Gardeners of Somerset Valley

November 2006					Editor: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, November 15, 2006
at the North Branch Reformed Church.

It could be said that this month’s topic on ‘Garden Photography’ represents the ideal end of season program. But then Mother Nature has kindly thrown in an unexpected monkey wrench with an extraordinarily mild autumn, and for some diehard members, the outdoor chores may not be quite over yet. No matter, the pursuit of gardening is as much an artistic endeavor as anything, so what better way to spend a chilly November evening than learning how to use the camera to best photograph beloved plants, trees and beds. Dr. Frederick Skvara, professor of pathology, a former GOSV member and a professional photographer, will show off his portfolio and along the way offer tips on capturing the unique essence of your garden. If he turns out to be like fellow landscape photographer Walter Choroszewski who has given outstanding programs many times before, we should be set for an extremely educational and entertaining presentation.

In a somewhat anticlimactic event, Ray Hawkins grew the largest pumpkin again and swept both the sunflower and pumpkin contests in 2006. Congratulations to Ray who because he’s such a likable guy, sore losing is not an option. However, let’s try real hard to unseat him from one of those winner circles next year.

Say it isn’t so- the holiday season can’t be less than two months away. This means Christmas party time and Christine Feorina has agreed to open her house on December 9 starting at 6 PM for this annual event. As many recall, Christine home has a huge sunroom which is spacious enough to accommodate the membership and even friends who are also invited. GOSV will supply the main course foods and non-alcoholic beverages, while everyone whose last name begins with A-L are asked to bring appetizers. Last names M-Z get to spoil everyone with desserts. Wine or other spirits can be brought at your pleasure. Kindly RSVP to Christine .

Midway in her presidential term, Dottie Wright has taken a strong position on enhancing the club’s role serving the community. At a trustees meeting last month, board members brainstormed about various projects the organization could tackle during the upcoming months. Initially GOSV has been asked to help with the landscaping of (4) new Habitat for Humanity homes located in Bedminster which should be ready for our collective talents around April of 2007. The Garden Club of NJ has generously donated an amount of not to exceed $500 for the supplies. Dottie also reports that all the plantings put in last April at the Lambertville Habitat home survived this very uneven growing season. Another current project is the decorating of the historic Van Horne Home in Bridgewater for the holiday celebration of the Heritage Foundation, with volunteers needed right now. This activity strays a bit from our gardening roots and Dottie will provide the details on this and some of the other community initiatives at the meeting next Wednesday.

Though only November, the gardening catalogues have already started showing up in the mail. Whether you choose to buy mail order or not, thumbing through the periodicals ranks high up as one of the most satisfying ways to pass the time on a frigid winter day. Dottie who displays unmatched enthusiasm for all things horticultural has put together a short wish list consisting of two new blooming trees that might appeal to everyone. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Association (the folks who sponsor the Philly Flower Show) has announced the winners of the 2007 gold medal plant awards. The first one developed by Dr. Elwin Orton at Rutgers, Cornus Venus, is a Kousa dogwood crossed with the Pacific dogwood. It grows 25’x25’, sports 6” pure white blooms with green centers that cover the three from top to bottom. Cornus Venus is a very fast grower in full or part shade, and has clean foliage. The other is the first crape myrtle to earn this prestigious award. Called Lagerstroemia Indica ‘Whit III’, it will be known as Pink Velour. This promises to be an eye catching tree with magenta-pink flower clusters atop shiny burgundy foliage blooming in mid-summer. This plant will grow 10’ high by 6’ wide, can be pruned to any desired height and has drought resistance. Surely someone in the club would like to be an early adopter of one or both of these new varieties.

Thankfully there are no more contests for Ray to win next week. Between now and then, start thinking about photographic topics and use those free catalogues for ideas.