Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Garden Party, Saturday 4/30 from 2-4 pm

Please join Debbie and I as we Celebrate Spring with
a Garden Party for the girls!
What better way to celebrate the season than
with spring flowers and spring jewelry
an afternoon for you and your girlfriends!

Date:   Saturday, April 30th

Time:  2-4 pm, Open House

Place:  Woodbridge Greenhouses, 1046 Hartford Pike
(Rt. 101), N. Scituate, RI

Phone: 401-647-0630

Debbie's greenhouses and her beautiful selection of flowers
and greenery are a must see!
They are only to be complimented by
a gorgeous selection of the newest Jewelry!
Pick up the perfect Mother's Day, First Holy Communion, Confirmation or Graduation gift, and
the perfect special accessory for your spring wardrobe, too.

Give your home a spring boost with flowers, bushes and trees from Woodbridge.

Set aside a little time for you!
 We hope to see you!

Spring regards,

Debbie Pierson Luchka


Mareen O'Brien

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rain Garden

Thinking of adding a new garden bed? Consider a few slight changes to your design to make it a Rain Garden. They are pretty simple to design and install, and will benefit your property and the environment, plus they are pretty low maintenance. 
Gardeners prepare our garden beds to protect our plants by mulching them to retain moisture and keep down weeds. Our careful tending helps to moderate Mother Nature's whims. Last year, though, there was little to prepare for when she transformed “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” into “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Swamps”.

Nationwide, storm water runoff is a leading cause of water pollution. Though your own rain garden may seem insignificant in the entire ecosystem, just a 10x10 rain garden (100-square-foot) reclaims 4,000 gallons of water every year. Wow!

Rain gardens help moderate Mother Nature's erratic behavior. They lessen the impact of heavy rains by collecting water that can't be absorbed by hard and compacted surfaces like a your roof, driveway, patio, walkway and lawn. Because the soil and plant roots naturally absorb and treat pollutants over time through natural chemical processes in the soil, this type of garden is a natural biofiltration system and a temporary reservoir. Each rain garden significantly reduces the amount of contaminated storm water (sediment, lawn chemicals and fertilizers) that finds its way into our lakes, streams, and ponds and can cause algae blooms that kill fish and wildlife.

Similar to those unsightly catch basins installed in many commercial and industrial developments, plant your rain garden lower than the surrounding landscape. The top of your mulch should be between 6 and 10 inches below the surrounding landscape to create a slightly bowl-shaped area that naturally gathers excess rainwater.

Rain Garden Facts:

  • Unlike water gardens, there is no need for a liner.
  • No concerns about mosquitoes breeding since the water drains after two or three days. It takes mosquito larvae seven to eight days to mature.
  • Work even during winter when the ground is frozen since snow melt can be absorbed by porous garden soil and organic matter.

What's Wrong With my Lawn?
  • Rain Gardens collect roughly 30% more water than lawns.
  • Less Lawn, Less Watering: Depending upon the plants you choose, other than perhaps during dry periods for the first year, garden plants need less water than lawns. Native plants are hardier than most lawns, so they will need watering only during drought.
  • Less lawn, fewer cares: Rather than weekly lawn mowing and watering.
  • Less Lawn, More Butterflies and Birds.
  • When you are selling your home, garden increase the value of your home more than a larger lawn.

Can I do it myself? Yes, there are just a few considerations:
  • The location is key. Strategically locate it to capture runoff from your home, driveway, patio, walkways, etc.
  • Then be sure to dig down deep enough (at least 6 to 12 inches) to aid in drainage.
  • If your soil is heavy clay, you can line the bottom of your garden with a layer of sandy gravel to aid drainage.
  • Fill the garden with a deep layer of soil (ideal soil mix is 50-60% sand, 30-40% loamy topsoil and 5-10% compost).
  • For a neat and attractive look, keep the edges well defined and incorporate shorter plants with a single larger tree for a focal point. A variety of taller plants may look unkempt if they are not pruned.
  • Choose native plants that aren't likely to become stressed if their roots get too wet for a spell. You don't need to completely fill the garden right away. What you have done so far is already going to improve drainage.
    Choosing Plants for your Rain Garden: Woodbridge Greenhouses' staff recommends native, non-invasive species that are deer and pest resistant. Most can handle brief periods of excess water as well as dry periods. For best appearance, select a variety of plants of varying heights, shapes and textures and with blooms throughout the growing season. A variety of plants with large root structures (trees and shrubs) will make your rain garden more effective and less susceptible to disease. The URI Extension has a list of native plants on their Rain Garden page: http://www.uri.edu/ce/healthylandscapes/raingarden.htm
  • Top your garden with mulch to allow water to penetrate and prevent weed growth.
  • Maintenance: Water your rain garden until the plants are established. Then just water during drought for the first year or so.
So How Expensive is a Rain Garden? The cost will vary depending on who does the work, what you choose to plant and use for mulch.. A landscaper may cost around $12 per square foot, again depending on the plants and materials you select.
There's Got to Be More to it than that. Just a few pointers:
  • If you have underground pipes, sewers or electrical lines, call Dig Safe first for a free visit to mark your utilities.
  • Don't locate it over a septic system or pipes, your well or underground utilities.
  • Position it at least 10 feet from your home to prevent the water from reaching your basement.
  • In full or partial sun with open sky (not under the tree canopy).
  • The place where water naturally gathers in your yard has poor drainage, and isn't suitable. Your rain garden should divert water away from this area.
  • Drainage pipes can deliver water to rain gardens directly from your downspout. The possibilities are endless for ways to capture, channel, divert, and make the most of your properties precipitation.
  • You can use the dug-up soil to create a berm, or low wall, around the three “downhill” sides of the garden to hold in water during storms.
A rain garden is the perfect garden project to improve your little piece of the environment and the ecology around you, maybe this is the year to build one. A rain garden can solve many drainage problems, protect wells, septic systems and other flood-prone areas from the sudden rush of storm water that can wash away tender plants and mulch, erode soil, and lead to flooded basements.

Please visit some of the wonderful webpages from which I gathered this information:
A local treasure trove of gardening knowledge: http://www.uri.edu/ce/healthylandscapes/raingarden.htm
The Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, www.riwps.org is an excellent resource for native plant species.

Rain Gardens in Connecticut: A Design Guide for Homeowners, UConn Cooperative Extension System
Haddom, CT research/demonstration rain garden, University of Connecticut NEMO Program
Rain Garden Information Center, Rutgers - State University of New Jersey
Rain Gardens: A How-to Manual for Homeowners. Wisconsin
Instructional Flyer - Center for Watershed Protection
The Haddom, CT research/demonstration rain garden, University of Connecticut

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
 Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb
on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

-  Percy Bysshe Shelley,
The Sensitive Plant  

"Every spring is the only spring

- a perpetual astonishment." 

-  Ellis Peters

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Maine Botanical Gardens
Garden Club Road Trip Open to Everyone
Gentian Garden Club is sponsoring a July trip to Boothbay Harbor in Maine to tour the unique Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with visits to three other gardens.  Those who went on our Longwood Garden trip in 2008 know how enjoyable our trips are for everyone.  

On the ride up we will visit Fuller Gardens in North Hampton, NH. On the return trip we will visit Plainview Farm and Nursery with 25 public gardens and then Bedrock Garden for a guided tour.  

Bedrock Gardens
Saturday we will go to the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden with a guided tour including waterfront trails, sculpture and the Fairy House Village. There will be time to explore the charming village of Boothbay.  

Our bus leaves North Scituate in the morning of July 15, 2011 and returns on Sunday night the 17th. Included in the low price of $375 is travel via deluxe motorcoach, two nights with double occupancy at the Boothbay Harbor Inn, dinner at the Inn the first night, breakfast both mornings, garden entrance fees, and taxes.  

Gentian Garden Club
Gentian Garden Club
This is a wonderful opportunity for garden lovers to enjoy a memorable weekend that is planned for them. You do not have to be affiliated with Gentian Garden Club to go.   Couples, friends and singles of all age groups will be attending. Reservations must be made by early April.  For more details on this trip please contact Mimi at 934-1899 or e-mail mimi.cooke@verizon.net

"When the April wind wakes the call for the soil,
I hold the plough as my only hold upon the earth,  
and, as I follow through the fresh and fragrant furrow,  
I am planted with every foot-step,  
growing, budding, blooming into a spirit of spring."
-  Dallas Lore Sharp, 1870-1929