, featured her imaginative and whimsical miniature gardening pieces.  Adults and children enjoy designing and arranging the gardens which can be done in the backyard, in a flower pot, or shoebox. The fun of using what nature provides, creating a storyboard, and using your imagination is the best hands-on education possible and Carla thanks the Merry Weather Garden Club!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Southeastern Flower Show


The Merry Weather Garden Club met on Friday, March 15, 2013 to attend the 2013 Southeastern Flower Show held at Cobb Galleria. The three day event displayed horticulture, landscapes, artistic designs, photography and added to the Marketplace of vendors this year were antique dealers. The garden show tickets also allowed access to the craft show at Cobb Galleria and members found the array of handmade, one of a kind pieces very interesting.

The speakers for the show ranged from TV gardening celebrities to the ever popular Coach Vince Dooley, an avid gardener. The Katherine Astor lecture was attended by several from the club and the British gardener had a lovely slide program featuring England’s finest gardens, houses and estates. Astor spoke from first-hand knowledge of the titled as she is a descendent of the Waldorf-Astors and has spent much of her adult life restoring the gardens at Kirby House.

The flower show featured landscapers transforming small designated areas into backyard paradises and giving viewers loads of ideas and inspiration. The show included a juried competition recognizing excellence in garden design, floral design, photography, horticulture and more. The horticultural exhibits are interesting as the entries are usually the very varieties blooming in our yards in Meriwether. Sadly the dressed front doors and window box displays were not part of the show this year.

The youth areas were very well done with a Discovery area encouraging composting, bee keeping, backyard gardens, and eating home grown vegetables.

Most impressive and a delightful surprise for the group was the entry by Hills and Dales of LaGrange. Horticulturist Jo Phillips, from Meriwether County and who annually does a program for the club, was part of the team that recreated part of the 1928 garden of Ida Callaway. The exhibit was breath taking and deserved the many awards it earned.  Designed by Brooks Garcia, many of the props were made by the Theatre Arts Department at LaGrange College and some of the plants used came from the popular supplier Petals from the Past and Woodbury’s Thunderwood Farms.

Besides the overall beauty of the display, most striking of all was the attention to detail of the entry. Months in the making, the recreated garden featured Mrs. Callaway’s potting shed, chicken coop, birdhouses, and fenced in vegetable garden. The plants were trellised on the picket fence and wound their way up with some even blooming. The lettuces, strawberries, and other common vegetables were beautifully fresh and spring like. The accompanying brochure told the names of the 1928 varieties used by Mrs. Callaway plus her use of bat guano, wood ash, chicken manure, bonemeal, blood meal, lime, cottonseed meal plus compost to enrich the soil. Members were so proud Meriwether was a part of the top display at the show.

Upcoming events for the garden club: Coweta Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale-April 13; the April Meeting will be the Lunch and Learn with the Concord Garden Club on Thursday, April 18th; Troup County Master Gardener Plant Sale and Swap on April 27th and Coweta Nurseries 2 for 1 sale at the end of April.