Headline News

Sandra Kay Robinson

Landscaping Design Consultant, Gardening Consultant, Environmental Study Consultant, Flower Show Judge

Sandra Kay Robinson

Mon 17 Aug 1953 – Mon 22 Mar 2021

Garden Club Member

Lady Slippers Garden Club   

Mountain Laurel District

 

Sandy Robinson was one of our very own, a founding member of the Lady’s Slipper Garden Club in London, KY, in the Mountain Laurel District. She was a former GCKY President, active at the state, regional, and national levels. Sandy was a four-star member, which means she was a Landscape, Gardening, and Environmental Consultant, and an Accredited Flower Show Judge.

Sandy served as President of National Garden Clubs, Inc. from 2015-2017 with a theme of “Leap Into Action”. Sandy may have been small in stature but had a heart as big as the outdoors. She was quick to share a smile from ear to ear and a story. She lived and loved the garden clubs, and never met a garden club member she did not like or miss an opportunity to promote NGC to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. She was the best traveling companion throughout the United States and abroad. Sandy held a special place in her heart for the IAs and never could believe the lavish attention and admiration they showered on her.

She truly did “Leap into Action” before, during and after her administration. Give her a job, ask her to enter a flower, or travel less than 24 hours after returning from an International WAFA show to judge a flower show, hoping she could get someone else to drive so she could catnap, but look totally refreshed and engaging when arriving at her destination. Sandy was game for any experience, as long as it didn’t involve chicken or shellfish. She was a mentor to many people, helping solve problems of all sorts. Truly, she was a “rock” to her friends and family, someone you could always count on.

She was a longtime and dedicated member of NGC and many lives have been enriched by her friendship. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

GCKY SCHOLARSHIPS
att: Jan Worth
2305 Shannon Road
Paris, KY 40361-2451
Memo line: Sandy Robinson

BAPTIST HEALTH FOUNDATION CORBIN
Online: supportbaptisthealth.org/corbin
Designate Oncology Dept.
or
Check: Baptist Health Foundation Corbin
1Trillium Way
Corbin, KY 40701
Memo Line: Oncology Dept.

2020 KNPS Botanical Symposium

On Dec. 11, 2020, Kentucky Native Plant Society held their first virtual membership meeting and botanical symposium. For several years, KNPS has organized a botanical symposium in the fall with a goal of bringing together professionals, citizen scientists, academics, gardeners and students in order to learn about what’s going on in the world of Kentucky Botany. Despite the pandemic year, they thought it was important to continue this event.

More than 120 people gathered online for several hours of informative presentations and interesting discussions. To share the information more widely, all of the presentations are now available online:

The Kentucky Botanical Symposium 2020

Always the Latest: Frostfree Hellebore

The owners of Wallis House always planted the latest, whether cultivar or type of plant. When Mrs. Wallis’ father bought the property from his uncle’s estate, he said that he was doing so to give Nannine a place to garden. And she did. Always the latest and that has been carried forth by The Garden Club of Kentucky.

Helleborus is one of the under-appreciated and planted of all of our perennials. The evergreen quietly fills garden gaps until this time of year when it blooms forth from before Christmas (H. niger) through late spring. The three types are H. niger, Christmas hellebore that ‘blooms’ in December, followed by Lenten Rose (H. orientalis) and H. x hybrid including the relatively new charming container-grown FrostKiss, which will survive extreme cold. It is a mid-late season Lenten Rose. 

Two weeks ago, buds magically appeared half-hidden among the new foliage. Each day more are appearing – pink rimmed white, deep purple, pink, green, and some speckled. The pure colors are actually bracts (modified leaves) that provide the color for the new flowers well into April. The flower is actually the yellow center.

New to these colorful winter bracts is the relatively new Frostfree hybrid. The charmingly small container-grown plant  will spread to 2’x2’ and blooms into April. Unlike other hellebores, it will bloom within the first year of planting, starting as days shorten and temperatures drop to 40-50 degrees.

In addition to year-round interest, Frostfree is minimal maintenance. Here are some tips:

  • Do not cut leaves as they are the source of new flowers.
  • Apply a slow-release fertilizer; a small amount more if flowering ceases.
  •  In the summer, water as needed but not during the heat of the day.
  • Plant in 30 percent shade, well-drained coarse, pH 5.5 soil.
  • It may be planted in spring or fall when it is actively growing but not in the summer.
  • Astilbe, brunneria, fern, hosta and lungwort are wonderful companion plants.

Frostfree hellebore source: White Flower Farm (whiteflowerfarm.com, 800-503-9624); Burpee(burpee.com, 800-888-1447).

 

William Beau Weston Awarded GCKY Enrichment Award For 2020 

This award is given annually to a non-garden club member or organization that exemplifies the goals of The Garden Club of Kentucky.                 

Thanks to the vision and dedication of one man, Danville’s tree canopy will be increased by at least 500 trees in the space of 10 years, most of them lining the city’s main streets. William Beau Weston, Professor of Sociology at Centre College, has been working for years to shade the city’s sidewalks. 

Weston walks daily from his home on St. Mildreds Court near Centre’s campus, down Main Street, to his unofficial “office” at a local coffee shop downtown.  After the ice storm of 2009 took down so many old trees, his walk lost most of its shade. His first project was to organize the householders of St. Mildreds Court to plant 26 trees on their street. This led to a more ambitious plan to shade the sidewalks of Danville, which became the Danville Tree Fund.

In 2014 Weston learned about Kentucky Utility’s “Plant for the Planet” program. The program is modeled after the United Nations Environment Program’s “Billion Tree Campaign.” The purpose of this international effort is to bring individuals, communities, and businesses together to collectively plant over one billion trees worldwide each year. 

KU’s program is designed to encourage nonprofit organizations and local government agencies to plant more trees. A grant application must be submitted each year. For 5 out of the past 6 years, Kentucky Utilities has given the Danville program a grant to match what is raised locally, up to $5,000 a year. Grant winners have not yet been announced for 2019, but there is every hope that funds collected this year will be matched for next year’s tree planting. So far approximately $35,000 raised locally has been matched by KU. This wouldn’t have happened without the dedication of Beau Weston. 

He began by asking the Danville City Commission for its blessing in applying for the grants. The commissioners enthusiastically gave him the go-ahead. This became a joint effort of many individuals and organizations. Weston worked tirelessly in the beginning to connect the people who collectively run the program and to set up a secure system for collecting and disbursing the funds raised. 

By networking with many organizations, he came up with a winning combination: The county extension agent chooses the species of trees; the Danville Beautification Committee, which is made up of local citizens, picks the spots to plant the trees; the city of Danville provides the labor to plant and maintain the trees; and the Wilderness Trace Community Foundation handles the money. This is a perfect example of different constituencies working together for the common good – the city, the state (through the extension service), volunteer civic agencies, community betterment groups, KU’s corporate foundation, and many private citizens

Weston aims to collect at least $5,000 each year and is persistent in soliciting contributions from individuals and organizations before the grant application is due in November. One hundred dollars, matched by an equal amount from KU will buy one tree, but donations of any size are accepted. The goal is 50 trees a year and, depending on tree prices, it has been up to 75 trees planted in one year.  

Every year he sends out emails to anyone who might be remotely interested and arranges for publicity in the newspaper and on social media. Local organizations have contributed since the program began, along with many individuals, families, and businesses. Each year since 2017 Weston has applied for and been awarded a $500 grant from the Garden Club of Danville, which uses profits from its garden tours to support gardening and environmental projects.          

The trees are a mixture of species, especially native ones, that are suitable for high-traffic streets. They are sizable trees three inches in diameter and about 10-feet high. The KU grant requires that the trees be watered and maintained for at least three years, which is done by the city. Each tree gets a water bag for the first year and is watered as necessary for two more years. The city of Danville picks up the trees from the seller, stores them until planting time, plants them, supplies and fills the “gator” water bags, and maintains the trees. Weston says that these larger trees have a much better survival rate than the seedlings planted by some other organizations.

In the past six years over 300 trees have been planted along Danville streets, thanks to Beau Weston’s initiative and organizational skills. He has noted that the purpose of the project is to enhance the beauty and livability of Danville by providing all the things that trees are good for – shade, beauty, oxygen, animal and insect habitat, heat control, and civic pride. The Danville Tree Fund furthers all the objectives of the Garden Club of Kentucky by promoting interest in and knowledge of trees, beautifying our community, and cooperating with other agencies to promote conservation of native plants. 

Nominated by The Garden Club of Danville  


News articles

February – Things to do in the Garden

THINGS TO DO

Groundhog Day – Punxsutawney Phil claims his Spring predictions are 100%, any error is due to his interpreter’s miscommunication. My prediction is based on phrenology and when Easter is. It is early this year(April 4) therefore spring will be earlier than normal.

Birds –Keep bird baths clean and filled as we are averaging less than half our normal rain for this time of year.  Clean birdhouses. Install bluebird boxes on fence posts and martin boxes on tall poles where both birds have plenty of flying room. Face the boxes openings away from the prevailing winds.

Trees – Order trees for planting in March. Survey trees and shrubs for maintenance they leaf out. Remove crossed branches, hanging branch can cause injury. Crape myrtles grow well here providing us late summer non-stop blooms. The Indian-named myrtles developed at the National Arboretum are cold hardy to Zone 6. Good source: The Crape Myrtle Company (crapemyrtle.com)

Vegetables – Sow herbs, bunching and bulb onion, and pepper indoors. Finish cleaning the garden. Repair supports and trellises.

Tools – Clean out your tool shed or wherever you store tools and supplies. Organize a hand tool carrier. Paint handles a construction pink or yellow. It IDs your tools and makes it easier to find in  grass and leaves.

Long handles that are broken or too short can be replaced at most local hardware stores. Rake handles should come to the top of your shoulder. If there is height difference in the family, buy multiple rakes and paint handles difference colors. Save old paint and chemicals in a container marked for disposal at your county’s free-disposal day in the spring.

 

KY Nature Preserves – News for 2020

Kentucky Nature Preserves manages four distinct programs to conserve Kentucky’s natural areas. While these programs all share common goals—rare species habitat, environmental education opportunities, and conserving natural areas through a combination of land acquisition, conservation easements, and public-private partnerships– they have some differences. Find out what’s happening in our commonwealth’s national areas by reading the 2020 Report.

 

Add to the Bird Book!

Though this has been an unusual year, it does not have to be a disappointing year. You and I can help to make it rewarding by participating in a project for our Garden Club of Kentucky president, Donna Smith!
Because we care for the environment, we love and care for our wild birds, our song birds, and a few other birds. In doing so, we collect personal experiences which we now have an opportunity to share.

Please take a few minutes to jot down a paragraph or two, recounting one of your personal avian experiences. Pictures of the bird are welcome! Email to me by March 15, 2021, and I will put your experiences in a small book form, honoring Donna, and we will dispense these at our state Convention in Berea come spring.

Here’s an example:


    A few days ago, I ran an errand in downtown Bowling Green. I pulled into a parking space across the street from a couple of large trees. As I pulled in, I looked up into these trees just in time to see three big, black crows take off in pursuit of another large bird. I was amazed to recognize this bird as a Red Tailed Hawk – in downtown Bowling Green!
  He flew into another nearby tree, followed by the crows and all settled on different branches. The crows said to each other:

“Go get him!”

“No! You go get him!”

“You two go get him, and I will keep this branch warm for you!”

While this decision was being discussed, the Hawk took wing and flew off into a bright blue, a burning blue, the wild blue yonder!


I will need at least twelve experiences from twelve members in order to go to print. So, please, take a few minutes and from your book of memories, write a paragraph or two or three about your special song bird experience for the “Bird Songs” first edition!

Jo Jean Scott, GCKY Bird Chairman
Jojogarden.34@gmail.com

Things to do in November

  • Peonies – Remove this year’s perennials spent foliage. If peony foliage has fallen, rake it up to prevent disease carrying over to next year. If still attached pull it from the base. Do not add to the compose. Plant peonies while soil temperature is above 40 degrees(Sunday it was 60). Peonies planted now will grow feeder hair roots that take up nutrients preparing them for early spring growth.
  • Pumpkins – According to Margaret Roach, garden writer, recycle your un-cut pumpkin into a planter. Remove the top, clean the interior, fill 3/4s with potting soil and plant a perennial or spring seeds. When the pumpkin begins to wilt, plant it in the garden where it will provide nutrients as it breaks down.
  • Roses – Jackson & Perkins has introduced its 2021 roses. Pre-order now and pay when shipped. info@jacksonandperkins.com, 1-800-292-4769.
  • Houseplants – Protect plants from pets and small children by placing containers out of their reach. Keep foliage off of cold windows. Start Christmas cactus plants by placing 6” long leaf segments. When roots appear, plant in potting soil and share with friends.
  • Trees and shrubs – Use evergreen prunings to make wreaths. Submerge the prunings in water overnight to condition them, then place in a container with enough water to cover the stem ends, then in a cool location until ready to use. Magnolia is the longest lasting in or out of water. Pine dries the fastest. Personalize your holiday wreaths. Check out online and local nurseries for live wreath design ideas. Alternately, purchase an undecorated evergreen wreath and add evergreens from your yard. Include magnolia leaves and pods, deciduous leaves, spirea and ginkgo branches, dried perennial stems, privet berry clusters, bittersweet, and whatever of interest from your yard.

In the Garden – Storing Vegetables Overwinter

Warm spring, mild summer and plenty of water this year produced a bumper crop of vegetables. Some continue to produce more. No doubt you have given lots of vegetables and fruits to friends and neighbors, and frozen and canned the rest. What do you do with the remaining vegetables? Our grandparents saved them in the root cellar. Few of us have , but can create similar

Not all vegetables have the same storage requirements. Some prefer cold and dry, others cold and moist.

Storage is similar to that of tender flower bulbs. Store in a cool basement, unheated attic but not in an enclosed garage as the roots will absorb vehicle exhaust. Occasionally check as to moistness or dryness, rot, or root growth. If vegetables freeze, use them as soon as possible.

It is important to store vegetables at a consistent temperature. Insulated coolers packed with hamster bedding, straw, or newsprint are ideal. Vegetables that like cold and damp prefer 32-60 degrees with high humidity. Radishes and rutabagas store for 2-3 months; and beets, carrots and turnips 4-5 or 6 months. Remove excess foliage and keep roots from touching to reduce rot.

Cool and dry vegetables prefer 40-60 degrees. Store in wire baskets for greater air circulation, lower humidity (60-70 percent). Place onions( on high shelves(warmer). Hang garlic in mesh bags in a dark location Both onion and garlic will last 5-8 months.. Place beets, radishes and turnips into soil, in a bright window to provide winter harvest. Sweet potatoes will last 4-6 months, require 55-60 degrees and darkness. Keep winter squashes at 55-60 degrees. Store on an upper shelf individually. Acorn, small pumpkins and spaghetti squash last 1-3 months, buttercup and large pumpkins 3-4, and Hubbard and butternut 6 months.