Volume VI Winter 2022-2023


The Newsletter of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts
December 2022

Please forward the Mayflower
to your membership.

** Looking Ahead **

  • Gardening School Course 1 April 13, 14, 15 in the morning via ZOOM - See below.
  • The Scituate Garden Annual Plant Sale Sat May 20 from 9:00am - noon. Rain or Shine. Mann Farmhouse and Wildflower Garden on the corner of Stockbridge Rd and Greenfield Lane in Scituate.
  • The Acton Garden Club Annual Plant Sale and Raffle Sat May 20 from 9:00am - 1:00pm. Rain or Shine. The Red House Acton Center 468 Main Street, Rte 27, in Acton.
Gardening School Course 1
Gardening School Course 1 will be held April 13, 14 & 15, 2023, in the morning via ZOOM. The school is open to anyone wishing to take the course, but credit is only given to a garden club member. You do not need to take the courses in any specific order and each course is self-contained. If taking the course for credit an exam is given each day at the end of the school. You can also attend any single day of the school that interests you, but will not get credit. A registration form and course list can be found here. 

Basic Botany, Composting, Soils, Techniques for Growing Outdoor Flowers, Plant Propagation lecture & demonstration.

Dr. Judith Sumner, Professor of Natural Sciences, Assumption College, Author
Kathi Gariepy, MA Master Gardener, NGC Master Gardening & Landscape Design Consultant, Garden Lecturer & Writer & Educator 
Joann Vieira, Horticulturalist, former head of horticulture Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, current head of horticulture for MA Trustees of Reservation 

MFA Art in Bloom Dates to Remember
The 47th annual Art in Bloom will be held at the MFA Boston April 28-30, 2023. Formal letter and application for floral designers will be coming later this Fall. Please note the important dates for designers below:

February 27, 2023 1pm Art in Bloom arranger orientation at the MFA March 6, 2023 1pm snow date for above

April 27, 2023 Arranger Day at the MFA

MFA Garden Club Coordinators:
Karen Fitzgerald
Meg Kasuba
Susan Meikleham
NGC Youth Poetry Contest

Just want to remind you that the Youth Poetry deadline is January 18, 2023. Please take a minute to review the information on this wonderful youth program on our website. Massachusetts was a big winner at the national level last year – a wonderful honor for the talented children who competed and for our clubs as sponsors. There is still time to enter, but don’t delay.
This year’s theme, “SEEDS, TREES AND BEES… OH MY - Celebrating the Diversity of Nature” offers a tempting creative challenge for Kindergarteners through Ninth Graders to express their thoughts and feelings in poetry.
A Note about the Mayflower
The Mayflower is published four times a year in March, June, September, and December. This newsletter is only as fun and as useful as its submissions.

Please submit your articles in the body of an email or in a google document. Please do not attach them as a PDF. Photos should be attached to the email and any descriptions included in the text portion of your submission and sent to me at [email protected] by March 10 for the Spring issue.
Thank you!
Framingham Garden Club
in the NEWS
Levan Reid of CBS News caught up with the Framingham Garden club during their annual wreath making workshops.

From CBS:
"The Framingham Garden Club is one of the longest standing community clubs in Massachusetts. The group of 83 members will celebrate their 90th anniversary in January and they're meeting in person once again after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Their annual Holiday Greens Sale, held earlier this month, is the club's primary fundraiser.

'This year we were able to do an in-person sale and you couldn't believe the excitement within our club and within the community,' sale chair Shannon Fitzpatrick told WBZ-TV. 'We have other things that we do together but this is the one that brings pretty much all of our members together.'

'Just driving around and seeing our creations on other people's doors, it's a wonderful feeling," club president Andi Saari told WBZ. 

In addition to donating wreaths to different city buildings and homes, the garden club also gives away four annual scholarships to graduating high school seniors.'"

'Positive things generate positive things and I think that's what's the best thing about this. We get to help kids, we get to help our fellow citizens in Framingham and we're a nice group of people,' said scholarship head Susan Whittaker.

For more information on the club, visit their website."

Watch the news clip here.
Garden Clubs at Work

Members of the Pepperell Garden Club have been busy dividing plants and repotting them for their annual plant sale on May 20, 2023.  As always there will be perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs, hanging plants, shrubs, and trees.

Pictured are members Paul Correnty, Susan LaRocco, Carol Canning, and MaryAnn Hagan

On October 10, 2022, the Aptucxet Garden Club of Bourne hosted a Presidents’ Day Luncheon. There were 15 guests: 3 guests from GCFM, President and 1st Vice President and the South East District Director, 6 Presidents from other garden clubs and 6 additional from our SE District, as well as 9 past Presidents of our own garden club.

Each President was given a wrist corsage made of straw flowers made by club members Judy Sheehy, Paula O’Neil, Anna Holmes, Alda Barron and Isabel Melo and a 5”X7” framed acrylic resin art. Each piece was a unique representation of a flower, made by club member Jayne Urso. A special recognition was made to our 98-year-old member, Laurie York, for
Nine past presidents of Aptucxet Garden Club
her many contributions to the AGC and to the Town of Bourne.

Following the luncheon a program “Decorating with Succulents, a Wreath and Pumpkin Demonstration” was put on by AGC member Anna Holmes who owns Flowers By Anna, in Falmouth, MA.
Jill Malcolm, President GCFM
Laurie York
Demonstration by Anna Holmes
The joint meeting was hosted by the Boxford Village Garden Club on November 2, 2022. GCFM State President Jill Malcolm in the center in maroon then the District Director Susan Schumacher in grey and the Presidents or representatives from Boxford, Topsfield, Middleton and Haverhill garden clubs.

This program featured Maureen Christmas as a speaker with her beautiful designs. It was a huge success with many attendees.
The Scituate Garden Club’s Annual Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023, 9AM-noon rain or shine. The sale will be at the Mann Farm House and Wildflower Garden on the corner of Stockbridge Rd. and Greenfield Lane in Scituate (GPS 208 Greenfield Lane). As usual, sale will offer more than 2000 plants including perennials — many natives, annuals, and locally grown veggies. Plus 250 potted dahlias ready to move into your gardens. More info at scituategardenclub.com
The Falmouth Garden Club was busy all summer long gathering floral designers, coordinating publicity efforts and logistics in preparation for their first ever Harvest House Tour which featured six unique houses decorated for the season  On October 8, over sixty members of the Falmouth Garden Club combined their talents and participated in this one-day event which was a huge success for the club financially and brought together the whole community of Falmouth. The Harvest House Tour proved to demonstrate the amazing capabilities of all who contributed to the tour.
Chairs of the Memorial Garden, Herb Garden and Colonial Garden at the Museums on the Green  led informative tours for members of the Falmouth Garden Club at their regularly scheduled August meeting.  Dazzling Dahlias was the topic of the September meeting which featured nationally recognized expert, Donna Lane. In October, the club was treated to a presentation from the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) floral designers titled, Art in Bloom Tablescapes. And in October, five very talented floral designers from the FGC demonstrated their skills and creativity in a program called, Autumn’s Bounty. In addition to a floral design program, members organized an indoor yard sale of sorts called Bizarre Bazaar. 

After a very busy fall season, members of the club are looking forward to their annual Holiday Luncheon to be held at the Pocasset Golf Club in December.

The Northborough Garden Club held its 1st Annual Autumn Enchantment show on Saturday September 24th. This event was open to the public and featured a floral demonstration by Tina Bemis, owner of Bemis Farms Nursery in Spencer Ma., a sundry of delectable desserts and thirst quenching refreshments, as well as an attractive array of raffle baskets, member and local business donated. Dolores Salvo floral arrangement, bursting with rich autumn colors, complimented our garden club members; Carol Benedict, Francesca Bombara and Dorothy Magoun preparing the dessert table for our guests. District Director Nancy Martin & Parliamentarian Andrea Little from the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts join our Northborough Garden Club membership board member Francesca Bombara in a fun photo holding a raffle basket. It was a great turn out and we look forward to next year’s Autumn Enchantment. submitted by - Denise Kirby, NGC member
Sue Hogan, Carlene DiDonato, Pat Rickard.

Cessy Bombara, Andrea Little, Nancy Martin

Members of the Groton Garden Club listened intently to Rick Reault, the owner of the Colony in Tyngsboro, who explained the lifecycle of honeybees and their work within their colonies to sustain and produce honey, The Colony sells beekeeping supplies, honey and mead. Rick has been keeping bees for 25 years. He is a third generation beekeeper, and this is truly a family business. He and his wife Sue are enjoying their 15th year of business. The Colony is where they sell their three product lines: New England Beekeeping Supplies, Carlisle Honey, and Honeybound Meadery.

They are the only company in the country currently providing a unique breadth of bee related products and services under one roof. From owning and managing over 1,000 hives, selling honeybees, queens and beekeeping supplies, bottling varietal raw unfiltered honeys, hand-crafting beeswax candles, soaps and apothecary products as well as our latest product line of crafting mead with fresh raw honey. Additionally, education is at the forefront of our mission. We teach beekeeping management courses and are always talking honeybees to our customers at The Colony! The Colony is one busy hive!
Members placed a wreath on the Blue Star Memorial located in the town’s Sawyer Common to honor all the veterans from Groton for the sacrifices they made for our country.
There are memorials to honor Groton soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan. The placement of the wreath is an annual event at this time of year to honor legacy of these brave
soldiers and the “Valiant service rendered by its citizens in the wars of our country.” They also placed a wreath at the Carol Wheeler Park to honor Carol G. Wheeler, a young man from West Groton who died in action during
Pictured, L to R Garden Club members Celia Silinonte, Lisa Murray, Club President Lisa Theall and Rick display some of the products available at The Colony. 
the Korean War. The Park is an everlasting memorial for a man who lived his short life in the vicinity of the park.
The members of the Groton Garden Club decorate the stone watering trough planters located in the Center of Groton and the Center of West Groton with displays appropriate for the seasons. For this winter’s decorations, members (L to R) Ellen smith, Grace Llodra, and Laura Semple placed a handsome gnome surrounded by greens, red berries and birch logs for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors.
The intrepid contingent of Haverhill Garden Club members
who braved freezing cold and heavy winds to march in the annual Haverhill Santa Parade. They distributed flyers letting people know about the tree we decorated and donated to a local Festival of Trees and about our annual “Holiday Doors of Haverhill” photo display.

Chelmsford Garden Club Celebrates 100 years

The Chelmsford Garden Club celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 1st with a garden party at the historic Barrett-Byam House, whose gardens they helped restore. 

The club was organized in 1922 and has been focused on town beautification and civic improvement. Within the first few years, the club planted flowers in the town center and tress at the library and new high school. Since then they have built a gazebo on the North Chelmsford Common, helped to establish the George B.B. Wright recreational area, planted over 15,000 daffodil bulbs in town and more recently created the Chelmsford Public Garden in the town center. 

For 70 years members created floral arrangements for the library and for 25 years the club provided garden therapy at either the Bedford Veteran’s Hospital, the Tewksbury Hospital or local nursing/rehab centers. The club has distributed over 4000 seedlings to local school children and given or $10,000 in scholarships to Chelmsford High School Students.

The club looks forward to the next 100 years of service to the town.
One of the Waltham Garden Club’s first events - House in Bloom at Gore Place was very exciting! Members exhibited arrangements that correlated to a specific decor component in the room: furniture, drapes, wallpaper, artwork and/or floor covering. The following members participated Cathy Collins, Rita Cutroni, Mary Ellen Donovan, Kathy Hines, Adelina Mega, Mary Kopsiaftis, Evelyn Polli,, Maryann Ridenti, and Cathy Vieria, 

Here are a few thoughts from Susan Robertson, Executive Director at Gore Place. "House in Bloom was a huge success! We had 450 visitors to view the show. I was very pleased by the talent, particularly the quality and thought that went into the various arrangements. As I have often said, the mansion lends itself to a floral design show and the designers responded very creatively in their choices. Thank you to all the Waltham Garden Club members who participated. They were great to work with. I look forward to doing House in Bloom again next year."
A popular holiday carol states that “Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year”. For the West Newbury Garden Club, it is also one of the busiest.  Holiday decorating by the club kicked off at the end of November with several members of the club decorating wreaths for Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport. This joint venture with neighboring garden clubs provides an opportunity to meet with fellow gardeners to share ideas as well as support the local community. 

Other club members participated in the annual decorating of Newburyport’s Museum of Old Newbury. Each year one room of the museum is assigned to a garden club from the communities in the Newburyport area. This year the WNGC decorated the China Trade Room. Using the theme, Year of the Tiger, the club’s floral arrangements were showcased in blue and white porcelain from the China Trade. 

And in keeping with the club’s commitment to the town of West Newbury, our December meeting was dedicated to decorating wreaths for the town offices and public buildings as well as making holiday arrangements for residents living in the town’s community housing. The club was also delighted to have a local Brownie group join the December meeting. Several club members were engaged with helping the Brownies make wreaths for the Sage Center (Senior Center) so they could earn their wreath making badge. It was a win for all. 

After all decorating was done, club members gathered to celebrate the season at Café Sarina’s in Georgetown for lovely buffet. It was a chance to relax, catch up with old friends and get to know new members. 

Our club has been fortunate to welcome over 20 new members over the past 2 ½ years. We attribute the growth to the increased interest in gardening along with improved publicity via the town’s email distribution list and Facebook. All our meetings for 2020-21 were held on zoom and open to the public. For the 2021-22 season meetings were offered on zoom and in person, which we are continuing this year.  
Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts 
President, Jill Malcolm, and Master Flower Show Judge floral designer and Middlesex District Director, Kathy Leva, at the Tewksbury Garden Club annual fundraiser Gala. The event was held at the Tewksbury Country Club on November 9.

Kathy’s floral arrangements and custom baskets made by Tewksbury garden club members were raffled off to guests at the event. What a great way to kick off the holiday season!

The Thursday Garden Club of Sudbury held our Annual Bulb Sale in October 2022. This year we displayed our bulbs at several activities in Sudbury. We had a tent at Colonial Day held at The Wayside Inn.

Then we joined the Wayside Quilters for their bi-annual quilt Show. We had a table set with our Bulb Sale. We also created 5 floral designs to go with 5 quilts that were displayed in the Wayside Quilters show. Attendees of the show truly enjoyed the floral creative interpretations.

The Thursday Garden Club then jumped into decorating the Town of Sudbury. We decorated 2 locations at The Wayside Inn. We decorated Emma’s Tree for the woodland animals. And we decorated the gift shop in the Inn.

Then on to Ton Center- where we decorated the common with garland and red bows. We decorated Town Hall with wreaths and decorative pots.
Country Garden Club of Weston has been hard at work with several civic projects in our town.

A new civic project for our club, beautifying the exterior The Arts & Innovation Center of Weston, was completed for fall in early October and last week for winter.

We were thrilled to decorate the interior and exterior of the historic Golden Ball Tavern Museum. This project has been a signature club event for many years and is well received by the community.

Finally, we updated our roadside and community plantings at Brook School Apartments. The residents are so thankful for the club updating the seasonal plantings and their gratitude brings us much joy and puts everyone in the Holiday sprit!

The members of the Garden Club of Norfolk definitely haven’t settled in for a long winter’s nap – at least not over the past several weeks. The Winter Fundraising committee took a large donation of jars and vases and sold beautiful winter arrangements.

For community outreach, we crafted greenery baskets for the Food Pantry’s clients and town departments. And at our holiday gathering, participants all got to create a boxwood tree for their home.

The Southbridge Garden Club featured Deborah Trickett, owner of A Captured Garden, in its September meeting. Her presentation, “Jaw Dropping, Traffic Stopping, Get Your Neighbors Talking Containers” drew a crowd of nearly 50 gardeners, three of whom won containers she created that evening.

In October, the Club held its bi-annual fall meeting at Avellino’s Restaurant in Sturbridge. The Club’s signature event – the Greens Sale – took place the first weekend in December. The sale sold out all items, which included 96 wreaths, 42 door swags, 52 arrangements – five with candles – and four cemetery baskets.  

The Community Service Committee partnered with the Southbridge Recreational Department Kids Club to host “How to pot a plant” as part of the camp’s Nature Week. The Club
donated a “Harvest Bounty” themed raffle basket to the Southbridge Business Partnership Autumn Fest in September. In October, the Club teamed up with the Community Food Collaborative for a garlic workshop. When harvested next summer, the garlic will be distributed to the John Paul II food pantry.  
Hopkinton Garden Club held a members Holiday Workshop on 11/26; club supplied decorations and members donated greens for arrangements to brighten our homes, plus comraderie, music and refreshments.

At our November Meeting, Henry Schmidt's presentation on holiday decorating got everyone excited. The business meeting honored our 2 newest Master Gardeners, our 3 Principal Master Gardeners and 3 new Lifetime members. 
West Springfield Garden Club

A very successful plant swap was held in September. The October guest speaker then spoke on preparing perennials for winter. The major club activity each year is the decorating of a building at Storrowton Village for their Yuletide Celebration. In November members make decorations for the theme the club chose. This year we decorated the Storrowton school house with the theme of Hansel and Gretel
Members of the Weston Garden Club continued their tradition of greening in the holidays throughout Weston’s Town Center. In early December, greens were collected from members’ gardens and public land. The entire club gathered to assemble wreaths while enjoying holiday treats and good cheer. Decorations include sixty-four wreaths on windows and doors of the Town Hall, police and fire stations, and other town buildings.

The iconic Town Center watering trough, maintained by the club throughout the seasons, received a holiday sprucing and pine swag. The tradition goes back at least fifty years. Post-holiday tradition includes an additional collegial gathering as members recycle materials from all the decorations.

In September the Southborough Gardeners toured a local historic mansion under restoration where we collected many ideas that we will incorporate into our personal gardens as well as the community gardens and planters we maintain.

In October at our annual Heritage Day the Gardeners booth was a beautiful representation of our club with dried floral arrangements and heritage poppy seeds from a member’s garden for sale.

At our annual November Guest Day (11/10) we host a professional floral designer and invite the community to enjoy the demonstration, refreshments, and a small boutique. Prototypes for our Thanksgiving Greens Workshop, open to members and others, displayed the talents of our members as well as the stunning table arrangements that rivaled the presenter’s arrangement. All arrangements were raffled off.

In November the club sold fresh decorated wreaths to the Southborough community that club members assembled and delivered to each customer. In addition to that we hung fresh wreathes on local businesses and town buildings and refreshed the many public gardens with holiday greens for the season.
Recently Wollaston Garden Club's Garden Therapy committee twice visited residents at Atria Marina Bay, a senior living community located in Quincy. In November, the Garden Therapy group engaged with residents to help them create pretty, mini-pumpkin floral arrangements for them to enjoy in their own apartments.  

And in early December, the Garden Therapy group provided assistance as residents decorated festive, holiday wreaths to display on their apartment doors. While enjoying freshly-baked cookies and refreshments after the project, the seniors expressed heartfelt appreciation for a fun afternoon of floral activity.  

As one GT committee member remarked after the December garden therapy visit, “It’s always so good for the soul to see the residents so happy!” 

Westborough Garden Club's
2022 Holiday Festival was very fun and successful - mostly due to the wonderful floral arrangement presentation by our own Andrea Little.

The Acton Garden club hosted an exciting evening event in October as part of their Shirley Towle Lecture Series. A generous bequest from Shirley Towle, a longtime member and former President of the Acton Garden Club, allows the club to sponsor a series of lectures featuring horticultural or environmental topics. The event was co-sponsored by EnergizeActon.org and the Acton Conservation Trust.

The speaker, Anna Fialkoff from the Wild Seed Project in Portland, ME, and formerly of the Native Plant Trust in Framingham, explored how gardening with native plants helps foster biodiversity and creates more resilient landscapes.
Acton Garden Club Hosts Special Program
Garden As If the Earth Matters
Planting for Biodiversity and Climate Resilience

  Anna highlighted the wonderful ecological connections that happen in our own backyards and public spaces when we focus on native plants. Without sacrificing beauty, we can create extraordinary, vibrant habitats for the insects and birds who are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Anna shared many concrete suggestions for planting and for landscape care, all designed to enrich our soils and to help mitigate the stresses of climate change. Instead of taming nature, we were encouraged to find ways to cooperate with nature and create a beautiful community in our yard.
The hybrid event was open to the public at no charge, offering an in-person option at the Acton Town Hall as well as a virtual option.  

The Burlington Garden Club has been extremely busy over the last month. At November’s Garden Therapy session at Atria Longmeadow Place we had 26 residents eagerly participate and create beautiful flower arrangements to bring to their rooms. Members cut flowers, helped with arrangements, and answered residents' questions.

In early December members put together and painted lantern centerpieces for the Winter planters on the Town Common (image BGC2). The planters were completed with greens, pinecones and bow just in time for the Annual Burlington Tree Lighting event. There were many compliments as the planters "came on" at dusk. Last week we had our December greens workshop with members enthusiastically making their own holiday gnomes, enjoying holiday cookies and each other's company. Each gnome was a unique masterpiece! Additional gnomes were donated to programs around town - the Senior Center, the Recreation Dept/Center, Echo Enrichment, and the Public Library - so that residents will be able to enjoy the gnomes throughout the holiday season too. 

Franklin Garden Club
makes Wreaths and Flower Arrangements to Benefit
Club Activities

Members of the Franklin Garden Club created beautiful wreaths, swags, cemetery and patio boxes, and real table arrangements to raise nearly $1,000 to benefit club activities, including garden club education programs and a scholarship awarded to a graduating senior.

Shown selling the wreaths are Kerri Bertone, Janice Cederquist, Deb DeGrazia, and Pat Donnelly. 
Mattakeesett Garden Club sent these beautiful photos
to show us what they've been up to!

Shrewsbury Garden Club did their usual decorating in the Town of Shrewsbury for the holidays, including this creative holiday gnome.

The Boxborough Garden Club gets their herb garden ready for winter.
A chat with a District Director
Nancy Martin, Central South District
As District Director of the Central South District, visiting clubs allows me to meet members who share diverse ideas. If someone were to ask "Why should I join a garden club?" I would tell them you will make wonderful friends and have many opportunities to grow and learn. Fifteen years ago, I was a guest at the Framingham Garden Club’s hort show and was put to work immediately. Serving as club president from 2017-2020, I learned that hardworking garden club members accomplish so much impacting the community positively. The 22 clubs of the south Central District cover a large area from Springfield to Wrentham to Framingham. Sharing of ideas at the monthly Presidents Zoom meetings is a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and help clubs solve problems from each other.
Her Shirley Farm Landscape Project pt 3
by Juliet Silvieri
In February 2021 I began an ambitious ongoing landscape project, converting overgrown but flat and sunny farm space into beauty--garden rooms, allees, rows of hedges, a terrace, and inviting paths. I hired a landscape designer, with the intent of keeping the outer areas pastoral (grass, some large trees, a fence, a stone wall) and the inner areas, close to the house, “richer,” with private gardens and a terrace.
Spring 2022 brought the creation of the bluestone terrace, a beckoning allee of sugar maples, and the excavation of two new gardens to my Shirley landscape. Directly after all this activity came blistering, unrelenting heat for most of the summer, which temporarily prevented my enjoying the beauty I had created. As I labored, relentlessly watering, I thought of this work as an investment to create future happiness. That would have to wait until fall and next spring. 
(above) The Terrace, Looking Towards the Gardens, in December

I am now the owner of an upper and a lower garden--the lower garden was meant to provide winter interest, and a place for birds. It contains an inviting winter section, with a small spruce, a tall thin juniper, a small holly, ilex glabra ‘Gem box,’ and several red twig dogwood shrubs (cornus stolonifera ‘Arctic Fire’). Against the snow, their red twigs will be brilliantly fiery. There are also highbush blueberries, with very bright red twigs (brighter and slightly more orange than those of the red twig dogwoods). 
(above) The Terrace in October, with a View of the Gardens Behind

Included in this article is a picture of the lower garden layout. The garden includes a 7 1/2 x 13 ft grass section in the middle, to rest the eye—this keeps the garden from feeling too busy. Paths are important for access—there are 4-ft- and 30-inch-wide paths, and in addition to the winter section, there are three amelanchiers (laevis lustre, in tree form), with four fothergillas (‘Blue Shadows’) planted under them. There are eight highbush blueberries, (Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Blue Jay,’ Blue Ray,’ and ‘Stonecrop’), all mid-season blooming for cross pollination. The corners hold three witch hazels (Hamamelis vernalis) and one pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia ‘Golden Shadows’) There is bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and a bright green heuchera planted in front of the birdbath. Some white phlox ‘David’ and white crocuses flank the bench that will appear between two of the amelanchiers.
My designer persuaded me to delay the creation of the garden hedges until 2023, so we could concentrate on filling at least one of the gardens first. The gardens will be surrounded by holly hedges, and made into private garden rooms. Ilex crenata ‘Green lustre’ will be the hedging border for both gardens, and ilex crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ (a smaller version of Green Lustre) the hedging border for the patio. This winter I have planted a specimen of each—they are now awaiting nibbling deer and perhaps winter burn. We will see how they fare.
In the fall, there was too much fall foliage color, as the blueberry bushes, blazing with strident bright red leaves, clashed with maple trees all around, and with the Amelanchier foliage—and the fothergillas hadn’t even started with their foliage color yet! Note the colorful annual mix, called “Spring into Summer,” behind, in the upper garden, full of tall pink Cosmos—that very drought-tolerant annual seed mix drew attention from all who witnessed its fall glory. Now what should I do to tone down the cacophonous foliage screaming? Too much of a good thing…Yikes.
(above) Too Much Fall Color
My new gardens continue in good health, and hold the promise of a joyful spring, in the buds of the fothergillas, the strong and arching branches of the pagoda dogwood, and the extending roots of the blueberry bushes. When May delights us, from my terrace I will observe the amelanchiers blooming white, and the highbush blueberries, fothergillas, and witch hazel growing. The lower garden will attract birds, with the blueberries, the amelanchier berries, and the heated birdbath spa, which was placed so it is easily visible from several windows in my house. Bluebirds, blue jays, and chickadees visit.
Please join me in the spring for an enchanting look down my new allee, and a look into my much longed-for upper perennial garden. You will view the first spring growing season of the new gardens!
Spotlight on Steeplebush
by Linda Jean Smith

Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa) also known as hardback spirea, hardback, and eastern hardback is a mound shaped, upright, multi-stemmed, suckering, deciduous shrub that forms a thicket. It is native to wet meadows, wet pastures, boggy areas, marshes, fields, and lake margins from Nova Scotia south to Louisiana and Georgia and northern and central Europe. The genus name comes from the Greek word spirea meaning wreath in reference to the showy flower clusters seen on most shrubs in the genus. Tomentosa refers to the undersides of the leaves and the stems, which are covered in a dense white-woolly tomentum. The common name of steeplebush is in reference to the shape of the flower spike, and the common name of hardback is in reference to the tough plant stems.

Hardy in zone 3-8, steeplebush grows 2-4ft. tall by 3-5ft. wide and is easy to grow in average, acidic, moist to wet soils in full sun. It will tolerate a wide range of soil and light shade, but a site with full sun is best for maximum blooming. It flowers on new wood, so prune in late winter to early spring if needed. It spreads by suckers to form colonies; so to control spread remove suckers. The root system is woody and branching and the woody stems often die down to the ground during the winter. Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings. Cuttings do not need a hormone treatment.

The leaves of steeplebush are medium to dark green about 3” long and elliptic to ovate in shape, with coarse marginal teeth and are tapered at both ends and densely yellowish-brown hairs beneath. The orange to reddish-brown bark is exfoliating and the fall foliage is yellow. It is covered in sharp, narrow, upright, tiny pink to rose to rose-purple flowers on dense, narrow, steeple-shaped, terminal spikes (4-8" long) that bloom from top to bottom from July to September. The flowers are followed by small, dry, brown fruit. Remove faded flower clusters to encourage additional bloom. 

There are no serious insect or disease problems, but it is susceptible to many of the diseases that attack other rose family members, including leaf spot, fire blight and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include aphids, leaf roller, caterpillars and scale. The caterpillars of some moths are known to feed on the leaves. Although white-tailed deer have been known to browse on steeplebush, it is not preferred as a source of food because of the bitter and astringent foliage.
Steeplebush is a good selection for pond margins, low spots or other moist locations in the landscape or as a low hedge for paths and walkways and incorporated into foundation plantings. Its flowers attract butterflies and it is a great species for birds and bees as well. Its growing habit makes it good for soil erosion also. It is the larval host for the Columbia silkmoth and the New England buck moth. Steeplebush is noted for its astringent properties, which cause it to be used medicinally. Populations have declined because of urban sprawl, drainage projects, and destruction of wetlands. 
National Garden Club News

The 3-Rs (Recruit, Retain, Revitalize) series started on last fall and all three videos can be found on the website under the Member Resource Library. 

For more educational videos, drop into the
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