Sunday, October 26, 2008

2008 plant sales report

From David Mitchell (plant sales co-coordinator) and BZ Marranca (plant sales co-coordinator and treasurer):

It was another good year in plant sales. Although our April seedling exchange is free, side sales totaled about $200. The May sale at the high school brought in a record $2,955. (Special thanks to all who helped in my absence.) Our members-only sale in August raked in $592, bringing the total for the year to $3,747.

Thank you to all who donated quality plants, bought plants and pitched in to help run the sales.

Chapter to coordinate Round 2 Seed Exchange

From Carol Eicher, chair:

After much deliberation, our Chapter has committed to coordinating NARGS’ Round 2 Seed Exchange Surplus Distribution which takes place over two to three weeks in March.

We have found vacant lab space at Cornell where we can set up and a number of you have expressed interest in helping. We will need more helpers and we’ll be putting out the call when we establish our work dates.

We’ll be filling orders – generally about 250 –coming from all over the world. It should be fun and a great opportunity to socialize at a time of year when we’re itching to get outdoors and garden.

We’ll need someone to step up to coordinate this project. Might that be you? Stay tuned.

Sneak peek at 2009 program plans

Plans are well underway for our 2009 programs. Here's a sneak peek at the tentative schedule:

Feb. 21: Members share meeting will feature Barb Hamlin who attended her first NARGS National Conference in Ottawa and is eager to share photos taken from the field trips in natural areas offering great biodiversity and presentations by other Chapter members.

March 21: Rock Garden Basics workshop. Learn the basics of soil mixes, construction and plants from Chapter experts and invited guests.

April 25: Michael Shadrack will speak on Miniature Hostas. Michael has been a member of the British Hosta and Hemerocallis Society for twelve years and is currently their Chairman and Bulletin Editor. He is also a member of the American Hosta Society. His interest in photography has led to a library of nearly 3,200 hosta images, many of which have been published in books, magazines and catalogs. He has co-authored with Diana Grenfell two wonderful Timber Press books: The Color Encyclopedia of Hostas and The Pocket Guide to Hostas.

May 16: Plant sale at Ithaca High School

May TBD: Tour of Ithaca gardens.

June TBD: 2-night trip to the Philadelphia area to visit Chanticleer and private gardens.

Aug. 15: Members-only plant sale and tour of Cornell Plantations.

Sept. 19: Michael Loos, horticulture educator with Ohio State University Cooperative Extension, Cuyahoga County and active NARGS member on What's Wrong with my Plants? Rx for Ailing Plants and Best Cultivation Practices. We plan to meet at Billie Jean Isbell's garden for some hands-on troubleshooting.

October: Program TBD.

Nov. 14: Annual meeting, dish-to-pass and presentation by Donald J. Leopold on Native Plants for the Naturalistic Garden. Leopold has been studying native plants for nearly 30 years. In 1985, he joined the Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Currently, he is Distinguished Teaching Professor at SUNY. Dr. Leopold has published five books, including Native Plants of the Northeast, Trees of New York and Landowner's Guide to State-Protected Plants of Forests in New York State co-authored with D. J. Raynal.

From the chair

From Carol Eichler, chair:

Fall is a good time for taking stock. As I walk about my garden this time of year I’m taking notes about what worked, what didn’t, what things I need to address in the spring. Everything is so lush and full it’s hard to imagine the transformation that comes with winter or to remember, come spring, this moment in time.

So too, it’s time to take stock of our Chapter’s year. It has been a busy one – and a good one. If I were to describe the year, what stands out for me is the addition of a greater-than-average number of new members. Wow! It was also a stellar year for our plant sales. This issue includes a report from our various Board members and serves as our annual report. This a very hard-working, dedicated group so please take a moment to thank them for all that they do. I know I am eternally grateful for the privilege of working with them all.

I hope their reports will invoke memories of your gardening year and ways in which our Chapter enhanced your knowledge and experience. For my part I am reporting that this year ends my second term as Chair and so I am stepping down or should I say Billie Jean Isbell is stepping up, with your vote at the annual meeting in November, to serve as Chair for the next 2-year term. Many of you know Billie Jean. She has wonderful ever-evolving gardens including several rock gardens, water features, and wonderful mixed border plantings. The Chapter will be in very capable hands.

This issue of GD also offers a preview of our coming program year. You will get a chance to see Billie Jean’s garden, in fact, if you attend our September 2009 program.

Please come to our November meeting, scheduled on the third Saturday of the month, November 15th. We are breaking with tradition by offering a speaker program. Tony Reznicek will present two talks sandwiched (no pun intended) between our traditional dish-to-pass luncheon. It should be a great way to end a great year.

Happy gardening,


Sunday, October 5, 2008

October newsletter

The printer-friendly .pdf of the October 2008 issue of Green Dragon Tales is now online.

Ginseng workshop in Norwich October 16

Growing Ginseng in Central New York
Presented by Bob Beyfuss, Cornell Cooperative Extension Specialist for American Ginseng Production
October 16, 2008, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Cost: $15 per farm/family- Includes The Practical Guide to Growing Ginseng, by Bob Beyfuss
At DCMO BOCES Norwich Campus

Ginseng is a native herb that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. This forest grown crop has been harvested and exported since the 1700’s and continues to be a cash crop today. Growing Ginseng in Central New York will review the process of cultivating ginseng, as well as site selection, harvesting and marketing cultivated ginseng, and the rules and regulations of harvesting wild ginseng. This workshop will not include medicinal uses of ginseng.

If you’re interested in growing ginseng in your woodlot for income or pleasure register today by calling 607-334-5841. Please register by October 15, 2008. (There is a field and a classroom portion of this class- rain or shine :)

Contct info:

J. Rebecca Hargrave
Community Horticulture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County
99 N. Broad St.
Norwich, NY 13815
607-334-5841 x 16
fax: 607-336-6961

Norman Singer Endowment

From Beverly Shafer, Norman Singer Endowment Fund Chair (via Carol Eichler):

The Norman Singer Endowment Fund is requesting applications for grants for 2009. Next year NARGS will be celebrating it's 75th anniversary. The Endowment Fund was begun by Norman Singer on the occasion of the 50th year of the American Rock Garden Society. The Fund "is intended to be a resource in support of special, one-time projects that advance the art and science of rock gardening." Many types of projects have been supported - from publications, rock garden construction and preservation, public education, and seed collection.

Please make your members aware of the Fund and encourage anyone with an appropriate project to apply. The guidelines are on the NARGS website ( If you have any questions please contact me. Also, please note that the application deadline is January 16th due to the early date of the Annual Meeting.

Thank you,

Beverly Shafer
Norman Singer Endowment Fund Chair
Box 428
Etna, CA 96027

Reminder: NARGS 2008-2009 Seed Exchange

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator:

If you are a member of the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS, the national organization of which our Adirondack Chapter is a part), then this article is relevant. NARGS normally has a seed exchange every winter, which is a great opportunity to obtain seed of plants from around the globe, some of which would not be available through any other means. This year NARGS is not mailing out a Seed List to all NARGS members; instead, NARGS will have the Seed List posted on its website: by December 15, 2008. NARGS members should have gotten a postcard advising of the change in routine.

NARGS will have a limited number of printed copies of the Seed List for those with no (or slow) internet access. For a printed copy of the seed list, email your request to, or mail the request to:

Laura Serowicz
NARGS Seed List
15411 Woodring
Livonia, MI 48154-3029

Requests for a printed copy of the seed list must be received by November 15, 2008.

Please note: this opportunity is only available to NARGS members. If you are a member of the Adirondack Chapter, but not a NARGS member, this is a perk that will make it worth joining.

National meeting canceled

From Dick Bartlett, NARGS (national) president:

The Calgary 2009 Annual meeting has been canceled. Therefore, it is urgent that the following announcement be included in your next newsletter:

Since the NARGS' Annual 2009, Calgary meeting has been canceled, the NARGS annual business meeting has been moved to the Western Winter Study Weekend in Portland, Oregon. This WWSW will be held on March 13-15, 2009. Because the meeting will be in March, all proposed awards and business reports need to be prepared earlier.

It is very important that this information get out to all those people who may be considering attending the Annual meeting so they do not make travel plans to the wrong location.

Proposed 2009 Chapter Officers

From Carol Eichler, chair:

Our by-laws state that the Nominating Committee will designate its nominees for officers at the October meeting. Additionally nominees may be taken from the floor at the October meeting. Our Chapter has four officers, Chair, Vice Chair/Program, Secretary, and Treasurer. Only the Chair and Vice Chair/Program Chair are up for election this year.

Billie Jean Isbell has agreed to run for Chair and Donna Kraft to serve as the Vice Chair/Program Chair. Our membership is welcome to nominate other candidates. Elections will take place at the annual meeting which will be held on the 3rd Saturday of the month, November 15th.

From the chair

From Carol Eichler, chair:

Here are some thoughts for a gray day.

As I was weeding my driveway this summer, more than once the thought came to me that I might be at best a little fanatical, at worst – do I dare think that I could be – crazy? Well, it seemed like I had a good reason – the weeds from the driveway spoiled the effect of my tended areas that met at the driveway’s edge. All I could notice were those nasty, uninvited dandelions, knotweed, purslane, spurge, plantain and more. My eventual solution? I decided to top sow white clover along the edges, which is not nearly so offensive to my sensitive eye and I fully expect it to be a solution I will live to regret. Anyway, it did raise a question: When do I stop weeding?

Living in the country as I do, my gardens are defined more by own limitations, rather than by property boundaries. In fact, much of my maintenance efforts seem to be aimed at trying to keep the wildness of forest and field from infringing. Every spring when everything seems to need attention at once, I say to myself, “This is too much, something has to give.” When do I stop developing new plantings?

Then there is the maintenance issue – mulching, edging, weeding, then edging again. At some point in my day what I consider “that which I do for fun” becomes tough-it-out work, as I drive myself to come to some closure at day’s end. The heat, the bugs, the dirt (I am not a neat gardener) all start to get to me. When do I call it a day?

The fall is another time when the garden places its extreme demands. I’m torn between enjoying the last of the lush growth and straggling blooms with tackling garden clean-up before cold temps make the task miserable. When do I put away the tools and call it a season?

When does a gardener say when?

See you at the October meeting!


Species tulips October Plant of the Month

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator:

For our October plant of the month, we will have bulbs of two species Tulips, T. clusiana ‘Lady Jane’ and T. linifolia. Both are small enough for the rock garden.
  • T. clusiana ‘Lady Jane’ has delicate two tone flowers, rosy red outside and white inside. Height 12 inches.
  • T. linifolia has narrow leaves with red edges and scarlet red flowers with black bases. Height 6 inches.
Plant species tulips 4 to 5 inches deep in well drained soil. Both are hardy to zone 4.

Heucheras: September 'Plant of the Month'

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator:

Our September 2008 plant of the month was hybrid Heuchera (Coral Bells). Heuchera is a genus which includes at least 4 species native to the U.S., including H. villosa native to the Southeastern U.S., and H. sanguinea, native to the Southwestern U.S.

The 4 cultivars we purchased are: ‘Caramel’, ‘Miracle’, ‘Obsidian’, and ‘Hollywood’. ‘Caramel’ and ‘Miracle’ are hybrids of H. villosa by Thierry Delabroye. ‘Obsidian’ and ‘Caramel’ are hybrids created by Terra Nova nurseries. Since our plants did not sell out at the September meeting, we will have all 4 cultivars for sale at the October 18th meeting.

Heucheras have a long season of interest, with the colorful foliage carrying the show.

  • ‘Caramel’ has leaves of a golden caramel color with red undersides with cream flowers. Height 8 inches, 24 inches in flower, width15 -18 inches.
  • ‘Miracle’ has leaves that emerge chartreuse that mature to brick red with a chartreuse edge and silver undersides, with pink flowers. Height 8 inches, 15 inches in flower, width 12 -14 inches.
  • ‘Obsidian’ has smooth, dark purple leaves with ivory flowers. Height 10 inches, 24 inches in flower, width 12 – 18 inches.
  • ‘Hollywood’ has maroon tinted foliage mottled with silver and coral pink flowers, and is a rebloomer. Height 8 inches, 16 inches in flower, width 10 -15 inches.
Heucheras are easy to grow, and well adapted to our climate. They should be planted in full sun to part shade, in well drained, moisture retentive soil. The pink flowered cultivars will be attractive to hummingbirds.

Trillium expert to speak at Native Plant Society

From Rosemarie Parker:

John Geyer will be speaking on trilliums to the Finger Lakes Native Plant Society (FLNPS) on November 20th, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca. All are welcome!

John is known to many in our ACNARGS chapter, and so many of us enjoy trilliums. I understand that John spoke at one of our meetins a few years ago, but it was on a different topic. Contact me for more information:

Welcome to these new members of our Chapter!

From Carol Eichler, chair:

Debra Brock
Robert Dean
Carol Anne Gallagher
Linda Levine
Cindy Lion
Emily Makepeace
Harold Peachey and Marie Greener
Giselle Schatz
Debra Statton
Lynn Yenkey