Gardeners of Somerset Valley

May 2008					Editor: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 6:45PM
at the North Branch Reformed Church.

Experienced gardeners understand that the level of effort put forth in May often determines the fruitfulness throughout the gardening season. The days can be long and hard, and this month’s meeting mimics this busy time of year with a jam packed agenda. Things normally get started at 7:30 PM, but because of the popular annual GOSV plant exchange, members tend to arrive about (45) minutes sooner. Some just hate to see good specimens go to waste and want to display them early, while others intuitively know the premium items get selected first. The best part of the exchange is that people sincerely want to donate their personal favorites and the constant milling around promotes an intimacy not as easily captured during meetings. With gas and food prices hitting all time highs, the swap can be an opportunity to fill a landscape hole at no charge or perhaps all the flower people will gravitate to the vegetable folks for proven winners and sage advice.

After loading up the ‘wagons’, the meeting picks up with possibly another money saving theme as the speaker has a program on growing culinary herbs in a container. Barbara Greene was born in Brooklyn and claims to be a city girl gone country. Ever since retiring from Johnson & Johnson in 2004, her life has been a whirlwind of gardening activities including becoming a certified Master Gardener. Presently she’s most interested with tending to her vegetable plot and growing orchids via hydroponics. Barbara plans to talk about herb characteristics and uses. At the swap, think about loading up on herbs because before the night is over the recipe box may have a few new savory additions. As an extra bonus, Barbara will be raffling off an herb cascade of her own creation.

Long time member and good friend George Osterman passed away on April 21 at the age of 92. While enjoying lunch at George’s home several years ago, he mentioned that during WWII after delivering a B47 plane to Agra, India needed for transporting supplies to the allies fighting the Japanese in Burma, the crew as a sign of gratitude, were presented orchids by the Indian government. Forty-three years later at an Air Transport Command reunion held again at the Taj Mahal in India, he received a second orchid of appreciation for his efforts during the war. In between the two orchid ceremonies and for many years afterwards, George lived a rich, full and productive life. The orchids fittingly symbolized his pride of country and love of nature. Because of the well funded George Osterman Family Scholarship, George shall be linked with GSOV for many years and decades to come. And for me personally and others as well, when July and August roll around, we can always recall the magnificent view overlooking the Osterman pond which during the many summer picnics George so aptly described as , “the best darn sunset in all of central NJ”.

The date for landscaping (4) Habitat for Humanity Homes in Franklin is set for Saturday June 7 with a rain date of Sunday June 8. The work day begins at 8:30 AM and ends approximately 3:00 PM. Both breakfast and lunch are supplied. As done previously, the GOSV board has decided to donate $250 towards the project. Toiling for a good cause can be fun and those who helped out last year seemed to relish the experience. The team even got mentioned in the local newspaper. Coordinator Linda Bradway can’t attend next week’s meeting. She will leave some information or can be contacted directly. It’s only one day. Let’s strive for a big turnout and do some good for the community.

Cathy Mazauskas has received a request for plants from the Adamsville Elementary School. She thought it would be a good idea to donate any leftovers from the plant swap. She’ll bring in some pictures of the garden site and talk about the project. Members might even consider bringing in extra items to help introduce these youngsters to the joys of gardening.

For a small club, and thanks to the fine work of Fred Yarnell, GOSV has a cool website that receives visits on a regular basis. At a recent board meeting, there were discussions about forming a team to make enhancements. Headed by Susan Dodge, a request for volunteers will be made at the meeting. Both experienced and inexperienced webmasters are welcome.

Though turnout never seems to be a problem in May, the coordinators of the Ace plant sale would appreciate for all purchasers to make an effort to pick up their baskets and flats. Unlike the geraniums, these are delivered to the church and would need to be moved and temporarily staged if left behind.

On this upcoming busy night, let’s hope for fair skies, bold plant trades and a new appreciation of freshly grown herbs.