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Re: >gardens

  • To: gardenchat@hort.net
  • Subject: Re: [CHAT] >gardens
  • From: "Chapel Ridge Wal Mart National Hearing Center" 4042N15@nationalhearing.com
  • Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2005 12:56:06 -0600
  • References: <6451156.1110966357678.JavaMail.root@sniper11.usinternet.com> <3822428.1110992197152.JavaMail.root@sniper3>

Melody asked
>...how long did it take
> > for you demo. gardens there to evolve to where they are now?

Since the first gardens were put in (I think) in the early 90s from MG's
plant divisions, much was unnamed or misnamed, and some unique, some mundane
or downright invasive.  When the new Hort Ed, Ricky, took charge in the late
90s he tried to shape things up but found that the previous Hort Ed had
allowed the MG association to control things - including the money.  They
refused to release funds for maintenance or improvements, so he responded by
training vast numbers of new MGs, escalating CES controlled plant sales,
garage sales etc, to build up our funds and manpower.  For several years he
tried to get the association to release the $7000 for use by MGs, but
finally gave up.  It's a shame that money gained by hard working MGs was
lost but we worked harder than ever and the gardens and our bank account
reflect that.

My reason for mentioning this is that there's a sort of huge blip in the
development of the gardens with big changes that began about 1998-99.

As I mentioned, the Cutting garden was added about 2000.  The Cottage garden
was completely dug out and revamped with new plants about 2001, and looks
full and lush today - well, not TODAY, but in summer of 2004 it did.  They
did the same to the Woodland Fen about the same time, but we're still
working on it.  Apparently the group didn't want to part with unnamed
hostas, but the new group this year will finally eliminate anything without
a name.  My point is that gardens evolve.  Especially these because there
was plenty of room to improve on them.

Remember the old saying about perennials?  For some reason I can't but
...the first year they adjust to their new surroundings, the second year,
they get established, and the third year they come into their own.  So I'd
use 3 years as a ballpark figure to make a display garden look like
something if you are starting with young plants.  Also, a lot depends on the
manpower, maintenance schedule, and available amenities.  Water closeby?  Is
fertilizer, mulch, etc, budgeted in?  Do MGs stay on top of weeding and
other tasks?  People have to commit or it's not worth doing.  We had a few
MGs donate Iris and daylilies for propagation, to grow on for plants for our
sales.  They put them in and walked away.  As an intern I did a lot of
weeding, and after I tore out miles of bindweed covering that bed, Ricky
said he wanted everything out of it and seed it over.  I said it was a shame
because it was a good idea.  Yeah.....guess who is now in charge of seven
propagation beds?

So you want to expand your demo garden.  Well, it takes money and
commitment. Soil amendments, fertilizer, water , mulch, insecticides, plant
material, etc...these all add up.  Before Ricky came to our CES, MGs lugged
all their own tools, hoses, etc back and forth; now we have a well-stocked
tool shed, paid for by our money-making efforts. Now we have waterlines.
You say " talking about a
> > program that doesn't even do a plant sale, but I figure maybe I could
> > talk them into expanding the demo. garden easier than a plant sale."
Why won't they do a plant sale?  Heck, I did a one-person plant sale out of
my driveway last year and brought in $1000 in 5 hours from plants I grow
myself.  Imagine what your group could do!  IMO, gathering funds comes
first, then expansion.  Otherwise, you might have to do the expansion on the
cheap, it might not get the care and protection it needs for lack of funds
and/or commitment, and it might then be a poor demonstration of what MGs can

If your group insists they can't come up with enough plant material for a
sale, let me know, I can give you some tips.  Maybe the problem is a
location.  Will your CES or county fairgrounds give you space to grow plants
for sale?  Perhaps the same space that you might later use for that
expansion?  Or maybe each group member could commit to growing one variety
at home for the sale. Location for the sale itself?  If CES or fairgrounds
won't give you a place to conduct the sale, how about a local parking lot?
Put up a tent.  Not only will you be making money, you will be raising
awareness in your area about MGs.

It takes commitment and imagination, but you, Melody, are not short on
either.  Your job, though, for the time, is inspiration.  You have to light
a fire under these people.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Chapel Ridge Wal Mart National Hearing Center"
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Fuchsia>gardens

> Melody,
> First I'll just give a description.  In a later message I'll more fully
> answer your question about development, though this explains some of it.
> Most of the gardens were started before I became an MG.  They started them
> for the most part from plants culled from their own gardens.  There were
> some existing trees surrounding the Extension Service Building which gave
> few of the gardens some backbone.  They raised money by selling plants
> their own gardens and had other fundraisers including garage sales and a
> brick sale (for some $ amount contribution your name is on a brick walk)
> One MG contributed the design and much of the labor to build a stone
> shed.  The shed sits at the north end of an enclosed loose-fence (there's
> name for that type- split rail?)  The south entrance has a small arbor and
> the west entrance has a huge arbor area entrance with sitting area. The
> end has a walk through composting section.    The fenced-in area is
> quartered; half was herb garden and half vegetable.  When the Youth
> volunteers lost their garden to university plans they took over half the
> vegetable garden - so each is a quarter. Then they established the Monet
> garden which later became Pastel Pathway.  Next to that is Birds, Bees,
> Butterflies garden, across from which is the Cottage garden, against the
> north side of the  building.  Behind PPand BBB is the Prairie garden and
> west of all that used to be a Wildflower garden, across from the still
> exisiting Entrance garden.  The front of the building (facing east)has a
> Moonlight garden which faces the trial garden and, south of Trial, the
> Woodland Fen. About 2000 we added a Cutting garden in the space between
> Trial the fenced area. The other side (south) of the building is the
> Ornamental Grass garden.  The Back of the building (west) has the Terrace
> Hydrangea garden and, through another huge trellised arbor is the Patio
> garden.  About 2001, various conifers were moved and some new ones
> to create the Conifer garden, across the glade to the southwest of the
> building.  This year we are adding a rockgarden to the outside of the
> in garden and facing the Prairie.  The roofgarden is going on top of the
> shed next to the terrace garden.  The Propagation group has seven gardens
> spread out around the grounds.  The grounds include a "glade" to the west
> the building - which is shrinking because Ricky needs space for more
> he wants  - which is where we hold our plant sales.   East of the Cutting,
> Trial, and Fen, is a "glen" (don't know if these terms are appropriate)
> which we put in around 2000.  This is a nice wide path with a sitting
> lots of neat shrubs, lilies, daylilies, iris, daffodils.   Where the
> university cut through the kids garden a couple of years ago for a walkway
> from a skybridge to our north we've been developing an outer edge of
> grasses, butterfly bushes, extra-durable perennials like Sedum, and a few
> Austrees and some evergreens.
> Kitty
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Melody " <mhobertm@excite.com>
>  BTW, I've been meaning to ask you...how long did it take
> > for you demo. gardens there to evolve to where they are now? We have one
> > tiny little demo. garden at our county fairgrounds, maybe a plot that is
> > 15' x 25' tops (and that is estimating generously) and I would so love
> > to be part of getting that expanded. Of course, you are talking about a
> > program that doesn't even do a plant sale, but I figure maybe I could
> > talk them into expanding the demo. garden easier than a plant sale.
> >
> >
> >
> > Melody
> > Hills, IA
> >
> > "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."
> > --Albert Einstein
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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