Catching Up – not CoVid!

The Club met over Zoom on our regular dates of March and April. The weather was sort of cold; we did not want to be outside just yet.

In March, We had more information on Marina K.’s project as Program Chair for us – Art in Bloom. She focused on choosing pictures and then demonstrating her own creations in 3D based on the artist’s work. This is a project that any Club can do, and it is a lot of fun. It also helps us and teaches us how to interpret what an artist does in terms of form, composition, color.

Here are some examples –

In April, Marina held the program “Art in Bloom” and asked those members who prepared entries to share them.

May was held outdoors at a member’s home, and Marina showed us in person(!) how to determine and groom your entries for a standard flower show. She also showed us how to fill out an entry card. There were many tips given, from “the horse’s mouth” as Marina is an experienced judge. We have a great resource in Marina.

Here’s wishing her luck as our incoming President in June. Her unwavering loyalty and leadership will be much appreciated and much different than the past year as we dig out of quarantines and restrictions and having little contact except on Zoom.

February already?

We held our February meeting on Zoom (!). We made a creative project our focus. Members were invited to create, and then display for us, their original designs. And what a turnout!

In addition, members created a “box.” Obviously, the potential was there for much leeway in ideas. Actually, many of the themes used were for Mardi Gras, which is soon.

You can catch up with us on Instagram, as we publish our pictures. Your webmaster has been kept busy increasing our social media presence, and we are hoping that it will encourage and cheer up our communities as we slowly make our way to our new normal life.

December meeting highlights

Our member Menalie S. presented a demonstration of how to create a unique tabletop holiday design for us. We watch over Zoom, to some degree of success, while she clearly and systematically put together an amazing sight. It was great watching the piece come together before our eyes. The presentation was one of the best we can remember, although all of our meetings offer great and inspiring ideas and techniques.

Please check back with us. We may not be able to accommodate many people these days at our meetings. Perhaps as time goes by we will be able to invite the public, but for now we enter into a time of transition to a new normal, whatever that may be.

Please join our site in the meantime, and check back to see our Instagram posts.

Monthly Members’ Meeting

Members only…Invitation via Zoom link will follow.

Octobrrrrrr Meeting & Plant Exchange a Success!

We held our second outdoor event this past week, and many members, observing social distancing and masking, were able to come out in the cooler weather.

We are planning our regular meetings through March, 2021, so we hope you join our mailing list, to the right of this post, and keep current. We are also on FaceBook and hope to see you there.

We would like to thank Pat D. for being diligent in submitting some photos for our Instagram account. If you click on one of them, it will take you to Instagram where you can Like us and make us famous.

Remember to keep gardening, mulch, and weed so that next spring brings promises and lovely flowers to enjoy.

Welcome to Fall!

Flower Garden cart drawing free image

Each September, our tradition has always been a mini flower show, a meet & greet for new members, lots of catching up, and a happy, active time with each other. Because of safety precautions due to CoVid-19 pandemic, we have certainly modified our expectations.

The Garden Club has resorted to using Zoom as a meeting platform, but that is just the beginning! We’ve also been blessed in New Jersey with some moderate temperatures, making safer outdoor gatherings possible, even with food and handling objects.

So with that in mind, we’ll post our upcoming plans as soon as they are made. Along with new habits to establish, we need to remain flexible in our outreach and publicity efforts. While you are here, please note that going forward, our photos will appear on Instagram. Use of this feature is for members only, and access can be granted to anyone in the Club who needs to upload some photos. Please respect that desire, as we are still mindful of ongoing efforts at spam (we just deleted about three) – and intrusion on our Club’s privacy.

So we are still weeding and mulching and protecting our growing and harvesting, and hope you will follow us here and on Instagram and Facebook.

From the Webmaster

Wheelbarrow, red, gardening, branches, cuttings - free image from ...

This is an open letter and reflects the Webmaster, not the members of the Club.

As we move from pandemic uncertainty to a new normal to our uncertain future, we continue to enjoy our gardens and learn about design and horticulture together, as a club. So, we’ve decided to streamline and update some of our features and processes.

First, there will be no more, or at least very little, outside links. The internet culture allows cheating and some of that is unsavory to us users. So, since we cannot constantly monitor a lot of outside sources, we decided to just limit links. If you think about it, at this point in time you should be adept at “Googling” and there are so many resources out there, it is pointless to pick and choose for you.

Next, we will move our “gallery” over to #Instagram. In this way, our offerings and visuals will be more highly accessible, and may result in new members who are simply recommended by #Instagram itself. That’s the algorithm thing that can indeed work for us!

So stay tuned as we refine our methods, and continue to get our hands dirty as we dig through an uncertain future that will be with us whether we wish it or not.

Composting Q&A – a Summer Update

What is compost?
Compost is the stable end-product of the decomposition of organic materials.

Why should I compost?
Composting provides the perfect nutrients your plants need for optimal growth. It also helps in waste reduction by recycling food waste, keeping it out of the landfills, and creates a wonderful resource you can’t get anywhere else.

What are the benefits of compost?
Finished compost: Improves soil health, Makes minerals more readily available to plants, improving growth, Increases water holding capacity of soil, reducing erosion and watering

What are the essentials of composting?

  • Volume. Best area is a cubic yard, or 3’ x 3’ x 3’
  • Moisture. Your compost should be as wet as a wrung out sponge
  • Aeration. You need to turn the pile about once a week to accelerate decomposition
  • Surface area. i.e., the more surface area, the faster decomposition
  • C:N ratio: Carbon to Nitrogen or simply, Brown:green. Also 2:1. Finding a mix of greens and browns that is in balance can be important. (See below)

Where do I begin???
Determine what materials you have. What type of waste do you generate? What is its type and quantity? Know what system you need. Select a location. It should be close to water, convenient, close to source of materials. It should be away from aggressive roots

What are some types of systems?
Home made or manufactured. They can be made of plastic, wood or metal. They can be open or closed. Your choice will be determined by your particular location, needs and ability.

What tools do I need?
You may or may not require the following: pitchfork, machete, thermometer, turner, spade. All these are optional and depend on the amount of time and effort you are able to spend on the pile.

What can I compost?

Yes:

Garden waste

Kitchen scraps like fruits and vegetables

Animal manures (like chicken, rabbit, cow)

Houseplant clippings

No:

Meats

Fats oils

Dairy

Pet waste or meat eating pets

Poisonous plants

Diseased plants

Aggressive plants

Weed seeds

The basic rule for backyard composting is that you can compost

ANYTHING THAT WAS ONCE A PLANT.

What if I don’t have an outside bin?
You can use VERMICOMPOSTING techniques. It is very easy to keep these, in a closed bin in a cool basement or under your utility sink. You should use red wrigglers (not earthworms). There are many resources available to find out more. Children and schools especially are appropriate places to use this method.

What are the uses of finished compost?
There are multiple benefits, including Mulch, Moderates soil temp, Retains moisture. It also Controls weeds and Protects trees and shrub from mower blades. You can use iot as a Soil amendment and a Potting/see mix. Some people even make Compost tea (recipes available online).

When do I know it’s ready?
In a few months (for your initial pile) You should observe a dark color. It is crumbly, good tilth. And It smells GOOD!

Browns:

dry leaves

shredded paper

straw

chipped branches

tree trimmings,

sawdust.

Browns decompose at low temperatures unless combined with a source of nitrogen.

Greens:

grass clippings

fruit and vegetable peels

manure,

inorganic fertilizer,

vegetable kitchen scraps,

green leaves

Not all “greens” are green in color.  For example, coffee grounds are a nitrogen source

Update re: CoVid19 Response

At the direction of GCNJ, all Garden Club events on the state level as well as the individual club level are suspended thru May. This may be extended.

We will not meet for our usual monthly meetings until the Fall. Also Friends and Flowers is currently suspended. The Red Bank flower pots project has been canceled this summer. Since the Kusama exhibit has been cancelled by The New York Botanical Garden, it will take place on a later date. There are no plans for another date as yet. If you have already mailed or given us a check for the trip, please e-mail Ronnie L. or call her and let her know, and she will work with you regarding this.

Our annual luncheon for June has been cancelled as well.

We will get back together as a group as soon as it is deemed prudent. Our biggest concern is for the health and safety of each and every member and friend.

Our President, Leslie, is taking good care of us. We will certainly come back together in the future!

Please take good care of yourselves and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

March Meeting Coming Up!

Our speaker is the Executive Director of the American Littoral Society. He will illustrate the many ways we can protect our environment and preserve our precious waterways. Mr. Dillingham is well versed in his field and holds a degree in Coastal and Marine Resource Management from the University of Rhode Island.

We are a coastal community, and we are interested in learning more about what can be done, as well as what is being done to mitigate the effects of climate change and pollution, among other issues.

Join us for this presentation.

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