Gardeners of Somerset Valley

October 2005					Editor: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, October 19, 7:30 PM, At the North Branch Reformed Church
Last month in what was perhaps one of GOSV’s finest programs, speaker Ronald Midgett made great strides towards reversing many of the misconceptions commonly held about orchids. Calling upon more than thirty years experience growing and hybridizing orchids, he patiently conveyed his lifelong passion for these magnificent flowers. Now attempting to follow in Mr. Midgett’s footsteps, our own Dottie Wright will strive to change some equally incorrect perceptions about spring’s first bloomer, the Primrose. Typically around mid or late February, primroses start showing up at retail outlets and garden shows. Quite beautiful, they seem to fulfill a powerful longing for color caused by winter’s long depravation, and then often get shunted aside after only a few short weeks in the spotlight. But according to Dottie, with proper care and growing conditions, primrose can be made to flower a whole lot longer, even through summer and into the autumn months. They love shade, handle wet feet, and most importantly are not a staple of the deer menu. Dottie, who belongs to the Pennsylvania and New England chapters of the American Primrose Society, will narrate a slide show that promises to change your opinion about the role of primrose in the NJ garden.

It’s beginning to look like a sure bet, as once again Fred Swan easily won the sunflower contest. Fred’s huge 14-3/4” diameter seed head dwarfed the competing entries of Larry Haas and Ray Hawkins by at least 2”. Year after year his victories seem to validate the value of mulching, as he modestly claims that more than twenty seasons of infusing the soil with leaves and clippings is the primary reason for his continued success. Fred may soon have some new competition from the ranks as Dayanne ‘Dee Dee’ Velasquez of the Saint John on the Mountain Preschool of Far Hills, took first place in this GOSV sponsored contest with an equally massive sunflower. For her winning effort, Larry Haas presented Dayanne with a $50 savings bond while the runner-up received two free passes to a local corn maze. GOSV scholarship student Dale Davis whose family runs the maze at their Stony Hills Garden Farms in Chester, donated these passes as well as others for use by club members.

In regards to the dahlia contest, the old expression ‘wait until next year’ applies, and hopefully there will be more rain and less heat and humidity. The contest to find out who can grow the largest pumpkin in less than optimum conditions will still take place at the October meeting.

Even though GOSV virtually operates independent of the Garden Club of New Jersey (GCNJ), currently our parent organization is playing a significant role in a very meaningful statewide project that should make us all proud to be members. In collaboration with the Rutgers Gardens, GNCJ is helping to create a Freedom Trail of Great Americans. This trail will be marked with trees, shrubs and flowers honoring Presidents and other great American dignitaries, then ends with row upon row of pine trees called a Field of Heroes to recognize all past and present members of the military who have made and are making sacrifices for this country’s freedom. The GCNJ/Rutgers steering committee has requested individual and club donations primarily sponsoring a presidential tree or contributing towards the construction of the Field of Heroes entrance. They have also invited all GOSV members to attend the dedication ceremonies scheduled for June 8, 2006. More details will follow at upcoming meetings, but it’s never too early to begin discussions on ways we can help support this beneficial project.

Fall is prime time for local apples, and Fred Yarnell has volunteered to harvest some of his own and cook up a fine apple crisp. This treat alone would be worthy enough to attend next week’s meeting.

Don’t forget to bring the pumpkins.