Fall Clean-Up

Garden Tour
Since the museum was built, the Garden Club has maintained the Courtyard Gardens.  Dedicated to Mary Rice, the founder of the Garden Club, the gardens are tended by a group of volunteers led by Mary Dominique and Penny Sidell.  The gardens consist of an herb garden,  perennial gardens, and shrubs.  The Garden Club also plants the garden near the front door and is currently training the refurbished wisteria on the front walk arbor.  




Harvest Notes
Anthony Vodraska has grown unusual looking Tromboncino squash with seeds provided by Mary Dominique. This is an Italian heirloom cultivar of the species Cucurbita moschata, or more commonly referred to as butternut squash.  He quickly discovered their vining habit and had to erect additional bamboo supports.  It seems to live up to other reports that it is more tolerant of common summer squash pests and they produce beautiful large yellow flowers that attract pollinators.

In the Spring when he could not find zucchini seeds at the big box stores, he selected a packet of white pattypan squash. The vines spread much more than zucchini vines, but are very productive, allowing him to donate many to Harvest Share, a community donation program.

Show-Offs and Bloomers!
Mary Dominique has a beautiful border of “elephant ears”, the common name for a group of tropical plants known for their large, heart-shaped leaves of the genera Colocasia. They have enjoyed the rains this summer. The annuals zinnia, cosmos, and Melampodium accentuate the greenhouse and deck.







Fall Clean-up
As flowers begin to fade, it is time to tidy up the gardens and cut everything to the ground. However, flowers that have seed-heads are a great source of food for birds, the stems are homes for overwintering bees and plants are still taking nutrients into their roots. Cutting Down Perennials in the Fall answers the questions we all ask in the fall.

The vegetable garden, still producing until the first frost, will need to be put to bed as well. A nitrogen-fixing cover crop will suppress the weeds and enrich the soil. A list of cover crops is HERE.


Summer Harvest

Written by Garden Club member, Jan Baweja


Member Updates
Anita has been donating produce from her garden to Harvest Share, an initiative in Montgomery County that asks backyard and community gardeners to grow a little more in their gardens and donate the extra produce to community resources dedicated to reducing food insecurity. She donated 10 pounds of green beans each week this month, 22+ lbs of various vegetables every month.

Here is a beautiful example of one of our Strawberry Festival plants, sold in 2019 and flourishing in 2020 in the Garden of Strawberry Festival Chair, Lori Thomas.


Kathy Gaskill, a Master Gardener and long-time member of the Garden Club has a lovely home surrounded by beautiful flower borders, a large vegetable garden, a growing tree and shrub collection, and a water management site that uses a diverse group of grasses and stones. Here are a few pictures.


Is anyone pickling, canning, and freezing their fruits and vegetables? Even if they are not from your garden, you may buy fresh produce from farmer’s markets. Pickling cucumbers are available from most Asian markets, too Try this recipe for Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles… no canning equipment necessary! Share your goodies with us by sending an email.


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The Wisteria Will Bloom

Written by Garden Club member, Jan Baweja

The beautiful wisteria will bloom again on the newly painted pergola! The Garden Club had major assistance on this project from Phil Normandy and Roger Haynes from Brookside Gardens.

Before the pergola was painted last fall, the wisteria had to be taken down. Garden Club member Kathy Gaskill spoke with Phil, who recommended Roger Haynes as he is in charge of all the wisteria at Brookside Gardens. Roger came out to the museum and offered to help get the wisteria growing again up the columns, instead of wrapping around them.  The method being used is the same method used at Brookside Gardens where Roger takes a string, ties it at the base of the column, and attaches it to the top of the column.  He selects the healthiest wisteria shoot and wraps it around the string to get it growing vertically up the string.  Roger will be training the wisteria with the Garden Club for the rest of the year to make sure it is growing properly.


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Craft Time
Our gardens continue to marvel us through the summer with their colorful displays.  Why not preserve that beauty by pressing, drying, and printing with those lovely flowers and herbs.  Here are a few projects to try.

Lavender Wands

Anne Petzold suggests picking the lavender while blooming and stems are flexible.

Pressed Flower Pictures

You can even dry the flowers in the microwave!

Dried Herb Wreath

A great way to dry herbs… and smells good too!

Hydrangea Wreath

Garden Club resident expert, Penny Sidell, suggests picking hydrangea in September. Put them into water before wiring them onto the frame which has been wrapped with old stockings or tulle.

Fabric or paper painted with flowers

This is a fun project to do with kids… try using a rubber mallet.

What’s Blooming in Your Garden?

Garden Club co-president, Amy Cohen, shares her July bloomers.

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Creating a Wildlife Haven

Written by Garden Club member, Jan Baweja

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Are you seeing lots of birds, critters, bees, and butterflies in your gardens?

Certify your habitat during Pollinator Month

Anyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside green space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy, and can make a lasting difference for wildlife. Certify this June and save 20% when you purchase any Certified Wildlife Habitat sign.

To see the requirements for garden certification as a National Wildlife refuge, visit nwf.org, click on “Get Involved” and scroll down to “Certify a Garden.”  Your garden needs these 4 elements – food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.

Garden Club Member Kathy Ramienski has this certification. Here are photos of the 4 elements in her garden and some critters who inhabit this inviting space.

Bird visitors to the garden include cardinals, robins, blue jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, goldfinches, hummingbirds.  They had a bluebird brood in the birdhouse in the maple tree before it leafed out.  Now they have a pair of wrens making a nest in another birdhouse on a pole. This is the first time they have had a bluebirds nest. Next year they plan to put a blue birdhouse on the pole, which is less obstructed. Hopefully, they will stay and have a second brood. As you can imagine, there are countless insects, spiders, and many bees. Lately, she has been seeing dragonflies.  She found 2 praying mantis egg sacs as she was cleaning out the flower beds in early spring.  There have also been quite a few toads, and one snake, see picture. As far as mammals, there are rabbits, deer, and an occasional fox.
Last year as the summer blossoming plants waned, the insect pollinators – bees, hummingbird moths, wasps- had little to feed on in the back garden. She only had one aster, and some herbs. This year more asters and goldenrods were added.  Also good for pollinators are herbs that are allowed to flower.  She has a lot of thyme, and lets half of it flower; same with oregano.  She does not let basil flowers because once it flowers, the entire plant loses its flavor.
In the front yard, there are phlox and cosmos. The lawn has lots of clovers which both the rabbits and deer like.  There is also lavender, which is not only great for pollinators, but also for humans!
Here are some interesting sources for more information on pollinators and garden habitats:
How does your garden grow?  Peonies made a good show in many gardens, along with roses and irises.  Here are some pictures from Garden Club members:

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The Garden Club Presents – Bees

SSM Garden Club member and beekeeper, Julie, gives a look into the hive of the Honey Bee. Learn about pollination, honey, workers, drones and the queen.