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Region Garden Clubs hold spring meeting

Regional Garden Clubs met for a daylong meeting on April 19 at Portsmouth Convention & Visitors’ Center. Regional Director, Susan Thomas, Waverly Garden Club conducted the short business meeting and welcomed several state officers of the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs. The host club, Slocum Garden Club featured Ohio’s native plants in honor of the guest speakers, Dr. Frank Porter, Racine Ohio and Jenny Richards, Naturalist from Shawnee State Forest.

Dr. Porter highlighted the many wonderful plants that are considered “native” to Ohio. And Richards enthusiastically spoke about the plants that are “native” to Shawnee Forest. Ohio is most fortunate in our thriving flora, moderate temperatures, and adequate rainfall.

Members from all regional clubs, including gardeners from Scioto, Pike, Adams, and Lawrence were treated to a tour of the Clark Planetarium for the morning program, where members learned about the earth’s rotation, beginning in the lobby. The Sunoco pendulum is located in the lobby and it has a 82 kilogram brass weight called a “bob”, attached to an 8.1 meter cable made of aircraft control wire. It is modeled after the Foucault pendulum, the first experimental display to demonstrate the actual earth’s rotation on its axis. The pendulum’s motion is maintained by an electromagnet and is designed to maintain its swing in the original plane of motion, as its swing demonstrates in passing over a different point on the base. Club members were impressed with the technology displayed in a program on hemispheric black holes.

Several vendors were in attendance, and handcrafted items were raffled to round out an interesting and informative meeting. Visitors were provided with CDs of Ohio birds, warblers and owls, and information on Ohio’s native and invasive plants, courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Lucasville Garden Club

April is the anniversary celebration for Lucasville Garden Club and this year they are celebrating 72 years as a community active club. They were first organized in 1940. Co-hostesses for the event at Giovanna’s in Lucasville, were Elizabeth Comer and Joyce Howard.

Joan Adaway, President was in charge of the business meeting and welcomed two honorary members and a guest, Angie Short. Business reports were discussed. Spring work assignments were discussed, as the club is responsible for the roadside garden at the Rt. 23/Rt.348 intersection.

The horticulture report, Edible Flowers, was given by Melanie Hawk. An edible flower is one that can be safely consumed. Edible flowers may be used fresh, or preserved for future use by drying, freezing, or steeping in oil. They are used in drinks, jellies, salads, soups, syrups and even main dishes. Flower-flavored oils and vinegars are produced by steeping the petals in these liquids. Candied flowers are crystallized using egg whites and sugar. Some edible flowers are carnations, nasturtiums, dandelions, and carnation petals can spice up desserts, salads and liqueurs. However, some flowers are toxic, and others may be edible only after appropriate preparations, so care is needed. Allergic reactions are possible, especially from pollen, and it is possible that a pesticide has been used.

Comer won the club prize for her Crocus specimen and Grace Koch won the ribbon for her spring design.

Portsmouth Garden Club

Lunch and gardening is the perfect combination and the April meeting of the Portsmouth Garden Club featured both, with a luncheon hosted by Joyce Coakley in the beautiful community center at Forest Hills, and bouquets of multi-colored Azaleas on each table.

The program was conducted by Shelby Powell and featured “Flowers of the Bible”. Roses are mentioned many times in the Bible. Botanists are now agreed, after re-examining Greek and Hebrew documents from which the Scriptures were translated, that a narcissus, a crocus, a rock rose and an oleander were variously referred to as “roses”. Other than the blossoms on flowering shrubs and trees, such as the almond tree, only two other flowers are mentioned in the Bible; the lily and the camphire.

The camphire mentioned in the Song of Solomon is a Himalayan plant, from which they extracted perfume and ointment ingredients from its roots. It does not resemble our American spikenard, a common woodland plant.

Actually Palestine 3000 years ago had different climate and was a fertile area with many palm trees and a profusion of wildflowers. Jesus, although he spoke of the vine, the orchard, and the garden, only mention one flower, the lily. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Modern scholars believe that at least five or six kinds of plants are referred to as lilies. Undoubtedly, one of them is the yellow flag, an iris common in the Holy Land. Botanists are convinced that “lilies of the field”were actually the chamomile, a plant with a daisy-like flower. The lilies in the Song of Solomon are now regarded as probably a deep blue hyacinth that is native in Palestine and Lebanon. Also, native to that area and growing wild is the white Madonna lily, used as the traditional symbol of Easter.

Donna Chabot was in charge of the business meeting and received the reports. Brenda Wooten was appointed chairman of the Native Flowerbed Project at Shawnee State Park Camp Store. Prizes were won by Chabot for a blue ribbon tulip and by Donna Warnock for a beautiful floral design with wheat grass and white lilacs.

Alison Barrett provided valuable information in the Horticulture report, concerning the summer chore of watering and weeding. A good spring plan of providing large pots, with amended soil, topped with mulch will help alleviate some of the work. Weeds do hijack nutrients and moisture from your flowers, and the most effective solution is to remove it, roots and all. During dry periods when it is necessary to water, one should deep water at the root level, and preferably in the morning hours.

On the Road With Slocum Garden Club

Slocum Garden Club took an April trip to Jackson County greenhouses at the 4 Mile Amish Greenhouses, for a preview of early spring flowers and later in the afternoon they continued to Stakers’ Greenhouses in Stockdale for purchases of bee balm plants for their gardens and to share. In keeping with the topic for the April meeting they sought plants that attract the hummingbirds and also splendid coleus plants that might be used in the horticultural competition at the Scioto County Fair Flower Show in August. Scioto County Clubs will be competing for the best coleus tree in that Fair Flower Show. It is never too early to plan and the Scioto County Fair flower show schedule was distributed and discussed. Several new categories are scheduled.

Items discussed during the luncheon business meeting, conducted by Mary Lou Beaumont, were the club’s hosting duties at the April Regional Meeting and a sales table of handmade “treasures” for that meeting. The garden therapy committee reported assisting residents of Best Care Nursing Facility with planting seeds for use later in selected beds at the facility.

Rose Mary Montavon provided the horticulture program, “Plants Which Attract Hummingbirds”. Beginning with the premise that hummingbirds are most attracted to the color red. She advised that research has proved a challenge this assumption. Hummingbirds have virtually no sense of smell and, as a compensation are blessed with excellent vision. Actually they feed by sight on regularly followed routes, called traplining and their inquisitive nature leads them to investigate any possible new source of food, regardless of color. A pesticide free environment assures the availability of small insects that the hummer relies on for protein and prevents the tiny birds from the dangers of chemicals. Providing a host of flowers that bloom at different times assures an abundance of nectar, and if the gardener uses flowers with little fragrance, they will attract hummers, but not insects.

Flowers preferred by hummingbirds produce large amounts of nectar and are shaped to accommodate their long bills. The most popular flowers include bleeding hearts, columbine, desert trumpet, scarlet creeper, trumpet vine, bee balm, impatiens, petunias, coral-bells, butterfly bush, salvia and cannas. One must consider the environment best suited for each plant, and always avoid invasive plants such as the Japanese honeysuckle.

Many of the mentioned plants are native to Ohio and should be included in our landscapes. An example is the bee balm. The correct classification for the red bee balm plant is Monarda didyma, while the balm with lavender flowers is classified as Monarda fistulosa. It is an herbaceous perennialand a member of the mint family. Its aromatic leaves have culinary and medicinal uses. The red bee balm is indigenous to eastern North America and produces clusters of scarlet, tubular flowers in mid to late summer. It has a long blooming season and grows in height to three or more feet. It will attract the hummers, but is also loved by butterflies and bees. People enjoy the unique taste of plant in tea and medicinally it is used as a wash for rashes.

In May the club is planning a visit to the Adena Mansion in Chillicothe. New members are always welcomed to this club and additional information is available at 776 4005.

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