Following the pledge of the allegiance and the recitation of the Conservation Pledge led by President Ruth Hamilton, fourteen members answered the Roll Call by responding to “What is around your mailbox?” Surprisingly, many garden club members answered “weeds” or “ditch weeds”; however, a few decorated around their boxes with a variety of perennials and annual flowers. Native flowers like black-eyed Susans and low maintenance flowers like Autumn Joy sedum were popular mentions.
Hostesses Dorothy Decker and Cindy Walton set tables with pretty decorations and provided snacks for club members at the Falcon Civic Center on August 23. Linda Bowden presented the treasurer’s report, which was approved. Secretary Mary Steuben provided copies of the previous month’s minutes that were also approved and filed. District 2 Director Shirley Bergman said to watch for the mail for the most recent copy of the News that would provide updated information on the state level.
A suggestion of throwing a penny inside a vase of flowers to increase how long flowers would stay looking fresh was offered as one of the Tips and Tricks. A friendly debate on the validity of that suggestion occurred, and the group concluded that members should test out the idea with a bit of scientific methodology to discover whether this was a helpful hint or an old wives’ tale. Donna Harms also suggested that gardeners should leave tomato vines and other plants like coneflowers, sunflowers, and zinnias throughout the winter. The stems of these plants after a fall freeze could provide beneficial insect habitat throughout the winter, while the flower heads and seeds could be tasty treats for hungry winter birds. Another Tips and Tricks recommendation to further research and check out is the avoidance of detergent and dishwasher pods after reading that the plastic pod residue filters into drinking water.
In the Conservation Report, Joellen Yeager shared that the migrating monarch butterflies often travel 3,000 miles. The International Union Conservation for Nature (IUCN) is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. The migratory monarch butterfly has recently been added for the IUCN Red List of Threatened species. Planting late-blooming flowers like milkweed, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, blazing star, and rough liatris will benefit both smaller insects, as well as the rapidly dwindling numbers of monarchs. These insects all use sweet nectars for energy for their long journeys.
During the program presentation, Joellen teamed up with Dawn Person. Joellen started by sharing several tips on how gardeners can landscape and soften the looks along their driveways and create a memorable first impression and bring curbside appeal. Joellen suggests using a variety of colors and textures. Be alert when choosing plant varieties to be certain that street traffic remains visible. Will you be able to see around the plant when it reaches its maximum height? Also, gardeners should anticipate water needs for new plantings near driveways. Too much or too little water from paved driveways may cause either run-off or plant-thirsty conditions. Consider planting specimens that have strong root systems that won’t be washed away. Dawn also noted that good driveway plants should be low maintenance. A few recommendations include: annuals like geraniums, marigolds, and zinnias, as well as perennials like daylilies, hydrangeas, and shade-loving hostas. Be aware when planning to consider the width of plants and proportions by the end-of-season. For further ideas, Joellen recommends checking out the internet and the Pinterest web site for lots of inspiration and suggestions.
Dawn Person continued the presentation by adding several hints when planting near a mailbox. Dawn suggests that gardeners select tough perennials that won’t be adversely affected by dust and salt, dogs, foot-traffic, and gophers. Low maintenance plants that require little watering needs are ideal. Dawn advises to plant a mixed bed of flowers — annuals that provide more colorful and season-long displays and perennials for long-living and seasonal variety. By planting thickly, the flowers can block out many weeds. Native species like sedum, salvia, ornamental grass, and gaillardia are reliable choices, while annuals such as moss rose, sweet alyssum, dianthus, and petunias provide colorful interest. Clematis is a flowering vine that can climb up a mailbox pole, but might require regular pruning so that the weight doesn’t become unwieldy. Some species are more likely to attract bees and wasps, so those choices might not be the best choices for mailbox plantings.
The Independence Garden Club’s next meeting will be a field trip to tour K & K Gardens in Hawkeye, Iowa. Members and interested guests can meet at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday September 27 at the Independence Methodist Church parking lot for car-pooling. Bring a sack lunch, beverage, and a chair. The Independence Garden Club welcomes new members or guests. Contact President Ruth Hamilton: email@example.com for more information. Come join the fun!