April 2018


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Let's all give hearty thanks for what is being called the "March Miracle" - our generous and lovely rain storms. While I appreciate them now, I hope the weather gnomes give us a break and provide sunshine for our Plant Sale. Our Club owes a debt of gratitude to those who provide the leadership for the Plant Sale, an annual major undertaking. Over the years, our coffers have been kept healthy due to the effort of those unsung heroes. This year Daniel McCright and Bill Tallon have done a sterling job of urging us all on to greater efforts in plant preparation and pulling together the incredible list of supplies that are needed to make the event successful. A big thank you to Bill and Daniel and to all their team members who lead this year's effort. A sincere and hearty appreciation to those providing a sea of plants for the sale and to those who will form the working army on plant sale day. Good luck to Plant Sale 2018!

A small but important ad hoc committee is busy preparing a slate of officers for 2018/19 to present to the membership at the April meeting. If you are called and asked to serve, please thoughtfully consider the request and understand our Club's success depends on many serving in leadership positions. Should you take a position, others who have served will be happy to mentor you. Please step forward and serve; it is a rewarding experience.

Dolores Bengtson, Co-President

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April Activities.................in the garden

...spring is definitely springing now, the March rains have made a big difference. Plants love that water from the sky even better than water from hoses. And you know what they say - if we have April showers it will bring even more May flowers. Happy thought!

...as the air warms up so will the soil, but the temperature of the soil is what determines the optimum time for planting, not air temperature. The soil needs to stay warm enough for seeds to germinate and roots to expand.

...our frosts should be over but if the wacky weather continues, be sure to protect newly planted items and keep them moist if temperatures threaten to go below the low 30's. Assuming the cold weather is over it is time to prune and cut back tender plants that might have gotten frost bit earlier. If you have spring flowering shrubs they should be pruned back right after they bloom. You can prune for shape and to take out any dead or crossing branches.

...although the bulb blooms may be over, be sure to leave leaves on in some manner to gather in nutrition for next year's blooms. You can flop them over and hold them down with the pin made from old wire hangers and hope the plants in front of them hide them or braid them very loosely to help them look tidier. If you had daffodils in pots you can plant them out in the ground while their leaves are still green and they will probably bloom for you there next year. Be sure to take off the spent bulb blooms so that they don't spend any energy making seeds and instead direct their efforts to feeding the bulbs for next year. This is a good time to fertilize the bulbs for the same reason.

...keep after the weeds while they are still very young and tender (you hope!) Ideal time is just after a light rain so their roots can be pulled or gotten up thoroughly. If you just cut off the top, most will come back to taunt you again.

...this is a great time to fertilize everything to encourage and strengthen the new growth. If you use your compost you will be feeding and mulching at the same time. Be sure that you use information on fertilizers that was written in the last few years as fertilizing and nutrition philosophies have changed a great deal.

...This is a good time to buy starter plants in 6 packs as they will have plenty of time and soil conditions to expand and grow. Water them well before taking them out of the 6 pack and be sure the area where you will plant them is also watered well. If the roots are very dense, cut them up the side so they won't just go round and round when they're planted and will spread out in the soil. A jolt of diluted fertilizer helps speed them on their way too.

...Garden tours will start this month - including our member garden tour! - so try to take advantage of as many as possible to get ideas for plant combinations and encouraging growing conditions. Be sure to ask before you take pictures and talk to the garden owners if they are present since most gardeners love to talk about their gardens and answer all the questions they can. A notebook to jot down names and ideas helps be sure that it will all be clear when you get back home.

...when you get your newly purchased plants home from the plant sale - and surely we are going to all buy at least a few to try out or supplement ones we already have - be sure to keep them happy. The Plant Sale is such a great opportunity to try out something you've been thinking about or read about. If it was at the Plant Sale, someone has made it grow around here so you should have success with it too. Hopefully we all followed the directions for making plant labels and we'll know what conditions they love and when they will likely bloom, or at least we'll get a name to look up in our best resources.

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