Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Friendly Gardening Club

Earlier this summer a lady stopped in to see our gardens, in my absence.  She had noted I had a few daylilies on her drive by, and wanted to compare varieties.  I'm always anxious to see other people's gardens, so a few nights later we biked back the road to her place.  Never judge a book by its cover. 

She had told the Missus that she had about 75 varieties of tall bearded irises and the same or more of daylilies.  I had driven this road many times and never really noted any show-stopping display before. 

Bonnie met us at the door, in the midst of meal preparation, but graciously told us to go out back and enjoy the gardens by ourselves.  This was where the display lay.  Wow!  I'm really sorry, but I have not yet photographed this little bit of heaven.  I think I may interview her next year, and do a bang-up blog just on her and her gardens.  Too late this year to do it justice.

Visitors are met with the sound of trickling water as it cascades down a hill from a small reservoir at the top, to a lily pond at the bottom.  Gracing the sides of this feature, and around the entire border of the property are the aforementioned lilies and irises.  The daylilies were in pretty much peak bloom and there were some magnificent specimens, that I of course cast covetous glances upon - thou shalt not covet thy neighbours lilies, I know.

A couple of weeks back, I dug up several lilies and irises and took them back to Bonnie's.  At this point I received an invitation to come out to the local horticultural society's monthly meeting.  This is something I've always wanted to belong to, but never seemed to be able to swing it with shiftwork and busy schedules.  Well that and the fact that I did not know this particular club even existed.  I've actually been the guest speaker at a couple other clubs in the area, discussing our irises, but never became a regular attender.

So last night was the first fall meeting of the "Friendly Garden Club" held in a charming old stone library meeting room a couple of miles away.  I was a bit early, and Bonnie wasn't there until later.  It was a bit awkward, as I was an obvious newcomer.  However one of the ladies quickly mentioned, "oh you must be Bonnie's friend with all the tall bearded irises along the road."  Yep, that's me - well actually the irises are no longer along the road, but are now in their new raised beds on the weeping bed.

Not quite as visible from the road, but oh so much happier.

Then Bonnie arrived, bearing gifts - four fine potted daylily specimens, complete with names and descriptions - for me.  As well another member brought Ice Follies daffodil bulbs for the taking, and of course, as a visitor, I was offered first crack at them.  Baskets of tomatoes and amaryllis bulbs were also there for the taking - neither of which I had much need (as a couple bushels of ripe tomatoes lie composting in my garden).

Meeting came to order about ten minutes after seven - well I'm not sure came to order is the correct terminology, but there was a stellar stab at proper procedure! 

Since I was a newcomer, it was decided to do a round-the-table quick intro. Great plan except that it stalled at each person (not that I minded in the least).  First names, turned into favourite plants, types of gardens, locations, partners, and 'how do you stop the neighbour's dogs from peeing on my roses?(suggestions ranged from wire fences to electric fences, to some sort of device that fired rose thorns into offending pup's nether regions)'  So while I may not remember everyone's name, I can certainly recall something about them.  "Sorry, can't remember your name, but I know your sister broke her foot in four places, today."

Second order was deciding on the meeting place for the October session, since someone (not a board member) had unceremoniously ripped the venue out from under the club, in the name of a silent auction for the library.  It was quickly decided that it would be held at two of the members' home.  Then it was decided that it should be a pot-luck supper, in honour of this particular couples' exit.  Actually they are moving in to town, so it is not so much an exit, as a change of home for them.  I gather as founding members, they will be making the drive out from town to attend future meetings.

This was followed by a lively discussion on plant markers.  One of the ladies brought several specimens of handcrafted markers for perusal.  I'd have liked to jump in here, but as the newbie, I only mentioned the use of permanent cattle-ear-tag markers.
I'm a little anal about markers - note Schreiner's printed tag, white polymer tag, with permanent cow-tag marker, river stone with sign-painter's paint.  The only way I'm losing track here is if Hallowe'en pranksters (or male members of certain garden clubs) pay a visit.

Another member had an insect in a margarine tub which she had brought in.  She described it as a mosquito on steroids - an apt analogy.  Fortunately she had done a little internet research and brought a printout in for us to read on the Crane Fly.  Apparently this is another happy little refugee to North American soil, that is determined to wreak havoc with our lawns.  The larvae, known as leatherbacks, are voracious lawn-grass root eaters.  Something more for us gardeners to worry about, and worry we will.

And then suddenly people started getting up and going to the kitchen.  "We always bring a few treats."

Few treats - my eye!  There was a feast laid out to rival any UCW (United Church Women) ladies' Thanksgiving desert table - all manner of homemade pies and baked goodies. Apparently this is the norm for the monthly meeting.  I remarked to someone - "it's not so much a gardening club as an eating club."

"Well that is why most of the men come."  What a clever marketing strategy!  After all, we all know, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  I'm hooked.

This shot is just for Ghislaine - my few hosta specimens (she has 80+)

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. A table full of desserts, yes, that would convince my hubby to go also. Perhaps a glass of wine would help also.

    I am sure you will be a great addition to the garden club.


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