The January 29 meeting was cancelled because of a storm, and for a while it looked as if the February 26 meeting might be snowed out as well. But the faithful struggled through, for our first meeting since before Christmas. Society President Colleen Green welcomed everyone back and told us that preparations are well under way for the County Garden Show on June 29, with vendors already found by Anne Reeves for over half the space. She reminded us that the March meeting is on the 26th, and the speaker will be Nicolette McGraw, who will talk about photographing gardens; at the April 30 meeting, the 4H will be sending members to hear Penny Stewart explain how to enter a flower show. Elizabeth Cowan made a quick pitch for people to help with promoting the Society in general and the County Garden Show in particular, and membership secretary R. John Garside said he would be calling each member to check on their info in the file.
Colleen then introduced the featured speaker for the meeting, Peter Fuller, whose topic was “The Local Landscape: Selecting, Growing and Propagating Native Plants”. Peter, who used to be a full-time high school teacher and a part-time horticulturalist, is now a full-time horticulturalist and an occasional teacher, with a nursery (Fuller’s Native and Rare Plants) at 175 Airport Parkway in Belleville. He practises ethical seed collection: no trespassing, no digging up of wild plants, no robbing rare plants of seed, no taking of seeds unless there is a well-established population of the plant.
Peter began by explaining how difficult it can be to decide which plants are “native” and which are “foreign”. If something was brought to the western hemisphere 400 years ago, is it still foreign? If it flourishes in New York State, is that too far away to be considered a native of our area? His nursery is called the “home of the 100-mile garden”, because he has opted to set that as his limit for accepting a species as local.
Peter illustrated the possibilities for County gardens with a series of dazzling slides, with plants divided up by where they prefer to grow: in water, along the margins of wet land, in dry areas or in shade. He had dozens of suggestions and answered many questions about particular situations. Attracting bees, butterflies and other insects was a particular focus, and the pictures showed some of his plants covered in them. The presentation also dealt with grasses, shrubs and plants for rock gardens. When it ended, people jumped to get information on his nursery; if you weren’t there, you can take a look at www.fullerplants.com.
The raffle prizes were a bird house, a book donated by Peter Fuller and two passes to Canada Blooms, and orchids donated by Marvin were on sale.
As customary, the entries were judged by the members present at the meeting: Patricia Stuckey [image at right] came first in the “Design in the Shape of a Heart” category, with Mary Jenkins second [image below left], and Mary won first in the “Miniature All-Dried Arrangement” category [image below right].
photo credits: Bert Jenkins