Club Minutes: Horticultural Society, 1991



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April 2, 1991, Eastlawn, page 1

It had been a clear windy day preceding our first 1991 meeting. The temperatures had been in the 50's and there was a frost and freeze warning on for the night. Despite those chilling auguries we met at the Mannings' for their first hosting of the Society. We shivered on their deck and shared visions for the oncoming gardening season then retreated to the house and a bountiful meal typical of what we had missed during preceding months.

Absent from the gathering were the Rogers, Caroline Hussman, Mary Seiler, and Tom Canby who was in the Middle East surveying the ecological ravages of our recent (murderous) involvement there. Our only guest for the evening was Mary Manning's mother, Bonny Sillers.

We started off the meeting with the October 1990 minutes and moved on to the reading of the By-Laws and realization that elections of Society officialdom was due. Since the standing president was absent, sick and supine we agreed to leave that chore for the next meeting.

Priscilla Allen was the assigned reader and shared passages from a personal anthology entitiled "My Garden in Baghdad". Among the charming vignettes and useful tidbits was an Islamic piece that said that God had put Man in the garden to dress and keep what grows wonders who gets to do the other 90% of the workload involved with weeding, harvesting, peeling and canning. Later with a more occidental flavor we learned that pigeon manure is good while that of geese is pernicious. Also a haha is named such because in Britain one would take recognition of it and say a-ha! One wonders if lower class hahas were ever called blimeys. In the Arctic regions maybe they'd be called whoops! (because you seldom saw them until it was too late). In America they'd be called lawsuits.

Beth Bullard followed with an article by Barbara Cheney entitled "Garden Blights". It dealt with the frustrations of exhibiting one's garden to associates who avoid proper respect and awe in a creative myriad of infuriating and dispiriting ways.

Elizabeth Thornton followed with the minutes from a century ago. We were reminded that the best way to keep chickens from thieves is to lock both up separately.

Forethought involved the perennial situation of too much to do and too wet outside to do anything anyway. All the same it's a good time to plant trees and be sure to water new plantings if the weekly rainfall is under 1 inch. Plant

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April 2, 1991, Eastlawn, page 2

perrenials and prune broadleaf evergreens. Fertilize iris with bonemeal. Plant annuals when maples start to leaf.

Watch out for frost. April 28 is the last frost date for DC area. Start tomatoes and apply fungicide on roses when leaves appear. Plant potatoes in trench with pine straw or hay - said to grow cleaner and sweeter than potatoes grown in dirt.

John Hartge followed with the Meteorological report for the past months. The first frost happend on October 22 and the first killing frost appeared on the 27th. The winter had seemed mild with adequate precipitation but not much snow. The last snow fell on March 29th.


From Pi Acres came vinca, daphne, celandine poppy, lesser celandine, white & pink camilla, forsythia, flowering quince, crocus, magnolia, daffodils, glory-in-the-snow, anemones, virginia bluebells, spring beauty, wild hyacinth, bloodroot, pieris japonica, grape hyacinth, winter aconite, pacysandra, and pulmonaria.

Clifton brought assorted jonquils, spirea, and pulmonaria. From Riverton came assorted narcissus & daffodils, hyacinth, and watercress.

From the Earps came lungwort, jacobs ladder, daffodils, magnolia, hyacinth, grape hyacinth, cherry blossoms, primrose, and andromeda.

From Lea House came assorted jonquils, and forsythia.

Bird Report

Nancy and Ari Preuss were in Costa Rica and enjoyed seeing a number of exotic birds including great wrens, toucans, black blue footed, red beaked turkeys, hummingbirds, and weaverbirds. The Chance's son Peter was in Asia where there are no birds because they are considered food and are eaten when caught. A Winter Wren has been sighted in this area. It is smaller than the Carolina and winters in this zone before migrating to Canada to nest.


The Redundancy Committee has made remarkable strides in putting general information of past meeting into accessible computer files. The main participants are enjoying a well deserved hiatus.

The Nominating Committee will burst forth upon us at the May meeting.

The Business Report involved a further discussion of microfilming all the old minutes. Mo has been our liaison

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April 2, 1991, Eastlawn, page 3

and said he would continue if he had another person helping. Ellen Hartge volunteered. A motion was made to support in principle a 6 - 9 dollar per person levee which would finance the process. The motion passed and Mo and Ellen will attend an upcoming meeting with Mary Rice and a representative of Octo, the microfilming company.


Sally Eller asked about beavers in the area. Some reported in the Hollings River, also in a stream near Goshen & Snouffer School Road.

How does one keep deer off plants. Tom Canby has a pepper spray that works. Also recommended was spraying with an egg yolk or deodorant soap solution or surrounding the afflicted area with human hair or electric deer fence. Can one make their own hot spray? Yes.

Ari Preuss wants to know when the best time to plant grapes. In West Virginia, now.

Harold Earp wanted to know if Wilt Pruff is a good fungicide for roses. No opinion from the group arose.

Sherry Fletcher has a Montmorency cherry whose fruit has worms. Recommended to spray dormancy spray at the appropriate time.

Nancy Chance asked Sally Eller where she grew her watercress. In the stream below their house. Plants came from packet of seeds which were tossed along the streamside.

Buzz Hussman wished to know about Crotallaria - what is it, what does it look like, and where does it grow. Said to be toxic. Other details absent.

Lydia Haviland closed the questioning with the observation the she hadn't seen one blue jay all winter. Other comments were that there seemed to be fewer jays about but the loud colorful clowns were not in total absence.

The hour was late and night was chilly outside. We thanked our hosts for their hospitality. We commended them for the bravery displayed by inviting us over when all but the few stellar gardeners have grand visions but are otherwise ill-suited to host such an august gathering. We agreed to meet next at Iris, home of the Hanels, and would expect Nancy Chance to be the assigned reader.

Humbly submitted,

Peter Austin


Last edit 9 months ago by mbrockway
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May 7, 1991, Iris, page 1

A beautiful sunny and breezy day with temperatures in the 60's preceded our May gathering at the Hanels. Pleasant contrasts laced the house and grounds; formality and ease, order and creativity, soft-spoken personalities and the boom of their productive efforts. Unfortunately both Rudi and Iduna were being visited by the common cold. Fortunately the meeting was visited by Iduna's sister, Gunda, and our former active Society member Mary Moore Miller.

We started off with the reading of minutes from the previous meeting, glaring misstatements were frowned upon and some corrected. We quickly broke with established structure and passed the exhibits as some in attendance had to leave early and did not want to miss the fruits of the Society's labors.

We followed with moment of silence and sad reflection over the passing away of retired members Clive Lawrence and Sylvia Woodward. The likes of these two gentle and lovely individuals we were all fortunate to enjoy. Clive's soft humor and engaging manner are easy to recall. Sylvia's kitchen had a jar of bees that she used to sting herself as a self-treatment for arthritis - I always considered it ironic that anything could sting such a exceedingly pleasant person.

We moved on to the Treasurers Report. Against an undercurrent of doubt and allegations of embezzlement and mismanagement, the gathering accepted the coffer's total of $70.50 and even agreed to pass the hat to collect this year's dues.

The Nominating Committee proposed Nancy Pruess for Secretary, Ted Fletcher for Vice President, and Peter Austin for Treasurer/Secretary. With speed that was a credit to both Democracy and Anarchy, the nominations were decreed unanimous and the gavel was lobbed to Nancy Pruess as she positioned herself in the Big Chair and Caroline Hussman settled into the gallery amid appreciative applause for her past two years' helmsmanship.

The Assigned Reader was Nancy Chance who had an article about tabernay montana or more commonly, amsonia, blue star, or willow amsonia. The plant is native from Virginia to Georgia and west to Texas. It blooms from May to June, is said to grow gracefully and neat all season, and is resistant to pests. It bounces back after being rained on, does not need dividing, and is good for flower aranging and landscaping. Despite the entusiastic tone and hyperbole of the article, Nancy's opinion was that the blue of the flower is not a true blue and the plant itself is a good plant but not a great plant.

Ellen Hartge volunteered an Organic Farms Inc. Newsletter regarding toluene, zylene and other compounds that are innocuously labeled as inert but have possibly grave effects on the environment and animal nervous systems.

Lydia Haviland offered an article about Pink Ladyslippers - characterizing them as insect nightmares. The flowers of these plants have no nectar and trap pollinating insects into difficult escape. The plants will grow to be 25

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May 7, 1991, Iris, page 2

years old - some will get to be 150 years. Once pollinated the plant gives off 60,000 seeds per plant then dies.

The Old Minutes were read and followed by an account from Bill Hartge about his experience watching a sea turtle lay her eggs on a beach in Culebra. He was part of a conversation group that monitors such turtle actibity and one night was called to witness an 800 lb. matron dig a 14 inch deep hole and lay 81 eggs. She then covered the clutvh up and retreat back to the briny deep. The last time we heard a personal report from Bill was when he and Bettes survived Huricane Hugo when there might have been turtles hurtling through the air rather than peacefully laying eggs to the awed attention of their human observers.

Harold Earp followed with the forethought. The meeting was running a little late so he paraphrased to plant, prune, weed, and water everything, all the time.

John Hartge followed with the Meteorologist Report. April was a dry month leaving us with less than 1/2 of what we had during April of last year (1.4 " in 1991, 3.2 " in 1990). The average low was 41.5 degrees and the average high was 65.6. The last frost was on the 22 and the last hard frost was on the 4th. Highest wind gust was 31 mpg on the 10.

The Bird Report mentioned that the purple martins arrived in Laytonville the week earlier.

The Committee on Microfilming announced progress in finding and organizing old minutes. Mo has agreed to continue championing the effort but needs help numbering pages prior to filming. Ellen Hartge volunteered. A fellow group, the Neighbors has artwork for the front of the proposed microfilmed volume.


Susan Canby planted daylillies last year but no blooms are in evidence. Suggested that either too much manure was applied or they were planted too deep.

Ted Fletcher brought in an odd oblong burred object which appeared more plantlike than mineral or vegetable. No one could identify it. Asked to report back and advised to keep it in a room separate from sleeping quarters.

The hour was late and the meeting was going at a fast clip. However, the Questions were interrupted to accommodate the Bee Report. Bees deemed in good shape and back to questions.

John Hartge asked if anyone has had any information on the Mantis brand of power cultivators. No opinions volunteered so John was asked to report back.

Nancy Chance asked about the tubes used in tree cultivation and seen on route 144 opposite the Howard Country Fairgrounds entrance. Supposedly protects young trees from frost, deer, mice, and rabbits.

Last edit 9 months ago by mbrockway
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