Garden clubs prepare for spring

Region 10 Spring Regional Meeting

The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, Region 10, Spring Regional Meeting is April 19 at Shawnee State Park and Resort Lodge. Slocum and Portsmouth Garden Clubs are hosting the festivities.

Region 10 encompasses Pike, Scioto, Lawrence and Adams counties. Sheila Tackett, Region 10 director, will conduct the daylong meeting, which features a presentation “What’s New for Spring” by the employees of Imal’s Greenhouses, Greenup, Ky. The after-lunch program, “The Mindful Gardener,” will feature Andrea Moore, nature educator at Hocking Hills State Park.

Specialty baskets will be auctioned, and attendees will showcase artistic designs and horticulture specimens in the flower show competition “Greening It Up.”

Lucasville Valley Garden Club

It is pleasant to visualize the first blooms of spring in cold and rainy February, and the program for Lucasville Valley Garden Club was “How to Plant and Care for Spring Bulbs.”

Spring bulbs ideally should be planted in the late fall, and they are low maintenance for several years. However, both spring and summer bulbs need phosphorous to encourage root development. Keep in mind that phosphorous moves very little once applied to the soil. Some bulbs are planted 6 to 8 inches deep. The phosphorus needs to be mixed in the soil below where the bulbs will be located, thus being utilized by the bulb roots. If you are developing a new bed, mix bonemeal or superphosphate with the soil of the planting bed. If bulbs are going to be maintained in a planting bed more than one year, it is important to supply additional fertilizer. Spring flowering bulbs should have five tablespoons of 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer (or equivalent bulb fertilizer) plus two cups of bonemeal per 10 square feet, mixed into the soil in the fall. As soon as the shoots break through the ground in the spring, repeat the above soluble fertilizer application. Do not fertilize spring flowering bulbs after they have started flowering. This tends to encourage the development of bulb rot, and sometimes shortens the life of the flowers. Bulbs should be planted two or three times as deep as they are tall. The bulb bed should be covered with two or three inches of mulch. Mulch will help minimize temperature fluctuation and maintain an optimal moisture level in the planting bed. Spring bulbs become dormant during the summer, and can be dug and stored until fall. At least every five years, spring bulb plantings need to be dug, inspected and replanted to avoid overcrowding.

The meeting was held in the home of Melanie Hawk, and Coleen Crabtree and Barbara Smith served as hostesses.President Joan Adaway conducted the business meeting, receiving several reports. Work assignments for Route 23 North Flower Plot were discussed, and a bric-a-brac auction was held.

March meeting will be the club’s annual anniversary dinner at Ritchie’s in Piketon.

Minford Garden Club

The Minford Garden Club conducted a dinner meeting at the home of Diane Allen. Early discussion concerned the clubs community outreach program, “The Hen House Designers.”The program leader is Irmalee Gampp, and she provides the venue and the design tutoring free of charge, at at 10 a.m. the first Thursday of the month at her home. Attendees receive hands-on advice in floral design. The current topic is the Ohio Association of Garden Club’s Regional Flower Show in April. Classes are informative and fun.

The business meeting was conducted by President Brenda Covert, and she discussed plans for a new theme for the 2018 Shawnee Lodge Christmas decorations. Minford Garden Club has traditionally provided the fireplace decorations. A planning committee will be working to formulate new outstanding décor. Travel plans were also discussed, as the club has scheduled a trip to the Columbus Home and Garden Show.

Also in the planning stage are plans for an 80th club anniversary later in 2018.

Rebecca Dodson provided the program, “ Battling Mice, Moles and Voles.” Do I Have Moles? Nearly anybody can answer that question by looking at the damage to their lawn where mounds of dirt seem to wind and twine in all directions. Moles are carnivorous, and they are looking for worms and grubs, not plant roots. Voles, however, will trespass into the mole tunnels to dine on the exposed roots. There seems to be “private mole tunnels” frequented by only one mole, and “highway” tunnels that are used by several moles. The mole uses his front paws to excavate the dirt and pack it along the side of the tunnel, leaving extra dirt, which he pushes upward to the surface. Research has found that they are nearly blind, only sensing light, and they work on a four-hour shifts, eating 70 to 100 percent of their body weight each day, and that’s a lot of worms. They can dig 12 to 15 feet of tunnel per hour. If you have a well-maintained lawn and garden, you probably have moles. The only solution is a mole trap, placed inside the tunnel, or a chemical that kills the grubs, eliminating the food supply. They can and do damage the lawn, but also can tunnel under sidewalks, and driveways, weakening those structures as well.

Covert ended the meeting with a horticulture tip, “Houseplant leaves can be dusted with a soft damp cloth.”

Slocum Garden Club

It is so easy to complain that we have nothing exciting available in our area. However, Park Naturalist Jenny Richards dazzled members of Slocum Garden Club with her presentation concerning migrating birds. In early May, thousands of spectators gather on the boardwalks of Magee Marsh at Lake Erie in northeast Ohio to witness a phenomenon of bird migration like no other on Earth. This particular marsh is one of the few locations where hundreds of species converge for a short rest before flying on to their summer northern homes. Richards explained that residents of southern Ohio are treated to the same visits in March and April when as at least 52 species rest in Shawnee State Forest. And we can observe this show in our own backyard for free. Richards showed bird photos taken by park staff, as she described the unique characteristics of song, mating and nesting behaviors, nutrition and survival tactics of park birds.

Brooks Sexton also had a “for the birds” program in which she provided information about plants, seeds and berries, which attract birds to the backyard. She emphasized the need to provide flora native to the area, i.e., sunflower, corn, thistle and peanut seeds; and sunflowers, salvia, foxglove, morning glory, bee balm, black-eyed susan and thistle plants. Even trees, such as the crab apple, spruce, red cedar, dogwood, pine and holly, can attract birds. Sexton suggested having a messy garden as an avian benefit, also raking leaves under shrubs and piling brush to provides shelter for birds and the insects they eat. Birds thrive in a prairie setting with a nearby woods. Also a water source is ideal.

Club president Carla Scifres closed the presentation of “Our Feathered Friends” with a hint to fill bird feeders and clean birdhouses to offer room and board to the returning migratory species. Everyone should look for a fascinating show as birds wing their way north to summer breeding grounds.

Scifres welcomed guests Tammy De’Jarnette and Magan Buckler, and received club reports, encouraging discussion. Scifres noted a number of coming events: The Ohio Association of Garden Club’s Exhibitor’s and Judge’s School April 9-10 at Deer Creek State Park, “Henhouse Designer’s Workshop” April 5 at the home of Irmalee Gampps and the Region 10 Spring Regional Meeting Apirl 19 at Shawnee State Park Lodge.

Mary Lou Beaumont and Shelby Powell conducted a garden therapy session at River Bend House Assisted Living Center in Wheelersburg. Activities centered around Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year and the 2018 Winter Olympics. Residents made miniature “garden in a cup” deserts, and photo frames. The session closed with a Mardi Gras parade through the facility.

The club is planning several events to celebrate Arbor Day in April. And, in anticipation of the Scioto County Fair, members received seeds for the yard-long Asparagus Bean. Members will plant the seeds and grow their plants for judging at the fair.

Spring is coming. Why not plan a visit to Shawnee State Park for a bird watching hike with Jenny Richards? Call the park office or go online for a schedule of planned events there. Consider joining Friends of Shawnee State Park, where citizens assist in finding funds, which allow the expansion of educational activities. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, offers music CDs of Ohio’s birds, waterfowl and warblers, free of charge.

Slocum Garden Club welcomes new members. Call 750-352-9046 for additional information.