Sharing Horticulture

Leftover flowers and greens from a horticulture display at our garden club gave me a lovely array of fall flora at home. I wouldn’t call it a brainstorm but an idea borrowed from my Virginia garden club prompted a suggestion to my Exeter garden club…. a sharing of horticulture from members’ gardens at meetings when our New England weather permits.

Hort Display Oct. 2019

The request for horticulture was emailed to members and my fingers were crossed that we’d have a few members who would share cuttings. That was my hope before we awoke yesterday to total darkness…. the nor’easter bomb cyclone that passed through at 3 a.m. took our power and left us groping for flashlights in morning darkness. Reaching out to our president, who was also in darkness, I found that the meeting site has a generator. The meeting was on whether we had power or not.

It was light at 8:30 am when mister gardener manually opened our heavy wood garage door allowing me to exit with my hort samples. A small table set aside for hort was already full when I arrived and we quickly replaced it with a 6′ table. The hort kept coming until the larger table overflowed with garden goodies. Anemones, chrysanthemums, Heptacodium, reblooming iris in bloom, an Oxydendrum twig, deutzia, dianthus, Montauk daisies, sedum, zinnias, Canadian ginger, and much more. Some IDs said, “What am I?” and we could answer one or two of them.

It was a good response from members and a teaching experience as well. Good to know what is still looking good in our New England gardens in October.

EAGC Oct. 2019

And as I was leaving the meeting, a text from mister gardener alerted me that our power had just been restored. Time to make a pot of coffee at noon!

Strange weather continues…

After a cold, wet spring, we were blessed with a gloriously perfect day last Saturday. Sunshine. Blue skies. Warmer temps. A super day for volunteers who turned out with shovels and bags of compost to plant a dozen woody shrubs in a new community ornamental garden. Red twig dogwood, hydrangea, rhododendron, viburnum and more are forming the bones of a new public native plant garden with a generous grant from the Exeter Area Garden Club.  Not just for the public’s enjoyment, our goal is to attract pollinators and wildlife to the garden.

New F. A. Garden 2019

Following that glorious solo spring day, we have been plunged back into cold, wet weather. Mother’s Day was brisk yet warm with flowers, good wishes, phone calls, and a lovely brunch.

The very next day, just yesterday, a nor’easter brought chilly rains and gusty winds and overnight temperatures in the 30’s….. and SNOW to parts of the state. All I can do is enjoy the few blooms we have in the yard and wait for warmer weather closer to the weekend.

What plants seem to be happy in this weather?
Parsley is enjoying the cold. The ferns are
twice as large as they usually are.
Hostas are reaching for
the sky!

Epimedium seems thrilled…
⬇︎

epimedium

Rhododendron is unfazed…

roseum rhododendron 2019

Pansies are in their glory….

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What seems to be struggling or slow to adapt?
The iris! They will eventually
bloom but I see signs
of fungus on
the blades.

Tulips are fine but rarely open on these cold overcast days.

tulips 2019

Azalea blossoms are uncooperative…

azalea 2019

Crabapple blooms are struggling to open…

crabapple 2019

‘Carol Mackie’ daphne should bloom in May,
but this year it will be late.

Carol Mackie Daphne 2019

What to do when the calendar
says spring but the weather
says winter?
As long as there are no s-words… snow, sleet, or slush, nothing stops the people of New England if they have a good supply of fleecewear, wool socks, muck boots, and a rain hat. Gardening in the rain is still gardening.

muck boots 2019

More tulips…

Finger vase, five-finger vase, fan vase, trumpet vase are all names for this ‘tulipiere,’ a style of vase with multiple openings and a shared water vessel.  Finger vases were commonly seen filled with dried flowers in colonial arrangements in my hometown of Williamsburg VA. There I learned the container originated in the 17th-century with the Dutch who displayed one tulip per opening.

Well, that’s what I thought until last month. The Wall Street Journal ran an article that changed my mind. The vessels with multiple spouts like the one below and other styles of flower pots, as well as different ‘tulipieres’ were designed by the Delft manufacturers for Britain’s Queen Mary II to be used for any cut flowers. The queen’s flowers were refreshed three times a week… and not just with tulips.

So I learned something new…. and although the container isn’t just for tulips, it is still called a ‘tulipiere.’ I have used it with whatever flowers are in bloom, but, today, for a garden club event, I placed one tulip per opening surrounded by a variety of other blooms and a few dried finds from the garden.

five finger container

It’s way too early to pick anything but a few tulips and daffodils from this New Hampshire garden, but one tiny bloom, barely noticeable in the arrangement, was from this yard. I was excited to spot our muscari or grape hyacinth this morning. The tiny plants are just beginning to bloom now in shades of blue and white. It really is spring!

Muscari armeniacum

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There’s nothing like a parade!

Small towns have the most amazing parades. The population of the small town of Stratham NH is less than 8,000, yet the community capped off their 300th anniversary year with a phenomenal and well-organized parade. Several marching bag pipe bands, a fife & drum band, Shriner clowns, ‘Extreme Air’ jump rope group, local selectmen, a pig, horses, cattle, a number of fire trucks from neighboring towns, old tractors, new tractors, Miss Stratham Fair, antique cars, politicians, and floats by a number of organizations, a church, library, Historic Society, local schools, and one garden club…. mine!

My awesome co-chair and I made about 50 large crepe paper flowers and with our straw hats and best smiles, we headed out on the 2-mile trek. Four members rode in a cart while about 10 of us made the walk, all waving our flowers… with one member telling the crowds lining the streets that these flowers are “perfect for our drought!” We pushed a wheelbarrow full of the flowers and all carried a garden rake.

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Waiting our turn to join the parade…

Naturally, it’s always the children who are the most excited at parades. Every other group or float tossed or handed out candy to the almost frenzied youth all along our route. (Yes, we were able to snag a little bit of sugar and chocolate for ourselves…)

Before we knew it, we had reached the end. It was a good feeling to support the Stratham community and we were happy to hear the crowds call out thanks and clap in appreciation for all we do in this community.  All good…

this photo courtesy www.seacoastonline.com