Gardeners of Somerset Valley

June 2007					Editor: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, June 20, 2007, 7:30PM
at the North Branch Reformed Church.

We start the summer season with a serious or at least semi-serious marigold and coleus flower contest where entries will be evaluated based on four sets of weighted criteria listed on the Horticultural Rating Form handed out when the seedlings were distributed at the Charter Night dinner, and also at the May meeting. We’re also hoping last year’s CGNJ President Carol Iouso, a professional judge, can oversee the contest with the help of some non-competing GOSV members. All participants have the option of displaying either cuttings or full plants and should read the handout about preparing for exhibit. If choosing the cutting option, it’s recommended to display in a small vase. Come Wednesday morning, cut or dress up the best of your best specimens, and we’ll find out who really has the magical touch with flowers while also getting a first hand glimpse about the world of judging.

For the second year in a row the plant swap event was hampered by a steady rain. For those who missed out because of the bad weather and for those who still have an extra plant or two, it was decided to have another mini-exchange next week. There are no plans to start early. Instead just bring the items to the meeting room.

With no intention of rushing away the summer, there are several dates to mark on your calendar. George and Erica have again invited the club to their rustic home on August 11 for the annual GOSV picnic. Three things are certain. They are plentiful fresh from the garden food, good company, and the peace and serenity that easily comes from sitting around or walking about this unique property. Unlike many of the other club outdoor activities the selected day almost always comes with perfect weather. On the contrary, the Hackensack ecological boat tour which has been postponed twice already due to inclemency tries to reverse this unlucky trend with a new scheduled date of September 8. Lastly, Dotty Wright who continuously raves about Flamenco at a restaurant in Trenton would like other members to join her, Jim Laubach and friends for another night of dining and dancing on Wednesday August 1.

Six members participated in the Bernardsville Habitat for Humanity project. They all earned a few blisters breaking up shale and met some hard working high school kids. The end result was two beautifully landscaped homes. Let’s hope one of the volunteers has some pictures to show.

The results of the geranium sales are tallied and membership sold 152 dozen generating an overall profit of $1368. Anyone who was at the May meeting couldn’t help but notice a parade of flats and hanging baskets staged at the church entranceway. These annuals were part of a new plant sale that got off to a late start and went unadvertised except for the website. The general consensus was that the flowers were a good value, and next year with earlier and better promotion could turn into an additional source of scholarship revenue. In May, GOSV received notification that two students, Patrick Natale and Katie Moore, both Plant Science majors at Cook College, were selected for the Osterman Family and the Rudolf W. and Ans van der Goot Memorial scholarships respectively. Based on their letters of appreciation, the winners appear to be fine aspiring horticulturists who may not have been able to attend college without GOSV’s support.

Former President Warren Meyer now retired in North Carolina who continues to stay in touch via the monthly newsletters recently sent the club a package of old roster sheets, certificates of public service and newspaper clippings primarily from the 1980’s. He commented that the “club has really grown and become a vital part of the community”. After flipping through the papers and stories, it was quite obvious that these early members had set high standards and did a great job passing them down through the years. It was also interesting to learn how they suffered the same gardening crises back then- deer, critters, insect and disease, and similarly devised creative methods to overcome these obstacles along with a healthy dose of optimism. This package of poignant historical information will be brought to the meeting.

Start sprucing up those flowers and see you all next week.