Donna Pittman opened Flowers on Broad in Varina over 21 years ago. Her artistic talents have been recognized by numerous organizations in her field. Donna’s love of flowers and creativity were obvious in her demonstration. She entertained the members and shared tips for cutting flowers and arranging them for a vase or oasis arrangement and then gave them away to very happy winners!
Our speaker for this month was Rich Woynicz from the Wake County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. His talk, How to Love Your NC Soil, was very informative. He discussed the importance of soil tests and amendments to optimize plant growth.
Our speaker, Susan Quinby-Honer, shared her enthusiasm for worm composting by explaining the garden benefits to the club members. Worm castings make soil more absorbent, making moisture more consistently available to plants and preventing soil from completely drying out. Red Hen Enterprises has been involved with many community gardens being installed and local businesses composting projects. Susan grows and sells different species of earthworms for composting systems and mealworms for feeding bluebirds, chickens, and reptiles. Her favorite part of the business is classroom/event presentations.
Dale Batchelor owns Gardener by Nature LLC, a residential design and consultation company in Raleigh emphasizing sustainable landscapes and native plants. With her husband, John Thomas, she co-created Swiftbrook Gardens, a habitat certified by the N.C. Native Plant Society and the National Wildlife Federation. She presented on "The Winter Garden" and provided us with a great deal of inspiration. Read Dale's Triangle Gardner article "Use Self-Sowing Flowers to Expand Your Garden Display" in the September/October issue.
Each May we hold a plant exchange at a member's home. This year we gathered at Pam's home to swap plants, socialize and walk in her beautiful garden. Over the summer the club doesn't meet unless we visit homeowner's gardens and plan our fall fundraiser. Our September meeting was a productive planning meeting for our Garden Tour and members shared their favorite garden tools.
The April 20th meeting was very educational when Dennis Werner shared 'A 20-year journey of creating new Redbud and Butterfly Bush Varieties'. Mr. Werner holds a B.S. and Master's in Horticulture with an emphasis on plant breeding and genetics. His long history with NCSU encompasses teaching and research & development in peach, Redbud and Butterfly Bush cultivars. David's work has led to recent introductions, some which awarded him an award from The American Horticulture Society.
Chris Newsom of The Fuquay-Varina Parks & Grounds Superintendent has a NC State certification as a landscape technician, horticulture, turf management and playground inspection. We were surprised to hear of the many tasks he oversees and pleased to hear of his aspirations to bring a sustainable landscape environment to our community.
Brie Arthur, expert and author of The Foodscape Revolution encouraged us to join the revolution by growing bounty and beauty in everyday landscapes. Brie Arthur has fine-tuned her signature design technique of Foodscaping, a sustainable landscape practice. Brie studied Landscape Design and Horticulture at Purdue University. She has more than a decade of experience in plant production at leading nurseries, including Plant Delights and Camellia Forest. Interested members are following up with a Foodscape workshop at Brie's home. Brie's garden will also be on our fall Garden Tour.
Eric Eibelheuser of Gaia-en presented an introduction on The Art of Bonsai. Eric cover how to observe trees in nature, capture their essence and inspire your design, explained the basic bonsai styles, sizes and types of composition and showed the species of trees that work best for bonsai. He also brought samples to help explain how to select plant materials and styling techniques to get started.
Keith Lubowski works at the Juniper Level Botanical Garden at Plant Delights. His presentation enchanted members with his personal account of his propagation road trip to Western U.S.