Sunday, August 31, 2008

Top 10 Reasons for Having a Nursery Bed

From Carol Eichler, chair:

  1. Evaluate a new plant; what is its growing habit? will it be invasive?

  2. Provide extra attention for an ailing plant

  3. Serve as a placeholder until a more permanent spot can be prepared

  4. Propagate cuttings or divisions (for our plant sales)

  5. Tend young seedlings

  6. Hold divisions until our plant sales

  7. Overwinter late acquisitions

  8. Carol recommends it.

OK, I lied. I only came up with 8, but maybe someone else can suggest some other reasons to make it 10.

Frederick Heutte Rock Garden dedication

From Carol Eichler, chair:

A drizzle of rain didn’t keep over 100 people away from the White Pine Camp Centennial celebration on Saturday, August 10th. The day kicked off with the dedication of the historic rock garden, not quite a 100 years old and nearly lost to obscurity but for the efforts of a determined group of people, spearheaded by Dick and Mary George.

The Green Dragon’s July-August issue chronicled our Chapter’s late contribution to the rock garden – a weekend of planting. When I returned on August 10th to participate in the dedication, I was anxious to see how everything fared. Fortunately, it had been a wet summer assuring the survival of almost everything we set in the ground. A couple choice shots are offered here to illustrate how well the plants have adapted as well as a photo of the ribbon-cutting. The garden herein is known as the Frederick Heutte Rock Garden to honor the man who designed the original garden in so many years ago.

Left to right, Dick George, Carol Eichler, Mary George, and Howard Kirschenbaum. Photo courtesy Ann Mullen.

Planting at Heutte Garden in an old stump.

More plantings at Heutte Garden.

From the chair

From Carol Eichler, chair.

As much as I hate to see summer end, there are always many things that I anticipate about the fall - cool crisp days, the angle of the sun in the early morning, and the transformation of our landscape from greens to golds, reds, and oranges.

September, too, means the resumption of our speaker programs and, trust, me, there is much to anticipate here this season. Robin Bell has lined up 3 excellent speakers in a row. You can read more about them in this newsletter and at our website. (Another eagerly awaited event is the start of the Kitchen Theatre Company’s new season, but that’s a topic for another time – and yes, a merciless plug for another of my passions.)

It has been a busy summer in the garden and there are still projects on my list that I haven’t gotten to and more busy days ahead – pushing well into November - before I put the garden to bed, if Mother Nature is kind to us. I admit that sometimes for a moment I’m almost relieved when I put my hand tools away for the last time. No more aching back, dirty knees, and calloused hands.

Give me a week and an uncertain restlessness begins to overcome me knowing it will be a long dormant season. Longing to get back to the garden. I’ll try to content myself with the garden catalogs that start to arrive (earlier each year it seems) until at last it’s time to sow seeds from the NARGS seed exchange and, like the seeds themselves, a part of me comes alive and I am again in my element among my friends in the plant world.

Back to the present, I look forward to our September meeting and seeing you all again.

Good gardening,


2009 NARGS Eastern Winter Study Weekend

The Potomac Valley Chapter will host the 2009 Eastern Winter Study Weekend January 30 through February 1 at the Sheraton Reston Hotel, Reston, Virginia.

Featured speakers include:

  • Tony Avent, proprietor of Plant Delights Nursery, North Carolina.
  • Peggy Olwell, Bureau of Land Management and Plant Conservation Alliance, Washington, D.C., on how climate changes may affect gardeners.
  • Judith and Dick Tyler, Pine Knot Farms, Clarksville, Virginia, on their experiences collecting, propagating and growing hellebores.
  • Mark Bridgen, Cornell University, New York, on his experiences collecting and breeding Chilean geophytes.
  • Nick Turland, Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis, Missouri, on Mediterranean plants.
  • Richard Critz, former editor of the Primrose Journal on maintaining primulas in warmer gardens.
  • J.P. (Koos) Roux, Curator of the Compton Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Cape Town, South Africa, on South African Flora.
  • Bill McLaughlin, curator, United States Botanic Garden, on mid-Atlantic and other natives for rock and dry gardens.
  • Richard Olsen, researcher at the U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C., on new plant introductions, particularly woodies.
Breakout sessions include:
  • Plant photography in the digital age.
  • Current issues in plant and seed importation.
  • Gravel gardening in hot and humid areas.
For more info and to register, visit:

Metal artist to speak on Wrought Iron in the Garden

Durand Van Doran, Trumansburg, N.Y. metal artist, will speak at our fall kick-off program September 20 on Wrought Iron in the Garden. One of Durand's most recent works is the gate at the west end of Minns Garden outside the Plant Science Building on the Cornell University campus. (View images.) The meeting will be held in the Whetzel Room, 404 Plant Science Building, Cornell University. Brown bag lunch at noon. Program starts at 1 p.m.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

News from National

NARGS National is seeking a Chapter to assume the responsibilities for Phase 4 of the Seed Exchange. This part of our fabulous international seed exchange involves packaging 2nd round requests for surplus seed, a much, much smaller group by far than those in the initial round. The overview of what this entails is outlined below.

Your Chapter Chair, Carol, is putting out the call to you - the Adirondack Chapter - to solicit interest in assuming this important role for National. Please respond to Carol if this looks like something that you would be willing to volunteer for. I know that you've had great participation and in fact enjoyed helping out with Phase 1 which is much more tedious (counting, packaging and labeling seeds).

Also, there's need for a place to set up and for several large tables. If you have a space, again, please contact Carol. It may be possible with enough volunteers to compress this operation into fewer days. Carol's contact info: or 607-387-5823. Thus far leads from other Chapters had led us to dead-ends. Thank you for your consideration.

Description of Phase 4, Seed Exchange

Surplus Seed Distribution (aka Second Round) takes place in mid- March, working a few hours to set up, three to four full days (depending on number helping) filling orders, a couple hours distributing the remaining seed to chapters, and, lastly, dismantling. The Great Lakes Chapter worked one Sunday at the beginning for set up and started processing orders, then two to four weekdays (~1-8pm) the first two weeks-with most volunteers working in four hour shifts. The last week they worked one weekday to finish orders and the final day (a few days after the deadline for orders) was for any late orders, dividing the remaining seed among the requesting chapters, and dismantling and storing supplies till next year.

This project can be done by 10-12 volunteers working multiple shifts, or up to 25 individuals. Our set up was ideal for 3-6 people each shift to avoid getting in each others way - but the optimal number can vary considerably based on your set-up. Approximately 33 table feet is required (for ex. 5 six foot tables and a card table - enough tables to hold the seed trays, 1 table for preparing orders for shipping, 1 table for repacking, and the card table for logging orders as they arrive. More tables would allow you to spread out the work more and would help accommodate more volunteers.