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Monday, November 12, 2012

November Newsletter

President's Message
floral arrangement by Niamh Maddock
 Holidays are fast approaching and Barrington Garden Club has got your entertainment covered!
 Sue Redden will delight us all this Tuesday with her program Holiday Tables and Techniques. You will be inspired and come away with many fun ideas for your own festive holiday decorations. Sue’s lovely arrangements will be raffled off at the end of the program.
 With the gardens put to bed for the season we turn our attention to decorating the town hall and veterans home to ensure good cheer throughout the community.
 My favorite event is always the greens luncheon which is the best meal I have all year. Our talented members know how to throw a party and they really know how to cook!!!
 I can’t wait to celebrate the season with you all and as always would love for you to include your friends in any of our upcoming programs. I wish the happiest of holidays to you and your families,

Dotsie's Reminder
The Greens Workshop is coming- you’ll be there, right? (It’s November 27th, 9:30 at the Methodist Church) Don’t forget to bring any evergreen cuttings you might have from your yard.

Dates to Remember
13th Meeting: Festive Tables and Designs for the Holidays
14th  Junior Garden Club  Meeting
15th Project:  Hanging Garlands at 2:00
27th Workshop: Greens Workshop and Garden Therapy Luncheon
29th Project: Decorate RI Veterans Home                        
3rd Project: Echo Lake Cleanup
4th Workshop: BCS Boxwood Trees
5th Junior Garden Club Meeting
6th RIFGC Board Meeting and Holiday Luncheon


We had a great meeting on Oct 19 at "Wildflower Florist"! Kathy Luther couldn't have been more welcoming. She had 'cake pops' for the girls from the next door bakery and the shop all set up for us to 'invade'!
Kathy had cute ceramic gourds set up at each 'station' complete with oasis, buckets of flowers & scissors for each girl. Typically, even though Kathy took her time explaining the process, the girls were finished their arrangements by 4:45!! Kathy also shared some ideas for holiday other centerpieces. All 8 girls had a fantastic time. Many thanks to Kathy for her expertise and generosity.

NERGC Symposium
floral design by Sue Redden
By Doris Stephens
Last month Barrington was very well represented at the New England Region of Garden Clubs Symposium held in Providence. Darcy Scott and Adelaide Clifford were terrific at manning the registration desk; Sue Redden ran the entire show without a smidgen of mishap; De Feldman did the table designs for the NE Regional Annual dinner meeting and did an exhibit for student judging; Sue also did an exhibit for student judging. I did an exhibit for the lecture on exhibition tables and served as proctor for the exam. Congratulations to all!

The Evironment with Bea Greene
On Monday, October 1, 2012, The Barrington Town Council passed Ordinance 2012-7, intended to “improve the environment in Barrington and the health, safety, and welfare of its residents by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags and banning the use of single-use plastic bags for retail checkout of goods. Retail establishments are encouraged to make reusable bags available for sale.”
Checkout bags are defined as any plastic Carryout Bag dispensed at point of sale.
The Reusable Checkout bag initiative will take effect on January 1, 2013 and expire on January 31, 2015 unless renewed. At that time, the Barrington Business Association and the Conservation Commission will both submit reports reviewing the effects of the ordinance.
Plastic checkout bags will no longer be available at the point of checkout at Barrington sales establishments, which include retail stores, farmers’ markets, flea markets and restaurants. 
Plastic barrier bags are allowed and are defined as bags used for vegetables & fruits, fresh or frozen foods, unwrapped bakery goods, flowers & plants, small hardware items, Dry-cleaned items, and items larger than 28”x36”.
To view the Ordinance, go to ClerkBase.

Program Review
photograph by Katy Wardlaw

We had a lovely outing to Greenvale Vineyards, in Portsmouth, RI and lunch following our tour.

The day was sunny, cool and fall foliage was delightful. Charlotte Sornborger was our "knowing the way" driver for Katy Wardlaw, Patricia Mundy and Cindy Johnson. Our tour was conducted by Maggie Harnett who gave us a walking tour then very informative wine tasting.

Lunch followed at Sweet Berry Farm, just down the road. I'm sure both places we went to are traditional yearly destinations to a great many families. Both places offered a love of the land, great scenery and personal interests and exploration for all.

Purchases were made both at the vineyards and the farm for lingering memories of a great outing sponsored by the Garden Club.

Sincerely, Cindy Johnson

Horticulture: Pruning Tips

By Toni Gruber
Pruning is a practice that takes practice!  So… while you are “practicing “, here are a few suggestions:
            Most important on this subject are the 3 Ds – dead, diseased & damaged.  Remove any branches that suffer from a “D” situation as soon as possible.  Cut them at their point of origin. Also, remove branches that are crossing the path of a more desirable branch.
          Some plants that benefit from pruning in the fall & winter are Butterfly bushes (Buddleia), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), and 2 types of hydrangeas (H. arborescens [ ’Annabelle’ or “Snowball types”] and H. paniculata [PeeGee types]).  It’s important to identify your hydrangea before pruning. The 2 types mentioned both bloom white; and, more importantly, bloom on new wood. If your hydrangea blooms on old branches, you’ll have to wait ‘til after it blooms in the spring or summer.  Otherwise, you’ll lose a season’s blossoms.  But, if you have an ‘Annabelle’, you can cut it back within a few inches of the ground now.  And, paniculatas can be pruned in fall, winter, or early spring.  And, the Butterfly bushes & Rose of Sharon can be cut back drastically, even to a foot or two above ground, if desired.
           Renewal pruning is sometimes helpful in rejuvenating older trees & shrubs & bushes. In late autumn or winter, cut the older branches down by about two-thirds of the plant’s height.  When pruning trees in the fall, it’s a good idea to wait ‘til they drop their leaves & are dormant. Then the structure is more evident. And, it’s also easier to see any signs of disease or insects. (Hope not!)
            A word of caution before you get too enthusiastic & busy “practicing” – Do NOT prune any of your spring-flowering shrubs now! They form next year’s blossoms during late spring & early summer, and should not be given any haircuts until AFTER they’ve bloomed. These include lilac, spirea, azalea, & forsythia. Speaking of forsythia…its blooming signals the best time to prune roses. So, wait ‘til then to “practice” on your roses!

Leafing Through...
With Sandi Tinyk

A few considerations for winter reading, holiday gifts, or lazy days on trips to warmer climates

One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Home Place by Jane Roy Brown: Even in her earliest short stories, Eudora Welty (1909–2001) wove images of flowers and gardens into her descriptions of people and places. These influences originated in Welty’s passionate connection to her home garden in Jackson, Mississippi. Her story unfolds during the rise of home gardening as an American pastime in the 1920s, when women viewed it as a means of self-improvement.

Nature Wars: the incredible story of how wildlife comebacks turned backyards into      battlegrounds by Jim Sterba: If your arborvitae look like lollipops, if your herb garden is the main   feature on the rabbit’s salad bar, or, worse yet, if you’ve hit a deer or dealt with a bear, this brand-new book is for you. Just published by Random House, it is an amazing account of how, through well-meaning efforts, we have created a disaster. We are justifiably proud of successes in reducing extinction of many species. Ever-growing wildlife populations resulting from our efforts in conservation and environmental issues are only part of the story.  At the same time, we have severely reduced their habitat, causing them to take up residence in your backyard. Added to this is the economic impact of wildlife damage to crops, landscaping and infrastructure, the cost of which is $28 billion per year, with $1.5 billion from crashes caused by deer, moose and other wildlife.  Do we have too much of a good thing?   

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: This best-selling debut novel chronicles the attempts of a homeless 18-year-old former foster child to make a life for herself in San Francisco. Emotionally scarred from a series of living arrangements, she is unable to trust, love, or even to express herself with words, resulting in her reliance on the Victorian language of flowers to communicate: dahlias for "dignity"; rhododendron for "beware."    This knowledge of an obscure language soon lands her a job selling flowers, where she meets a man who not only speaks her language, but also holds a crucial key to her past, enabling her to come to grips with a devastating childhood and to learn to trust. I loved this book! 

The White Garden: A Novel of Virginia Woolf by Stephanie Barron: I suggested this book a while back and still feel it is worth a look. A literary mystery set 60 years after the death of Virginia Woolf at Sissinghurt Castle, the gardens of which were created by Woolf’s lover, Vita Sackville-West.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan by Tim Smit: A handsomely illustrated record of the discovery & revival of a magnificent Victorian estate, hailed by The Times of London as the garden restoration of the century. Featuring 200 color photographs, this award-winning book was a #1 best seller in Britain.

The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession by Andrea Wulf: Philadelphian John Bartram sent two boxes of plants and seeds from the American colonies, addressed to a London cloth merchant. Most of these plants had never before been grown in British soil, but in time the magnificent and colorful American trees, evergreens, and shrubs would transform the English landscape and garden forever. The book recounts the 18th century work of six men from different countries that transformed botany, landscape and our growing passion for gardening.

Other possibilities:
Garden to Vase: Growing and Using Your Own Cut Flowers by Linda Beutler;
The Life and Art of a Garden Designer (about Nora Lindsey) by Allyson Hayward;
The Walled Garden (focus is Great Maytham Hall in Kent, the inspiration for The Secret Garden) by Leslie Geddes Brown
Happy Reading!

With Sara Drogin

One of the most wondrous autumnal sights is that of Canada geese, flying in V-formation across a clear azure sky. Their cacophonous honking heralds their passage, causing us to look upward and admire the vision. Occasionally a lone goose passes above, generating curiosity at its solitary state. And sometimes in the dark of night, we hear a squadron of geese flying overhead and wonder if it is on a nonstop passage to warmer climes.
The V-formation is aerodynamically sound and constantly shifting: the lead bird often cedes its position to another, or some birds create a second, smaller V. This formation allows the geese to fly over 1,500 miles in 24 hours when the wind is favorable. Despite the swift flight and ever-changing pattern, these birds travel in family groups, the parents flying with their young and breaking off into family units as they land.
Indeed, scientists contend that these geese possess strong family bonds, with a pair often mating for life. The female lays 4-7 eggs and is solely responsible for their incubation, while the male dutifully guards the nest for the 25-30 day stretch, attacking any intruder. However, after hatching, the goslings become the wards of all the adult geese, clustering in “crèches” that are protected by the adults. I recall seeing a gaggle of four adults and many goslings waddling down Middle Highway last summer, headed, I guessed, for Volpe’s Pond. Many of these goslings will enjoy long lives since Canada geese live for upwards of 24 years.
Typically, these large, handsome water birds spent the summer in northern North America and flew south to Mexico or the southern U.S. during the winter. Although some geese still make the journey south --perhaps the ones we see high up in the blue-- Canada geese have become unwelcome year-round residents in many parts of the country. Here in Barrington we see them on the high-school playing fields and country-club golf course throughout the winter. Their abundant droppings --50 geese produce two-and-a-half tons of excrement in a year’s time!-- have caused communities to undertake measures to rid themselves of these birds. You might have seen the dog chasing them on the country-club grounds, or you might recall the coyote cut-outs on the high-school fields several years back.  Some municipalities addle the goose eggs or destroy their nests, and many states permit regulated hunting of the Canada goose. (The bird can be legally hunted in Rhode Island during September, with a limit of 15 bagged per day.) A few desperate communities capture the birds from mid-June through July when they’re molting and can’t fly. These birds are most often slaughtered, and their processed meat is donated to food banks.
It is interesting to note that Canada geese were considered endangered at the turn of the last century, but intense wildlife protection policies that began in the 1950s proved highly successful. Today these geese are found in every Canadian province and contiguous U.S. state at some point during the year, or, as we’ve noted, all year. Attractive as these birds are, their proliferation on our open spaces is proof of the old adage: You can sometimes have too much of a good thing.

Beach Cleanup

Our Barrington Beach cleanup was a great success with a nice turnout and plenty of trash to pick up. You never quite know what you will find as evidenced here in the photograph of Sandy Jones and Joan Haas. Please note that the next cleanup has been changed to Monday December 3rd at 1:00. We will be working around the Echo Lake area and there is parking at Susan Hoagland’s house at 9 South Lake Drive. Please contact Alison Townsend 247-1946 with any questions.