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.
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.
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.