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                        Gardeners of Somerset Valley
June 2011					From: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, June 15, 6:00 PM
Colonial Park Rose Garden

Dear GOSV:
The summer-like weather has allowed the roses to catch up from a cold spring and I heard from a co-worker that the Van der Goot Rose Garden is in peak form and should stay that way at least for a few more weeks where we plan to have the June meeting. Note the start time of 6:00 PM but don't worry if you come a little later as the garden remains open to dusk. Dottie Wright and Ralph Maiwalt are going to cater a light dinner of sandwiches and cake in honor of Jim Laubach's 95th birthday and the dining will either take place inside the attached indoor facility or outside in the parking lot and make sure you park in Lot A. We had a similar event many years ago and my recollection is one of the best meetings of all time as I dare anyone to find a more beautiful spot in central NJ during the month of June.

Many of the newcomers to the club don't know much about Jim but I'm sure have noticed a not so subtle affection for our oldest member. About ten years ago I had the privilege of writing a magazine article about him which I called 'A Gardener's Life' and to this day remains my favorite story. In 1932, as a Somerville high school junior he won a bronze medal in a NY Times gardening contest for the appearance of his parent's home grounds. This was the start of a nearly eighty year love affair with horticulture. After graduating from Rutgers College of Agriculture in 1938, he did a stint fighting Dutch Elm Disease for a government organization, was a salesman for the second largest nursery in the country and had two tours of duty at the Duke Estate where on the second one he was in charge of maintenance for the 2-1/2 acre Japanese Garden. This rewarding position was interrupted when WW II called and he was sent to England with the U.S. Army Air Force. On his 12th mission serving as a bombardier, his plane crashed and Jim spent 18 months in a prisoner of war camp. Not to be deterred, after the war Jim and a partner opened a landscape business in Long Island and fortunately for us it was disbanded and he went out on his own and for the next forty years beautified central NJ homes from his Laubach Nurseries Route 206 location just across from the Duke Estate. Even at age 94, he still maintains one of the nicest Japanese Gardens you'll ever see and for a change of pace he's an accomplished painter devoting his creative energies to old buildings, machines, industrial ruins and especially railroads and bridges. Jim has a fondness for flamenco dancing, and maybe he'll show us a step or two on this milestone birthday celebration. For the sake of time and space, I left out many other details, but in it's simplest and most elemental form, Jim leads a 'gardener's way of life'.

Just a reminder, at the last meeting CGNJ visitors made mention of a marvelous all day garden club tour on June 18 and you can expect more information as the date nears. Also thanks again to Nancy, Valerie and Marti for a a wonderful program on creating attractive, unique and inexpensive water features.

For all you wine aficionados, I want to make mention of a wine tour and tasting Helene and I are hosting at Unionville Vineyards on Sunday June 5 to raise money for the Whitehouse United Methodist Church in support of it's community service activities. Please see the attached flyer. Similar to many years ago when we hosted a meeting at Unionville, we'll do our best to make you'll feel like you are visiting our own personal chateau. All wines will be discounted 20% and if interested just send us an e-mail.

Best wishes to Fred Swan for a speedy recovery from heart surgery and Jane Yarnell from knee surgery.


Mitch Greenbaun