Gardeners of Somerset Valley
January 2009					Editor: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, January 21, 7:30 PM
at the North Branch Reformed Church.

Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
June Flower Show Sign-up
Election around the Corner

With the passing of the winter solstice, little by little the days grow longer and brighter. Correspondingly, moods elevate, energy levels rebound, and gardeners start dreaming of the first planting. Next week members get to jump start this natural process with a program about the flowers of the Netherlands. This past April, Marty Oostveen made a trip to her native Holland to visit family and in doing so also took pictures of the famous Keukenhof Gardens, and the historic courtyards of Haarlem. Considered one of the most beautiful spring gardens in the world, Keukenhof’s acres of manicured beds contain upwards of 8 million bulbs, mainly tulips but also hyacinths and daffodils. Abundant rhododendrons, azaleas and ponds fill out the natural splendor, and Marty made sure to take plenty of pictures of the indoor hall of orchids. She’ll talk about the next generation of bulbs under cultivation but not yet ready for sale to the public. Then at the end of the presentation she will switch gears and touch on the city or courtyard gardens of Haarlem, some which have changed hardly at all since the 14th century. A selection from millions of colorful bulbs, exotic orchids, old world gardens, all shared with GOSV by a someone with intimate knowledge of this unique little European country. Start saying goodbye to those winter blues, at least for an evening.

During tough times giving has even more meaning. Dottie is looking for volunteers to get together and make Valentine’s Day baskets for the (12) female patients currently staying at the Lyons VA Hospital. These women would appreciate perfumes, soaps, and just about any kind of bath or shower amenity. Items collected from hotels during travel would be ideal. Let’s show these brave women our unselfish appreciation.

Other annual activities to brighten the winter season are the NJ and the Philadelphia Flower and Garden Shows. Held February 12 thru 15, the NJ show’s theme is “It’s a Colorful World”. GCNJ, our parent organization, plays a big role by hosting a Standard and a Youth Flower Show titled, a ‘color explosion’. The not-to-miss Philadelphia extravaganza has an Italian flavor this year and runs March 1 until March 8. While flower show activities are front and center, June’s just around the corner and sign-up sheets for our very own first show will soon be posted on the website.

Over the next couple of weeks take a minute or two to think about becoming an officer or a trustee. New leaders and ideas energize an organization. A committee will be formed shortly to make nominations for the open positions.

Garden catalogues seemingly overfill the mailbox every day. Spending a little time flipping through the colorful pages can add joy to an otherwise bleak winter day. It looks like Henry Field’s, Gardens Alive and Gurney’s continue to offer a version of a $25 discount. Pinetree Seeds is another way to save money as they strive to keep prices at least 30% lower than competition by reducing the packet size, catering to the small plot gardener. I for one have been on a lifelong quest to find a tomato seed that’s indeterminate, dwarf, early, disease resistant and great tasting. Why not help me and others with similar plant locating challenges and bring in your extra catalogues?

Marty Ostveen’s last comment on a recent e-mail was “can’t wait for our next meeting.” Over the years countless conversations have ended this way. Camaraderie, anticipation and excitement, these are the hallmarks of a good club and GOSV has still ‘got it’. Hope to see everyone next week.