Garden Club Lobsterfest – Thursday, November 8, 2012

October Meeting: A large turnout heard a presentation by Ms. Kris Ethington, member of the San Clemente Garden Club and Youth Activity Coordinator of the California Garden Clubs organization.

Ms. Ethington is a local expert on butterflies, and explained what gardeners can do to attract butterflies to their yards by providing attractive environments and habitats. She displayed some plants that are especially appealing to butterflies.

Annual Lobsterfest: The Garden Club will hold its annual grilled lobster orgy on November 8, under the capable supervision of Master Chefs Jack Sweeney and Bob Borland. This fun-filled event is sold out! (Bibs are recommended!)

November Meeting: On November 19, the Club members will gather for our annual “Forget Me Not” project when many gift bags will be filled to overflowing with toiletries, sundry items and other goodies. Bags will be distributed to local housebound seniors.

Members can sign up for the annual December Holiday Party scheduled for December 17, 2012 in our ClubHouse. This is a pot-luck with the club providing refreshments.

Propogating Plants: You can make more plants from your existing house and garden plants, by taking stem cuttings and rooting them.

Herbaceous cuttings are made from non-woody, herbaceous plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums, and dahlia. A 3- to 5-inch piece of stem is cut from the parent plant. The leaves on the lower one-third to one-half of the stem are removed. A high percentage of the cuttings root, and they do so quickly Softwood cuttings are prepared from soft, succulent, new growth of woody plants, just as it begins to harden (mature). Shoots are suitable for making softwood cuttings when they can be snapped easily when bent and when they still have a gradation of leaf size (oldest leaves are mature while newest leaves are still small). For most woody plants, this stage occurs in May, June, or July.

The soft shoots are quite tender, and extra care must be taken to keep them from drying out. The extra effort pays off, because they root quickly.

Rooting Stem Cuttings — Cuttings should generally consist of the current or past season’s growth. Avoid material with flower buds if possible. Remove any flowers and flower buds when preparing cuttings so the cutting’s energy can be used in producing new roots rather than flowers. Take cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants, preferably from the upper part of the plant.

Rooting Medium — it should be sterile, low in fertility, and well-drained to provide sufficient aeration. It should also retain enough moisture so that watering does not have to be done too frequently. Materials commonly used are coarse sand, a mixture of one part peat and one part perlite (by volume), or one part peat and one part sand (by volume). Vermiculite by itself is not recommended, because it compacts and tends to hold too much moisture. Media should be watered while being used. Insert the cuttings one-third to one-half their length into the medium. Maintain the vertical orientation of the stem (do not insert the cuttings upside down). Make sure the buds are pointed up. Space cuttings just far enough apart to allow all leaves to receive sunlight. Water again after inserting the cuttings if the containers or frames are three or more inches in depth. Cover the cuttings with plastic and place in indirect light. Avoid direct sun. Keep the medium moist until the cuttings have rooted. Rooting will be improved if the cuttings are misted on a regular basis. Newly rooted cuttings should not be transplanted directly into the landscape. Instead, transplant them into containers or into a bed. Growing them to a larger size before transplanting to a permanent location will increase the chances for survival.

Gardener’s quotation of the month:

“Why is it that you can find four gloves for the left hand, and none for the right.” — Anon

— Morry Meadow