APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS
For our club, tradition dictates that we put on a flower show in May. The show is truly about tradition. For many years, the HSSJ has carefully planned and executed a Spring Flower Show. Weeks ahead of time, our members are asked to ‘chair’, ‘co-chair’, ‘clerk’ and to ‘stage’ the entries. ‘Set up’ and ‘Ribbons’ also require volunteers. Three to four judges are hired to study, critique and award prizes for our entries. The only requirement is that all entrants must be paid up members of the club. Visitors are most definitely welcome to come and enjoy the show and take home great ideas for their gardens.
In the last few years, we have brought photography into the show. The theme typically has to be a photo taken in the South Jersey area. The entries must be 8 x 10, matted, but cannot be framed (too much weight). Garden flowers are the preferred shots. We have a large board that Gwenne Baile’s husband put together for us. The board remains permanently in Tilelli Hall because it is too large to transport back and forth for shows.
To say that the evening of the show is chaotic would be putting it mildly. Members and helpers are bringing in their entries, filling out their own tickets, trying to keep track of their entries, assisting those who need a little help and then finally, waiting for the judging to be over. They also may have other routine tasks that they perform at each meeting. Some members even remember to bring in snacks for the food table. Any way you look at it, it’s chaotic – but fun.
I am always amazed at the variety of entries that come through the door. Prized possessions are offered up for a ribbon and also I think for the sheer enjoyment of members. Are we showing off? - You better believe it.
We are dazzled with the largest entries you could imagine down to the most delicate single stem that is offered. We even have a Miniature section that is very challenging. Vegetables and fruits are also exhibited.
In addition to the first, second and third prizes, an overall Best of Show is awarded for the total number of points received that evening for Arrangements, Specimens and House Plants. The Clara Gutowski Trophy is awarded to the top winner. The winner keeps the trophy for one year and turns it over (somewhat reluctantly?) for the next year’s Spring Flower Show winner.
Our members get very excited by this show at the chance of winning a ribbon. Newer members to the club get very good ideas about what they, too, could bring in and exhibit. The evening is most certainly a learning experience. We take for granted the plants in our own homes but others are thrilled to see something so special and perhaps that they have never seen before.
Some of our more environmentally minded members even hand in their ribbons to be recycled for the next show!
Come out and enjoy the Spring Flower Show with us.
FLOWER SHOW WINNERS
The HSSJ had a very exciting show in September. 213 entries were submitted for the show. That might be a record!Best In Show ribbons were awarded in the following categories:Arrangements - Marietta Loercher for What's Growing in Your GardenPotted Plants - Vito Squadrito for his CactusSpecimen - Vito Squadrito for his Elephant EarPhotography - April WeaverThe Evelyn Pierce Trophy was awarded to Vito Squadrito. Vito earned a cumulative total of 88points and has set a new level of competition for our club. We can't wait for the spring show!!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the show and who served on the flower show committee
GARDENING FROM THE INSIDE
Most people can’t wait for the NY Times to print their Summer reading book list. But us garden-ers are too busy in warm weather for leisurely reading, right? What gardeners need is a Winter reading book list. So I scoured the internet to find a few of the best books to read during a gardener’s downtime. Here are a few excerpts of reviews on recently published gardening books. — Twyla B.
Even if you prefer the farmers’ market approach to fresh vegetables, Michele’s book makes you want to start your own vegetable garden.
"The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating the Garden Ethic,"
by Sarah Hayden Reichard. A modest and unassuming but powerful book, arguing that gardeners should be on the front line when it comes to recognizing the interconnection of mankind and nature. "Practices and products," she writes, have crept into the craft of gardening "that decrease its long-term sustainability." The reviewer writes that she will never again resort to pesticides or peat moss after reading her book. Reichard’s chapter on soil, "the skin of the earth," is an excellent refresher for any gardener. There are 20,000 identified types of soil in the U.S. alone. Dirt may even be the new Prozac. Reichard mentions that working the soil might alleviate depression; a specific soil bacterium has been found to activate serotonin-releasing neu-rons. Which, at the very least, explains why more gardeners don’t throw down their shovels and quit.
"Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes and Other Home Uses,"
by Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch. The Bushmen of south-ern Africa believed the first human was born when a bee planted a seed in a mantis body. In Roman times, secret love letters were carved into wax tablets, from which the incriminating evi-dence could be easily removed. The authors ex-plain the science and society of bees in clear, accessible language. And the recipes are admirably useful: honey scones, honey soak, honey hangover cures.
Page Dickey is the author of six previous garden books,
including one called
"Duck Hill Journal," written 20 years ago, about her three-acre garden in upstate New York. Change has come with the passage of time — divorce, remarriage, grandchil-dren and aching bones. "Embroidered Ground: Revisiting the Garden" is another tour of what sounds like a well-loved and highly demanding homestead. "Embroidered Ground" is a sweet, tender love story about how gardens and garden-ers age and adapt, each to the other.
"Tomorrow’s Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening,"
by Stephen Orr. Stephen Orr writes gracefully about the mellowing of his own design sensibilities. He argues that gardeners must start considering "sustainability in water usage, plant choices, local ecology and preservation of resources." He resists a didactic tone, concentrating instead on describ-ing small plots whose modest beauties speak vol-umes. There are intriguing designs here for any gardener.
Orr’s excellent book is also a hymn to resourcefulness.
A beekeeper in Chicago tends dozens of hives at an abandoned parking lot. A young woman plants sunflowers along the curbs in the neighborhood surrounding Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, an E.P.A. cleanup site, and strangers leave her thank you notes. And the best idea to come along in years is yard-sharing, which Orr describes in an enthusiastic visit to Portland, Oregon.
"The Late Interiors: A Life Under Construction,"
by Marjorie Sandor. This most soulful gar-den book is Sandor’s memoir that covers her pas-sage into middle age and through it all, she gar-dens — and proffers nimble mediations on heal-ing, friendship, literature, architecture and music. You won’t find design advice or planting tips in this book. What you will find is a simple answer to the question, Why bother? Over the centuries, around the world, we have always come home to one truth: Gardening sustains life, love, and happi-ness