Monday, October 21, 2013

Merry Weather and Talisman Garden Clubs Meet

October 2013

The Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, October 17th at Thunderwood Nursery north of Woodbury. Joining the Merry Weather Club was the Talisman Garden Club from LaGrange brought to Meriwether by Helen Phillips from Garden Solutions.

Gray and Lanie Riner, owners and horticulturist at Thunderwood since 2008, are making their mark on the garden industry by providing local plant stores with thriving healthy plants and by being on the cutting edge supplying those stores with the latest varieties being developed by plant breeders. Three brokers nationwide currently sell their plants with over ninety reps encouraging sales. Their retail business sells plants from Chattanooga to Valdosta but sells to independents only. Thunderwood plants are easy to recognize as there are in terra cotta colored pots at stores in our area.

Club members from Talisman and Merry Weather had numerous questions about how the Riners keep their plants through the winter.  The cold frames protect and keep plants about five degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Frost blankets are used as well but most of their plants are cold hardy.

The new plant varieties that were most impressive were the pink Sheffield mum and the purple aster English Countryside bred by Dr. Armitage in Athens at UGA.  He earns six cents royalties on every plant sold.

Schizostylus or Kaffir lily is a popular red flag lily that the Riners propagate. New from Australia is a white and coral salvia that Lanie says has brought out some pretty aggressive hummingbird in their greenhouses.

A common question for Georgia gardeners is what is deer resistant? Lanie Riner pointed out that nothing is resistant if the deer are hungry. They get most of their deer damage in the spring when they are growing hostas. Some plants less tasty to the deer are asters, salvia, stokesia, coreopsis, and yucca. Plant sprays like Liquid Fence are very good but repeated applications are necessary after rains.  Deer, armadillos, and pests do not like the rotten eggs or sulphur smell.  Homemade remedies that use eggs can be made that repel deer.

A last popular plant the garden clubbers purchased was the Southern Riverwood fern.  Shade and moisture loving, the plant is a perennial and comes back after cold weather and rarely dies back during mild winters.

Both garden clubs traveled to Gay where Merry Weather hosts Jackie Reynolds and Joan Allen prepared a feast of delicious recipes-an appetizer of Mexican layered dip, main course with a tangy apple and greens salad, grape salad, and shredded chicken and spinach salad, chocolates and chocolate lace cookies were for dessert.

Touring the Reynolds home and garden were added delights. Jackie provided before and after pictures of their home that was bought as a simple brick ranch.  Their additions have given the home charm and added space plus they updated the front entry with a new pediment with siding of cedar shakes and stacked stone. The gardens were most delightful with winding paths and flourishing beds of color.  The purple asters and pink mums were in their full glory along with the red flag lily. Vines and climbers cover walls and trellises giving a romantic, mature look to the garden.  The Reynolds have recently cleared the jungle behind their house leaving the tall hardwoods for shade, and the ladies were quick to make recommendations of low maintenance woodsy plantings for them to enjoy.

In business, the club announced the upcoming luncheon and wreath making in Woodbury which is being done this year in lieu of a Christmas tour of homes. Carla Snider announced her Christmas tea will be December 5th.  The Talisman Garden Club was given brochures of the upcoming Expressions of Meriwether Event and the ladies were invited to come back to visit.