Monday, May 30, 2016

Flower Shows In the Month of June in National Capital Area - And You are all Invited!

Spring and early Summer are quite popular times for garden clubs in National Capital Area Garden Clubs to host a Standard or Small Standard Flower Show.  Many people ask what exactly is a standard flower show and here is it's definition:

The purposes of a Standard Flower Show:  to educate club members and viewing public. To stimulate interest in horticulture and floral design. To provide an outlet for creative expression. To convey to the community objectives of National Garden Clubs, Inc.

We are pleased to announce three flower shows that will happen in the month of June - and they are NOT to be missed!

Vienna, Virginia's Five Hills Garden Club is hosting with Meadowlark Gardens a Standard Flower Show, "A Walk in the Garden" on Thursday, June 7, 2016.  This show is free and open to the public from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Meadowlark Garden's Atrium Building, 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, Virginia (near Wolf Trap and Route 7).  Five Hills Garden Club is a member of National Capital Area Garden Clubs' District III (Northern Virginia).

Then, on Saturday, June 11, 2016, National Capital Area Garden Clubs' District I is hosting a Small Standard Flower Show, "Summer Serenade," at 12325 Hatton Point Road, Fort Washington, MD.  This sure-to-be wonderful show is free and open to the public from 2:30 - 4:00p.m.  

And to finish off the splendid month, District IV is hosting a Standard Flower Show, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," at the Strathmore Mansion, Rockville Pike, Rockville MD, that is free and open to the public on Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.; and on Friday, June 24, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

Do come and see one  or all of our exciting garden club events this month!  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Orchid Meditation - A Guest Post by Teresa Payne

I love to write – so I do.

I love to garden – so I try.  And, for me, to combine the two is pure bliss.  

In the garden, inspiration is omnipresent - an ode to a rose, a poem about a newly planted camellia bush, or a novel about a small town that gathers around a sycamore tree. 

I am an extrovert by nature.  However, I have also learned to appreciate the quiet times when I can sit down and write, or examine my roses and wonder if I will have a worthy specimen at peak bloom for the next garden club meeting. 

Gardening must be in my blood.  My mother is an avid orchid grower.  This is both good – and bad – for me.  When she travels, which is a frequent occurrence, I am the one responsible for keeping them alive. I enjoy visiting her house to care for her plants – it is quiet and still and I can be alone with my thoughts. It gives me time to think while I am filling up watering cans and moving from room to room to make sure I attend to every plant. 

This wouldn’t be considered a chore – except for the little white mealybugs - that will not go away.  I have treated the leaves with alcohol several times over the past few months to rid the plants of all evidence of disease while she is away, only to have them come right back upon her return. 

We all have our pesky mealybugs to deal with from time to time as we make the journey through life.  Recently, my father had some unexpected medical issues arise that needed attention.  My mother was busy and preoccupied.  My offer to help cook, clean, or drive, was declined.  What was a daughter to do?  I simply did what any other self-respecting gardener would do.  I repotted my mother’s orchid collection of a dozen or so plants.  I completed the job while she was out of the house so that she did not have to see the mess that I made!  

The assembly line of potting mix, alcohol, scissors, and more alcohol was efficient and I quickly became the fastest re-potter this side of the Potomac River!  Time will tell if the orchids are rid of all of the bugs.  But, for now I have hope!  It was a nice feeling to help my mother by doing something I love and taking at least one small thing off her plate during a stressful time. My father has fully recuperated and my mother is back to watering her orchids – until her next trip.

The mealy bugs appear to be returning, sigh.  I asked my fellow Red Hill gardeners for some advice and they suggested insecticidal soap.  One avid gardener told me that she sprays her orchids about every 6 weeks with insecticidal soap as a preventative measure. 
To be sure, a bottle of insecticidal soap will be wrapped up for my mother on Mother’s Day! 
Through all of this, I have learned to treasure every day, hug my family a little more often, and spread kindness through doing what I enjoy.  

Above all, instead of just looking at my roses and pondering the blooms, I will stop and smell them more frequently, too.  

How I repotted the orchids: I took the orchids out of the plastic containers and discarded all the old bark.  I cleaned the containers with mild soap and water, and also scrubbed them with rubbing alcohol.  Then, I cut the dead roots off the plants which are stringy and hallow feeling to the touch.  I added new orchid bark to the pots about ½ way up, placed the plants in the middle, and continued to add bark to the tops.   During the assembly line process, I was careful to separate the newly repotted orchids with the infested ones to try to avoid any cross-contamination.   I watered thoroughly and set them back in the eastern facing window.

Teresa Payne was born and raised in Alexandria, VA where she also currently resides.  Teresa joined the NCAGC's District II Red Hill Garden Club in January 2014.  Her mother, Janet Baker, is also a long-time member of Red Hill and is Teresa's inspiration.  When she's not gardening, writing and parenting, Teresa works full time for the federal government.

Plant Sales and Some Good Advice

My dad always said the best plants tend to come from a friend's garden.  This coming Saturday, several garden clubs will host plant sales - my friends in Great Falls Garden Club will not only sell plants from their own member gardens, but they will be available to offer you some friendly advice -  at no extra no charge!! And as my dad would also say, you can't beat that!

Sunday, May 1, 2016