Category: Garden Design

Rododendrons & Azaleas

Rododendrons & Azaleas


Cora Swinamer, Landscape Designer, gardener, Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society member and educator recently treated Chester Garden Club Members and guests to an informative presentation.

Click on any picture for a slide show…

 

Many Rhododendrons and Azaleas, illustrated by her beautiful slides have proven to be hardy in Nova Scotia.

 

Cora described Plants of the rhodo family as Elepidotes, which are the large-leaf plants, or Lepidotes, the small- leafed varieties; or as Azaleas – either deciduous or evergreen. Cora suggested that as a way to remember which description fits which category the beginning of Elepidote resembles the the start of the word “elephant” and Lepidote reminds gardeners of the word “leprechaun”.

We were reminded, like many of the plants we choose for our gardens, site conditions make a difference. Rhododendrons require quality soil with good drainage, thrive in acidic soil, and do well in some shade, although in Nova Scotia, full sun exposure is not an issue. Cora advised that “ the larger the leaf, the more shade the plant can tolerate” and reminded us that stiff winds can cause broad-leafed plants to suffer. Deciduous Azaleas, which drop their leaves in cold weather were suggested for windy sites .

 

Cora shared information on tending to the rhododendron family of plants, including planting, mulching, dead-heading.

 

Slides from several beautiful gardens.

 

Dave assisted with advice about propagating from cuttings.

Those who took cuttings home await spring results of their efforts.

Pictures thanks to Sandy and Brenda

For further information visit: Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society- www.atlanticrhodo.org

Spring Clean Up

Spring Clean Up

Chester Garden Club cares for two community gardens, the Cove Garden and the Parade Square Garden. Because gardens gradually overgrow their spaces , decisions for changes are made.

Today members gathered to work on the plan to re-design the Chester Parade Square Garden. Shrubs and perennials have been either pruned or removed.

A new garden path has been installed for better garden access and viewing. The new plan implementation will continue throughout the sping season.

 

click on any picture for slide show:

 

Following the volunteer gardening work event, lunch and a social gathering was enjoyed at Sylvia’s.

 

Thanks to everyone.

Putting Our Gardens to Bed

Putting Our Gardens to Bed

This is a beautiful time of year – leaves falling to the ground in colors of orange, red and yellow. Birds and other little critters running around doing their last minute preparations for winter, our greenhouse doors are closed and life begins to slow down just a little.

 

 

Herb Fraser, long time member and experienced gardener in many parts of the world reminded us that each zone and each garden is individually different and requires a plan. When we get our Zone 6a Chester Gardens gardens ready for winter they are prepared for an even more productive spring.

 

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Herb suggested this is a good time to take advantage of sales at local nurseries. The root bound plants can be teased and trimmed, possibly divided, watered well and planted for next seasons show.

We were reminded not to fertilize after mid August or cut back perennials too early as even though plants may appear dormant as fluctuating temperatures may stimulate the below surface activity and plants will produce new growth which will not be winter hardy. It is possible to divide and transplant perennials before the first heavy frost remembering they usually require about 4 to 6 weeks to settle in.

Following a couple of hard frosts, usually late October, early November in the Chester area, ensure that plants are well watered, especially evergreens which provide not only backdrop for our summer show but seasonal distinction and wind protection for our properties.

Thinking about our own gardens, Herb encouraged us to concentrate on clearing debris, checking for pests, damage and disease. It is a good time to weed, pull annuals, to compost any plants without disease, to save seeds such as Marigold, Zinnia, Sweet Peas, Morning Glory, Scarlet runner and to cut back to three or four inches perennials such as Siberian and Bearded Iris, Sweet Peas, Crocosmia, Bee balm. If you don’t cut your plants right to the ground, their stalks will hold new spring growth straighter.

Some gardeners choose plants to add visual interest to their gardens in winter and so leave some standing. Plants, including perennial grasses,ferns and sedems have a neat look, and the seeds of Joe Pye, echinacea and rudbeckia will attract and feed birds all winter.

We were reminded not to cut hardy geraniums or Hellebore.

Plant bulbs like daffodils and garlic now according to directions. The general rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to plant two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall.

One thing to always keep in mind is to remember it is all about soil. After the first hard frost, make big efforts to increase soil fertility by providing a fresh layer of mulch. Feeding and amending your soil with organic matter through the use of mulch, compost and other available materials (shredded leaves or seaweed, which is full of micronutrients that enrich the soil and feed the plants. And it’s free!) to increase the availability of the minerals in the soil and create more spaces for air and water will benefit next season’s production & show. Don’t put all those leaves in bags. Instead, run the lawn mower over them and use them as mulch or in your compost and the worms will help them enrich the soil. Also, now is the time to spread lime on lawns and gardens.

What about garden ponds/pools? Herb asked Joan C. to help members understand the winter care needed for garden pools. Joan reminded us that Goldfish and Koi are very hardy and can handle winter water temperatures which means they can survive in the pond during the winter as long as the pond is three feet or more deep, it doesn’t freeze solid and they have adequate water quality and oxygen.

Herb advised us to clean and service our gardening tools so they are in good condition for storage and to begin using next season, especially if we run out of time or the weather becomes challenging.

As a final note, we were encouraged to remember winter brings opportunities to enjoy warmth in front of our wood stoves or fireplaces planning for next gardening season.

Following the presentation and before the regular meeting there was time to view the artistic fall displays, for conversation and a snack.

 

 

Flower Show Practice

Flower Show Practice

This month’s meeting, Monday, July 20th, started early with a tour of Stewart M.’s charming garden. Please see the gallery below for some digital glimpses. Our regular club meeting concentrated on practice–practice making new designs. Members Myra K., Sydney S. and Jane W. lent their expertise to inspire us all to create floral arrangements with flair. Myra reviewed traditional mass designs and introduced us to the modern mass.

Characteristics of Traditional Mass Design

  • Generally a geometric shape
  • Stems radiating from a central point
  • Flowers equally distributed throughout the design
  • Smaller flowers (transitional) placed between larger ones with spaces between.
  • Design size approximately one to one and one half that of the largest dimension of the container.

Myra emphasized that this design type is already well known to CGC members.

Characteristics of Modern Mass Design

  • Bold containers in larger proportion than in Traditional design.
  • Few components in large forms.
  • No elements of transition as in traditional design.
  • Design has a sculptural feel and relies on sharp contrast.
  • Plant material is grouped to form a mass of volume.
  • Materials do not intermingle.
  • The sculptural form is three-dimensional and incorporates space, positive and negative.
  • It is recommended to use only three to five different elements.

Sydney demonstrated the assembly of a Parallel design. (A design in which three or more groupings are placed in a parallel manner with open spaces between the groupings. Parallel direction may vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Design is in one container of containers combined so as to appear as one unit.

Jane W. concluded by encouraging members to try their hand at cup and saucer designs which this year takes on a new tack—a design using a tea cup, not necessarily a design inside a tea cup. Be sure to check out the Show Schedule to decide which designs you intend to enter.

New this year as well — We have been asked to make our “reservations” for our entries to ensure space will be available.

The evening was capped off by another beautiful design—our snack table, ably fashioned by Joanne J. and Tom F.

Myra provided the following pictures of traditional and mass designs to aid you in your plant selections.  And, in case your missed it, enjoy the photo gallery of Stewart M.’s fabulous garden that we toured earlier in the evening.