Second Annual Seed Sharing at February Meeting

Have you ever bought seeds and had 98 left over from the package of 100?

Have you wanted to try to grow something new and unusual, but didn’t want spend $9 in shipping to buy one little packet of seeds?

Have you thought about saving seeds, but weren’t quite sure how to get started?

Do you miss gardening this time of year?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then the Seed Sharing event is for you!

seeds

We will be holding the second annual seed sharing event at the February 27th meeting. If you have seeds to share, please mail them in advance, or arrange to drop them off, to Judith (address in the member list or use the website contact form to ask for her phone, email or address). All donated seeds must be received by February 8th to be included.

For all seed donations, please include the name of the seed, instructions for growing and maybe even a picture of the plant. Any types of seeds are welcome: vegetables, flowers, fruit, herbs, etc. If everyone donates just one type of seed, we will have 70+ different varieties to share. Share your favorite or best performing plant from your garden and spread the happiness!

Seed vouchers will be distributed to all current members upon arrival at the February meeting so be sure to pick yours up at the door.

As an added bonus, we will also be sharing seed catalogs! Be sure to bring in any extras that you want to share with your fellow gardeners.

Beginner’s Guide to Seed Saving

2015 Fall Dividends

Our 2015 Potluck Dinner featured delicious dishes from our members and our fall dividends.

We’re also still looking for ideas for next year. Some excellent ideas were proposed at the meeting. If you have additional ideas, send them via the contact form.

Now, about the dividends:

Alliums

Allium bulbs are definite winter growers. Alliums need a sunny position in well-drained soil where the bulbs can be allowed to dry out in the summer months. In areas with damp summers, you can lift the bulbs in summer and grow them either in a bulb frame or in pots so that they can dry out. Alliums are mostly very hardy and easy to grow.

Allium Schubertii

allium-schubertii

Allium Schubertii have an almost unbelievable appearance! The long, tubular florets of different lengths result in a simply huge ball of elongated florets. Create a focal point in the landscape that will make people stop and stare! Allium Schubertii is sensitive to frost and should be mulched over with straw or newspaper in the winter.

Flower Color Pink
Common Name Allium
Botanical Name Allium Schubertii
Light Requirements Full Sun
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Estimated Mature Height (est.) 16 – 18″
Optimal Planting Spread 3 – 6″
Planting Season Autumn
Planting Depth 6 – 8″
Soil Moisture Average

 


 

Allium Azureum

allium-azureum

Small balls of densely-packed azure florets on tall stems make this hardy variety unique. These tolerant plants will tolerate poor soils with aplomb. They flower just in that awkward time between spring and summer when colour choices are limited.

Flower Color Blue
Common Name Allium
Botanical Name Allium Azureum
Light Requirements Full Sun
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Mature Height (est.) 20 – 24″
Optimal Planting Spread 3 – 6″
Planting Season Autumn
Planting Depth 3 – 4″
Soil Moisture Average

 


 

Allium Ostrowskianum

allium-ostrowskianumThis freely flowering Dwarf allium produces unusual Bloom Times in an intense shade of pink. Try it as a focal point in rockeries or brighten up the late-spring border with this exciting colour. These sun-loving plants tolerate poor soils well.

Flower Color Pink
Common Name Allium
Botanical Name Allium Ostrowskianum
Light Requirements Full Sun
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Mature Height (est.) 6 – 8″
Optimal Planting Spread 3 – 6″
Planting Season Autumn
Planting Depth 3 – 4″
Soil Moisture Average

 


 

Allium Purple Sensation

allium-purple-sensation2True to its name, this is a sensational Allium. The tall flower stems are topped off with giant ball-shaped inflorescences packed with rich purple florets. Use them as a tall-flowering plant towards the back of mixed borders or plant them en masse for maximum effect.

Flower Color Purple
Common Name Allium
Botanical Name Allium Purple Sensation
Light Requirements Full Sun
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Mature Height (est.) 24 – 30″
Optimal Planting Spread 3 – 6″
Planting Season Autumn
Planting Depth 6 – 8″
Soil Moisture Average

 


 

Allium Moly

allium-moly2

Bright, golden yellow inflorescences carried on compact stems add a touch of extra brightness to the late spring to early summer. The fairly loosely structured inflorescences accentuate the form of each of the large florets to perfection.

Flower Color Yellow
Common Name Allium
Botanical Name Allium Moly
Light Requirements Full Sun
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Mature Height (est.) 14 – 16″
Optimal Planting Spread 3 – 6″
Planting Season Autumn
Planting Depth 3 – 4″
Soil Moisture Average

 


 

How to grow Allium Bulbs:

1. In the Fall, choose a spot that is somewhat sunny and has well-draining soil.

2. Planting allium bulbs is fairly simple. Bulbs look much like a small onion, with wiry roots growing out of one side and a spike on the other. Plant with the roots pointing down and the spike pointing up.

3. Give the bulbs at least 2 times their Mature Height (est.) of soil above them. Dig a 3-4 inch deep hole, drop the bulb into it and cover with soil.

4. If planting in beds, leave approx 3 inches between each cluster of bulb. If you are planting in containers, you can space them a little closer together.

5. After planting, water well so that the soil above the bulbs settles.

6. Allium bulbs flower in late Spring. After the flowers die down, the plant enjoys a warm rest period. You don’t have to water too much during this rest period. Leaves will also die back and at this point, you can choose to tidy up the plant and remove the old leaves or just let nature take its own course.

Identifying Your Allium Bulbs

This image shows the bulbs from the fall 2015 dividend to help you identify which bulb is which. There are 2 Schubertii’s, 5 Purple Sensations and 7 each of the Azureum, Moly and Ostrowskianum. The three smaller bulbs are fairly similar but there are slight differences: the Azureums are a little more yellow and the Ostrowskianums are the smallest which means the Molys are the ones that are a little larger and more white.

Image showing the bulbs.
2015 Fall Dividend

Potluck Supper & Planning for 2016

This meeting has already taken place.

As the gardening slows down and the later-than-normal foliage turns, it’s time to celebrate our year with food, our fall distribution, elections and some planning for next year.

Our members-only Potluck Supper will be at the Shirley Center Town Hall on Sunday, October 18th, from 4 to 6pm.

Agenda

Election of Leaders for 2016 – We will be electing our Chair, Co-Chair, Treasurer and members responsible for Communications, Programs, Dividends, and Swaps/Container Contest at the meeting. Janet emailed descriptions of these roles. Whether you’re willing to take a leadership role or volunteer to help as a committee member, think about what are you’re interested in and come prepared to volunteer or make nominations.

Ideas for 2016 – Bring your ideas for 2016! We’ll be seeking your input on topics you’d like to hear more about & your suggestions for speakers, gardens you’d like to visit, field trips that intrigue you and workshops you’d like to participate in.

Pot Luck Supper – Please bring enough food/drink for 6-8 (along with serving utensils if required) according to the first letter(s) of your last name as follows:

A – Da     beverage L – N    main dish
De – Fa   appetizer O – Z    dessert
Fe – K     salad or side dish

Fall Dividends – Fall dividends will be distributed at the end of the meeting. They have been carefully selected by Judith and her team to be hardy, animal resistant and easy to grow. They are also consistent with this year’s theme of herbs and edible flowers. Thanks to some serious bargain hunting, each member will receive 5 varieties of alliums totaling more than 20 bulbs per person! Be sure to set aside some space in your flower beds so that you can plant them before the snow arrives. Photos and descriptions will be available at the pot luck and posted here on the Gardeners Exchange website. If you are unable to make the meeting, please arrange for another member to pick up your bulbs for you.

Seeds for Spring Seed Swap – Fall is the time to save seeds to share with your fellow gardeners next spring. Due to the popularity of our spring seed swap this year, we plan to repeat it in 2016 and “grow” the seed selection with your help. If you have harvested seeds, place them in an envelope with the name of the plant, color, height, sun exposure, perennial/annual, etc. and your name and phone # (in case we need to get more information about the plant). Bring them to the pot luck and give them to Scott. They will reappear at the spring seed swap in individual envelopes, ready to be planted! If your seeds won’t be ready by the 18th or you won’t be attending the pot luck, mail them to Judith (see your member list or email Scott or Judith if you need the address).

Tower Hill Members’ Tour

Despite the cool weather, wind and drizzle, a good group of our members were treated to a guided tour of Tower Hill Botanic Gardens today. Our tour guide was Joann Vieira, Director of Horticulture and Facilities. To say Joann is knowledgable and a good communicator is an understatement. She gave us a lot of great plant information and answered members’ questions, told us about the past, present and future at Tower Hill, and made us feel like honored guests.

Click the photo to see a slideshow of some images taken when the camera wasn’t hiding from the rain: