Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Strickland’s Store
joining the Concord Garden Club for its 17th Annual Lunch and Learn. Garden club members from numerous Redbud
District clubs joined the Concord club as well as many local gardening
program for 2015 was Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse and after the convincing
argument put forth by speaker Anne Evans, the audience left invigorated with
news ideas of how to fill our landfills with less.
pointed out that 74 percent of our garbage is recyclable. True trash is made up
of those items that cannot be composted or recycled. One local example of
reducing was that the city of Williamson partnered with Dependable Waste to
pick up recyclables. Two cans-one for trash and one for recyclables-are now picked
up. No sorting of recyclables is required, and the city also keeps dumpsters
for recycling. Dependable Waste is saving taxpayers because there is less for
them to pay that goes in a landfill.
mentioned the sad fact that Pike County trash goes to Lamar County (Atlanta
trash comes to Meriwether) and worse that 500 tons comes from household garbage
yet only 100 tons from industrial sources.
Households definitely need to do more to recycle.
garden clubs are initiating a “Ban the Bag” to be made into a state law.
Plastic bags which are so convenient are a major hazard to our environment and
are a rotten legacy for our children. Less than three percent of bags are
recycled and Evans showed a number of ways to reuse them. Most ingenious was a crocheted bag made of
hundreds of ordinary plastic bags. The
sad fact about our plastic bags or “Urban Tumbleweed” whose use began in 1982 is
that they really are not necessary, and they are harmful. Plastics affect birds
and their egg production, and the BPAs in plastic affect learning in children.
Sadly there are documented cases of plastics that get dumped in waterways
choking turtles and drowning dolphins.
show a four person family can bring home up to 150 bags per month or 1800 a
year. Changing our habits concerning plastic can happen: we don’t question the
lack of bags when we shop at Sam’s. Ireland placed a five cent tax on plastic
bags, and today no bags can be found.
Health food stores give shoppers a ten per cent credit if they bring
their own bags. Retraining and reeducating ourselves is the key to getting rid
of plastic bags.
Concord club had a variety of cleverly recycled items on display: Sleeveless
tee shirts sewn across the bottom and the sleeves cut off to make a lightweight
colorful bag. Waterproof bags made from a heavyweight dog food sacks were
charming. An apron made from blue jeans was practical, useful, and pretty.
bottles were another source of unlimited ideas: cutting off the top made a
useful funnel. The bottom was used for a berry bowl with ribbon for a handle woven
through holes punched around the rim. A common feed scoop for dog, cat, horse,
and chicken food was made from a bleach bottle. Instead of buying plastic
protectors, a bleach bottle bottom can be used to keep potted plants from
seeping water onto rugs and floors.
of going to a landfill old flower pots are reused as were metal buckets to pot
plants in a rustic arrangement. The prongs on a silver fork were bent to form a
decorative easel to display pictures. The headboard of a twin bed instead of
discarded became the backdrop of a planter. Drawers from old dressers were
colorfully painted and stacked to hold items or become a planter. Instead of trashing
a man’s worn suit, a seamstress sewed the pieces along with lace and beading
into a decorative pin.
two liter plastic soda bottle makes a wonderful bird feeder as well as
carpenter bee trap. Evans recommended
saving anything of glass like wine bottles for rooting plants. A most effective
centerpiece lining each dining table was a small plastic soda bottle inverted
and anchored into a slice of wood that held on it securely wherever placed. The top of the bottle was punched with holes
to simulate a grid for plants to be positioned in an arrangement. The
centerpieces were artfully filled with magnificent fiery orange blooming wild
honeysuckle, snowballs, and hydrangeas with wisps of vinca periwinkle and
boxwood adding to the greenery filler.
Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, 19th of March, 2015 at
the antebellum home of Allen and Tina Hand on LaGrange Street in Greenville.
Allen acquired the home of John Gaston over a year ago and has been steadily
restoring the house, outbuildings and gardens-a long labor of love.
home was built between 1838 and 1840 by Hezekiah Wimbush. Wimbush owned nineteen slaves at the time with
one of them being the very talented untutored Elbert Wimbush, a skilled builder
who built several houses in the Greenville area. The hand hewn underpinning of
the home and mortise and tenon or peg joints make for a sturdy, well-built home
that endures for years and has looked regal even in its past decay.
have only been three homeowners before the Hands bought the property: the
Wimbushes, the Anthonys, and then John and Pauline Gaston who bought the place
in 1920 when John (Booker) was two years old. John Gaston lived in the house
until he was 94. Allen met John when he, Allen, was eight years old and pretty
much visited him every couple of weeks from then on so he is well versed in the
house’s history and knows the property that was his friend’s. There are three
springs on the back of the property that were the reason for the name of the
nearby church, Springfield Baptist Church.
Allen and Tina are restoring the house, they are living next door in a home
that was originally part of the Gaston place. Years ago three rooms were
removed from the Wimbush house and rolled next door to make another home. The Hand’s
daughters, Theney and Milzie, enjoy the connected backyards and the ample
playrooms and playhouses. The back of the house, in typical antebellum fashion,
adjusts for the slope of the land and sits high off the ground and is
open-perfect for more play area.
garden club toured the yard noting the smokehouse, pomegranate and rose bushes plants
that have been there a long time. Most interesting is the small building that
served as a classroom for Joseph Meriwether Terrell who grew up to be one of
Georgia’s governors! Allen’s mother some years ago bought the Terrell place in
Greenville and gave Allen the portrait of Governor Terrell she found there. Allen plans for the portrait to have a place
of honor hanging in the dining room-an interesting point as the young Terrell
boy who played and studied on the Wimbush property had no idea his picture would
hang in its home one day!
clearing out the interior, Hand found newspapers and magazines dating back to
1906 that are a treasure trove of fascinating local information. He also has a
hand written account of the Greenville Cyclone of March 3, 1893 and its
is a slow process and the club members were most complimentary of the care the
Hands are taking with the historical house. It is not always easy, Allen said,
as he has run into rats, squirrels, possums, bats, and snakes in the initial
club members divided and shared with the Hands some plants from their gardens
and also presented the Hands with a long handled pruner for fighting the
wisteria in the yard. The sides of the front steps became an impromptu table
where club members enjoyed refreshments and made club announcements. The next meeting of the garden club will be
April 16 when it will join the Concord Club for its annual Lunch and Learn
Merry Weather Garden Club met on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at the farm of
Connie Strickland in Luthersville. The
Stricklands and their neighbor Brian Cash hosted a three day sheep dog trials
for the United States Border Collie Handlers Association.
sixty dogs were put through their paces and a crowd made up of sheep dog
enthusiasts as well as curious local folk came out to watch the event.
Participants came from as far away as Ireland, Colorado, and Canada for the
event, one of three held in Georgia this year.
of the garden club ladies brought along husbands, grandchildren, and neighbors for
the event and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful spring like day, sunshine and
site of the action for the trials on Saturday was the Strickland’s big hay
field where four gates, a small pen, and designated marked area were all on
about forty acres. The dogs were sent by their handlers across a large field
about four hundred yards away and often out of sight, but not hearing, of their
handlers. The dogs were judged on following
the directions given by the handlers to go and retrieve four sheep. The dogs
brought the sheep to the handler having to circle the shepherd from a
designated side. Then the dogs were
commanded to take the sheep through a gate and then brought back toward the
handler and penned. A last test was
taking the four sheep to a designated area and separating them two and two. The
course had to completed in eleven minutes.
crowd thoroughly enjoyed watching a smooth dog and handler pair. The whistles and hand signals soon became
easy to follow, and the dogs put forth such strenuous mental and physical
effort they were a joy to see work. Most dogs headed straight for the big water
bucket after their runs to jump in and cool off. The black and white border
collies and an occasional brown and white colored one were eager to get out
there with the sheep and go to work.
was clear to viewers that a good dog made working with sheep an easier task and
a good dog was worth the money. Nancy Schreeder of Vinings explained that most
border collies from twelve months to two years are in the training stages with
a six year old considered mature and trial worthy. Training is an ongoing
process though, Schreeder said. Schreeder lives in Vinings but has her sheep in
Dawson County as did a number of entries competing this weekend.
farming is enjoying a growth spurt in Georgia just now and folks are seeing
mutton on restaurant menus more often. The Stricklands grow what is call hair
sheep or the Dorper breed which is a meat sheep, and they don’t have to spend
time shearing wool. It is currently lambing time, and Connie Strickland had set
up a petting area for the guests to see a few of the adorable babies.
Greenville Boy Scout Troop provided lunch for visitors at the trials and Connie
further treated the garden club ladies to her delicious coconut cake. The next
meeting of the club will be an unofficial meeting as the ladies will take in
the Callaway Gardens Plant Fair and Sale on Thursday, March 26, 2015 to Sunday,
March 29, 2015.
Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday 15th January, 2015 at
Nature’s Tree Farm in Luthersville. Unfortunately the weather was not merry but
quite drizzly and cold so the hayride, quilts, cider and donuts planned by host
Gail Coffee were postponed. Happily most club members got to view Steve
Kinney’s beautiful layout of the tree farm, and several drove through the lanes
of potted plants before moving to the home of Gail and Bill Coffee.
cider and a variety of delicious donuts were available there to warm everyone
and Gail attractively displayed the donuts in vintage metal lunchboxes that
belonged to her children, to her, and to her father. Kinney promised the
hayride at a later date as he has a hay wagon complete with drop down steps for
an easy climb up.
grew up wanting to farm, but he had been told by his grandfather it was not
profitable. At the age of twelve he started working for P. Skinner at his
nursery where he learned a lot as he grafted fruit and nut trees and camellias
and handled vegetable plants. He persevered in the field and has made a
successful business with nurseries in Peachtree City and Fayetteville before
doing what has been his lifelong dream of being in the growing business.
said he has taken Truett Cathy’s advice in that, “if you do something you like
for a living, you will never work a day in your life.” So for fifty years he
has been in the nursery business.
Tree Farm grows trees in containers. They sell 175 varieties of trees and shrubs
to nurseries and landscapers. One prominent client is the Biltmore House where
trees grown in Luthersville now have replaced the aging tulip poplars that line
the allee leading to the house.
plants can be grown in as large as 45 gallon containers that make it is easy to
move, ship, and transport. His program for the garden club was about trees, and
he began by stating we should choose the tree to plant by the soil, sun/shade,
and of the size the tree will be when mature.
Today’s homeowner wants immediate satisfaction with their landscaping
and that does not happen. When asked about trends he pointed out the fifties
had its hollies, the sixties red tipped photinias, then came the leylands and
Bradford pears. Varieties he enjoys and encourages homeowners to plant are the
Fox Valley River Birch, Carolina Hornbeam, gingko, and Persian ironwood or
asked what to plant on logged acreage, Kinney recommended native trees like
hickory, birch, bald cypress, dogwood, and red maples for a variety of color,
height, and looks. He pointed out that the Smoky Mountains National Park has
more tree varieties than in all of Europe. To stop trees from sprouting after
have been logged he said making axe grooves in the stump and brushing Roundup
full strength on the stump would kill the tree and not damage the soil.
finished by pointing out that trees are the bones or structure of the landscape
and live long after shrubs and perennials.
They are a great investment so he encouraged club members to plant for
the future and have a long range vision for their landscapes rather than
selling out to instant gratification. Winter is the best time of the year to
plant trees and be sure to dig a wide hole and break up the soil below pot depth.
The root ball can be a tad higher than the surrounding soil, but definitely
pull apart any pot bound roots. Add organic matter to clay soil but it’s much
more important to mulch around the top, but never let mulch touch the trunk.
Kinney likes to saturate the root ball with water before filling in the hole so
the soil is soaked and settled.
garden club handled several bits of business: signing up to host programs in
2015, paying dues, and upcoming events or announcements. Connie Strickland invited the club to their
farm on Luthersville Road as it is hosting a Stock Dog Trials February 6, 7,
and 8. The club decided that would be a great February program. Babs Gordon has
also extended an invitation to tour the Needle Arts Show at Callaway that runs
until January 26th.
Merry Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at the home of
Carla Snider in Imlac. Guests and members were treated to hors d’oeuvres with
an Italian twist like bruschetta, garlic bread, and antipasto.
was assisted in her “Italian Feast” by friends Mary Beth Tsoukalis who did the
antipasto, Italian leafy salad, chicken Florentine, penne salad, and limoncello;
Carla added an entrée of lasagna; Phyllis Daniel made the decorations, rum
cake, lemon ricotta cookies and garlic bread; and Patti Acheson brought the cannoli.
Each place setting had a card with a map of Italy and the luncheon menu that
Carla’s daughter Anne created. The table decorations were carved loaves of
bread that held flowers.
of honor, Walter and Chris Citterio, praised the delicious meal and enjoyed the
club’s camaraderie. Walter, who grew up in Northern Italy, is a chef renowned
for his simple, healthy, and incredibly delicious recipes. His program on
cooking with herbs was filled with tips by a true connoisseur who both grows
his produce, cooks, and enjoys fine food.
began by explaining how important a garden is to Italian families. There are
always flowers for the house and for the cemetery. Italian cemeteries are colorful
and blooming with fresh flowers year around.
explained there are eighteen regions of Italy and every region differs so that favored
herbs in Rome are not the favored ones in his boyhood home of Como. Italy’s
history is one of invasion and the Mediterranean cuisine was influenced by
invaders with the southern portion having Arab influences and the northern
areas more French flavors.
basic six herbs used most often are parsley, basil, bay leaves, rosemary, sage,
and thyme. Citterio uses rosemary to flavor the oil. When he roasts meat, he puts the stripped
rosemary leaves in the oil and then takes them out after they have flavored the
oil. He cooks the meat and then adds rosemary again at the end. Too browned or
overcooked herbs can ruin flavor instead of enhance it.
recommends bay leaves for stews, a good chicken broth, and cooking venison. Bay is strong and can easily overpower food and
you want its delicate flavor. Citterio recommends a marinade of sage, bay, and
thyme for a good venison loin.
two thymes, the common and lemon varieties, add flavor to foods. Citterio
recommends using lemon thyme in seafood recipes. Parsley is also a favorite
with seafood. He roasts a large fish with garlic and parsley and uses the two
ingredients with shrimp and clam sauces.
explained that shrimp scampi is an American invention. “Shrimp is shrimp, and scampi is scampi,” he said.
Scampi is a baby lobster-important to know if ordering a meal in Europe.
basil leaves he uses for pesto. He processes and freezes them in ice cube trays
then pops them in freezer bags to have when the growing season precludes fresh leaves.
uses tarragon in béarnaise sauces, as a dry rub for chicken, and chopped fresh
into salads. Dill is stripped with the fingers because cutting it with a knife
makes the herb dark. Citterio displayed beautiful, fresh, healthy herbs from
his garden as he discussed how he uses them in his meals. Chives he uses in
fish and soup stock, potato salad, and chopped to finish a dish. He reminded
cooks never to use oregano in the cooking process-it is always added at the end
or sprinkled on salads and bruschetta.
Italian dishes begin with a basic tomato sauce and Citterio shared his: crushed
garlic is added to olive oil, then basil is added and then Citterio puts the
lid on and lets the ingredients sizzle.
He adds the tomatoes and salt and pepper and simmers it.
leafy vegetables he highly recommends are dandelions which he boils or steams
and adds oil and lemon juice before serving; spinach, endive, kale and broccoli
rabe. He often steams the broccoli rabe with pine nuts, raisins, and serves
with pasta. His goal is to always maintain the natural flavor and keep dishes simple.
club members inquired how he grew such green, perfect, and leafy herbs, and he
explained he had no extraordinary tips.
He made his garden in what was his bocce field because he had no one to
play bocce with. To fend off insects he uses soapy water.
delicious meal served at Carla’s Italian Feast plus Citterio’s inspiring talk
on cooking with herbs made for a perfectly delightful club meeting.
Weather Garden Club met on Thursday, September 11, 2014 in the Fellowship Hall
of the Greenville United Methodist Church on Court Square. Toots Hobson and
Jane Morrison hosted the meeting and greeted members and guests with a delicious
afternoon tea featuring fresh fruit, tea sandwiches, cookies and chocolates.
enjoyed the refreshments and chatting, several interesting announcements and
news items were related. The club’s October and November meetings have been confirmed:
the Thursday, October 30th meeting will be at 11:30 at Carla Snider’s and will
be an Italian feast with the emphasis on cooking with herbs. Walter Citterio
will be the speaker. Monday, November 3rd, 5:30-6:30, the club will
join the Elms and Roses Council of Garden Clubs on the rooftop at Del'Avant for
wine and cheese then the lecture at 6:30 by Staci Catron, Director of the
Cherokee Garden Club Library in Atlanta and expert in landscape and garden
history. Catron will present a program on important Georgia gardens which are
rarely open to the public. Tickets are
Gail Coffee reported
to the club that she had adopted out fourteen cats this past summer from the
animal shelter but that recently fourteen more had been admitted. Back to
square one, she said. She also reminded everyone that the Chamber’s Business
after Hours will meet on November 5th at the shelter from 5:30 to 7,
and she requested any garden club members attending to please help with
club members (Carla Snider, Helen Claussen, and Gail Coffee) attended the Keep
America Beautiful workshop and training.
They learned how to assess the litter problem, work with the schools,
teach awareness of the litter problem, and make behavioral changes.
one of the state’s largest counties and our state has the most KAM affiliates
(77) in the nation. The garden club had donated $100 to keep the America
Beautiful program whose training session cost approximately $3,000 to hold in
our county. The group learned the best methods of positive reinforcement that
will make the changes and learned ways to raise the public’s awareness and
conscience of the problem.
Trey Gafnea, our
full time extension agent in Meriwether, introduced himself noting that his
animal science degree from Berry and experience on ranches and with beef cattle
did not make him the perfect flower expert, but he researched fall flowers and
presented a delightful program on pansies.
our new classification as 7b, Gafnea and the club heartily discussed climate
change or as Gafnea called it “the variable patterns” that research is showing
clearly are happening.
Pansies are best
planted when the soil temperatures are 45-65 degrees which is usually October
1-15. Buy pansy flats with plants that have good dark green leaves, not leggy,
and abundant white fibrous roots. The best performing beds are raised six to
ten inches above ground level. Gafnea warned against using old mulch as it uses
up nitrogen in the decomposing process.
organic material but not more than 25% of the bed should be organic. He recommended
adding three inches of soil above the twelve inch raised bed. Soil samples were
recommended as pansies like slightly acidic soil-5.4 to 5.8. Pre emergences are
encouraged if the bed has a history of weeds.15-2-20 fertilizer is recommended
every two weeks through the winter with no fertilizer spread during September,
April or May when it is warm.
hearty through cold weather down to 25 degrees, and if the cold spell lasts a
long time, a two to four inch topping of pine straw helps. Remove frost damaged
flowers and any diseased plants through the winter.
expertise there, the club members discussed a myriad of problems from
armadillos to army worms. He explained the invasion by army worms and how they
migrate from Florida in moth swarms and usually get to us in July. They are
green and brown 1 ½ inch caterpillars that eat grass leaving only a stem. Sevin
dust will take care of the currently invading black oak worm that is part of
the tent caterpillars in hardwoods. Coral snakes have been spotted in southeast
slapping story of the meeting was told by Helen Claussen who, like most gardeners,
has been at war with armadillos. She
thought she had killed one and bagged it up to dispose of it. As she was driving, the bag started moving
and as she drove keeping one eye on the bag in the floorboard, the bag opens
and the armadillo climbs out and up onto her lap! She stopped her car, opened
the door and released the pest.
The Merry Weather Garden Club met on
Tuesday the 19th of August, 2014 at the home of Patti Acheson in
Woodbury. Ellen McEwen cohosted with
Patti. Neighbors or the “Imlac Crew” made up of Phyllis Daniel, Mary Beth
Tsoukalis, and Carla Snider, all contributed to the delicious brunch served
with shrimp and grits, egg and vegetable casserole, coffee cake, zucchini,
squares, fresh fruit garnished with mint and feta, orange yeast rolls, and much
Club members enjoyed touring the Acheson
home because Patti and her husband A.J. have made much of the furniture and
décor themselves. Both have a professionals’ eye and touch. Patti has recently
turned her talents to creating a stunning garden which surrounds the new
swimming pool and also she has refitted an old camper. Acheson is part of a group that goes
“glamping.” Glamourous camping as the ladies and their campers, eighty plus
meet this weekend at Stone Mountain and will enjoy shopping, wine and cheese
tasting, and chatting-definitely not the rugged outdoor experience. The camper has been painted, refitted and
upholstered in delightful fabrics. A
miniature crystal chandelier hangs over the bed! The fifth wheel is encased in
a box that has been painted to look like an earlier period trunk. Creative and clever touches in every nook
made the Acheson home, garden, and camper a fun and inspiring adventure for the
In club business Marylyn Carter told the
club about entering the flower show last May that was a fundraiser for the art
museum in LaGrange. The Downton Abbey theme was furthered by member Jane
Morrison who was asked to bring her ancestor’s crocheted handbag, hats, and
Linda Wilburn reported to the club on
the state of the Streetscapes in the county seat noting that it took four years
to do Phase 1 and she thought this phase would go faster-but no. The bids are due in September and will be awarded
in October and construction will begin immediately.
Helen Claussen reported on the 34 lots
that are covenant recorded properties around the airport that she hopes will be
developed. The county owns the land and
the lots would make a good fly in community.
Carla Snider reported on the Keep
Meriwether Beautiful workshop coming up September 9th from 1-5 at
the Commissioners’ Building. This is
training for those who want to see something done about the litter problem in
our county. Many club members plan to be
part of this and take the program into the schools and communities to
Linda Wilburn also passed out flyers
with information about purchasing a poster or posters of our seven cities. The
poster collages currently are on display at the Court Square Café and have
received rave reviews. The café and art gallery in Greenville, café in
Woodbury, and Refreshingly Country shop in Warm Springs are all part of the
Southern Loop now which goes from Fairburn to Warm Springs, LaGrange to Tyrone
in its appeal to tourists who want to see the towns that Sherman missed!
Ellen McEwen introduced her dear friend
and Cotton Pickin’ Fair exhibitor of approximately thirty five years Patricia
Hendricks of Woodland. Patricia, McEwen said, has a beautiful home and garden,
was married to the late Dr. Hendricks, a state veterinarian. Hendricks
explained she began her hobby of making pine needle baskets when “the empty nest”
occurred in her home. She praised her mentor and teacher Mrs. Corley and she
has taken classes in North Carolina and Charleston to further educate herself
and see how others make the baskets.
Hendricks praised Johnny Walker of Gay who
has a long leaf pine and saves her the needles shed every year. Hendricks
begins by washing the needles with warm soapy water and drying them. She uses
RIT dye to color them saying she had tried natural dyes but they don’t last as
well. She uses loblolly needles for smaller baskets and the miniature pieces.
Hendricks does not work from a pattern
but visualizes her creation much like a potter with clay. She uses very strong
waxed linen thread to sew the needles together.
Club members were amazed at her precise stitches that themselves make a
pretty pattern in each piece both on the outside and inside of the work. She
starts every piece with six needle leaves sometimes attached to a walnut and
builds out from there. She displayed a variety of baskets, a lovely hat, and
trays she had made. The baskets each take numerous hours to create.
A second hobby is drying hydrangeas.
Club members appreciated that she grew such beautiful large blossoms! Limelight
and Snowflake hydrangeas are two especially good varieties for this. She
mulches with chipped composted limbs and fertilizes with 10-10-10 in the
spring. She adds aluminum sulfate to keep the flowers blue and purple.
Picking at the correct time is the key
to drying hydrangeas and she does this in late July and August as the color
starts fading from the blossom. She has a log house where she hangs the blooms
from the rafters, and they are dry in a few days. She colors some with RIT dye
and boiling water. She dips until she
gets the desired color and them dries them by simply hanging them on a
clothesline. Fabric softener in water is sometimes sprayed on the bloom to
soften it for arranging.
The garden club will next meet in
September at Greenville United Methodist Church to hear our Extension Agent
Trey Gafnea discuss gardening problems and the checklist to do in the fall and to
prepare for winter.