"Me, Thee the Trail and Tea"

November 9, 2017

Our vice president and program chairman, Kathleen Lunman, presented an entertaining program about the history and customs of tea. We learned that all tea leaves are derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, grown on every continent except Antarctica.  Details were presented on handheld fans, which Kathleen crafted. In addition, she delighted us with a variety of teas  and her home-baked scones! Horticulture chairman, Susan Borge, presented a well-researched tip with regards to growing milkweed, specifically tropical milkweed, and the pros and cons of it’s effect on the monarch butterfly population. We were surprised to learn that our butterflies do not migrate and therefore it is likely that tropical milkweed is safe to grow in our zone. In order to prevent the spread of a protozoa carried by butterflies, Susan recommended we periodically prune back our milkweed throughout the growing season to encourage fresh, uncontaminated foliage for hungry caterpillars. Flower show judge, Mariette Wooden, presented a crash course on the difference between traditional and petite-sized designs. To conclude our meeting, members created a fresh arrangement in the tea cup of their choice. In December we will study Williamsburg designs. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Greyfield Garden

October 12, 2017

Our first meeting of the 2017 -2018 year was cancelled due to the uncertain aftermath of Hurricane Irma. But we regrouped in October to spotlight the Greyfield Garden on Cumberland Island. Ryan Graycheck and Maya Velasco, managers of the garden at Greyfield Inn, presented a program about the organic vegetable gardening and soil management procedures they use, as well as the ornamental flowers they grow and the honey they produce. The program and the club’s first plant sale was supported by many visiting members of our community. This was the first meeting held at our new location, the Woman’s Club of Fernandina Beach. Three new members joined, bringing  our total membership to 44. Our second year as a club is off to a great start!!

We Did It!!

We did it!!

Since we first launched our canoes last September we’ve explored some interesting destinations along the “trail”. During our first year as a club we studied native plants, Fernandina Main Street civic beautification, US Forestry Service, floral design, Florida Friendly Landscaping, roses, plant leaf manipulation and the vital impact bees have on agriculture. The year culminated with the installation of officers and a shared meal during our closing meeting May 11th.

Fourteen members, two guests and our district director attended. We hosted a salad bar extravaganza. Club officers provided the greens and members contributed a variety of salad toppings. A custom designed cake was enjoyed in celebration of the successful completion of our first year as an organization. “The Bartram Garden Club. We did it!!”

Jan Litchfield, FFGC District IV Director, installed our incoming officers, which were also our outgoing officers. I wish to extend my personal thanks to officers Kathleen, Kathye and Reha for supporting me and our objectives as we “blazed the trail together”. We intensely trudged through writing bylaws and standing rules, and wrote our first budget. Vice-president Kathleen dazzled us with her creative art skills, initiating the eye-catching “Along the Bartram Trail” educational exhibit for general meetings. Kathye, recording secretary,  faithfully kept track of attendance and minutes, and served as membership chairman, a daunting job as we enrolled 26 charter members and added 14 new members during the year! Treasurer, Reha London kept track of our funds and learned that plant raffles are extremely popular and can be overwhelming to manage. All good problems to have!

Many thanks to those who served on committees, bought T-shirts and ways and means items, attended Gardenfest and the district meeting and, in general, supported every project this president initiated!

Special recognition goes out to our webmaster, Marc Williams, who created our FFGC award winning website, which was chosen the best website among state applicants and garnered a certificate and a $50.00 award!

We are especially proud of the landscaping we designed and implemented surrounding the newly erected state historic marker at the historic post office on Centre Street in historic Fernandina Beach.

I wish everyone a fun and safe summer!

See you the 2nd Thursday in September at our new meeting location — the Woman’s Club of Fernandina Beach.

The Buzz on Bees

“If we go, we’re taking you with us,” is how Lisa Broward, master beekeeper and naturalist, introduced our May program on the importance of bees to humans. Lisa entertained club members and several guests regarding the amazing social culture of bees and their vital task as pollinators. 

Bees are responsible for pollinating one-sixth of flowering plants in the world, and about 400 different types of agricultural plants. They help keep the food chain flowering and producing food. Consider that honeybees pollinate fruits, vegetables, herbs we use to season our foods, nuts, berries, cotton for clothing, clover and alfalfa, which is the main feed for the cattle industry from which we get yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy and beef. Also, coffee beans depend on pollination for increased yields. We depend upon bees for holiday flowers, beeswax, which is used in the cosmetic industry, not to mention honey!

Worldwide bees are in decline for a number of reasons classified as Colony Collapse Disorder, including stress from being moved across country, loss of habitat, herbicides, pesticides and varroa mites.

 Let’s help preserve bees. Plant a pollinator-friendly garden patch of any size. At minimum, Lisa suggested planting African Blue Basil. Switch from pesticides to organic alternatives, and use vinegar and water as a weed killer. Provide a water source such as a shallow bird bath with rocks in it.

If you see a swarm or have a colony of bees which has taken up residence in an unwanted area contact a local beekeeper for removal. 

After Lisa’s presentation she invited us to taste a variety of her local honeys, such as orange blossom, palm, saw palmetto and gallberry.

Leaf Manipulation

Leaf manipulation is a strange sounding term and a floral design technique new to most of us. During the March 9, 2017 meeting Mary Silas and our own Carolyn Stevens demonstrated how to modify myriad types of leaves to create movement and interest in a floral arrangement. We learned that with simple tools like scissors, staples and U-glue dots almost any type of foliage can be shredded, bent, curled, cut and woven to create unique and unnatural plant forms. 

One doesn’t have to purchase expensive flowers for designs or grow exotic plants. The foliage from common houseplants can be used in leaf manipulation. Many good designers find plant material in unexpected places and change it into an unrecognizable form for use in floral designs. 

Once a leaf has been manipulated it can be dried and used countless times. Mary shared a tip with regard to painting dried leaves which was unknown to me. First paint a brown leaf with silver paint. This helps the top coat of any color adhere better! 

Those in attendance were encouraged to try their hand at manipulating a leaf after the demonstration. It was fun to watch members discover new ways to express their creativity! We learned that design components don’t have to be complicated. Just a twist here and a fold there will do it!

A beginner’s guide can be ordered by visiting www.leafmanipulation.com 
Gail Emmons has written a beautiful guide to working with leaves in a contemporary way

Thorny But Rewarding

We think of February as a time of hearts and roses. The ancient Greeks linked the rose to love, beauty, purity and passion. The Romans embellished Greek rose mythology many times over. But few of us Floridians and modern-day rose enthusiasts have the passion and patience to grow roses in Florida’s sandy soil, heat and humidity. Rosarian and Nassau County Master Gardener, Carol Ann Atwood, spoke to our club members this month about how she tackles these issues. In summary: organic materials, fertilizer, water and fungicide!  

A close look at her “Rose Calendar” reveals there are only three months out of the year when roses are NOT fertilized:  November, December and January. Every month is marked “water as needed” except May, June, July, August, September, October and November, when the mantra becomes “water, water, water!” 

The spraying regimen begins as early as February. Fungicides are applied every 7 - 10 days every month thereafter through December! Want to be a successful organic rose gardener in Florida? Not.

Florida’s long periods of high humidity wreak havoc on roses. Although faithful watering is necessary, be careful to water only early in the morning. Drip irrigation systems are preferred. 

Roses need excellent air circulation to combat periods of high humidity and should be pruned in an “open bowl” form. Rejuvenating pruning is done in mid-February. Think Valentine’s Day. 30 - 50% of the plant should be removed, cutting 1/4” above an outward facing dormant bud at a 45 degree angle. All leaves can be removed or only the diseased ones. 

Removing dead blooms (deadheading) is essential to encourage further blooming. Cut 1/4” above an outward facing 5-leaf (or greater) cluster, not 3-leaf.

Consult the Jacksonville Rose Society for details about the best roses to grow in NE Florida. www.jacksonvillerosesociety.org Hybrid roses grafted onto ‘Fortuniana’ rootstock are favorable.  UF also has helpful information.  http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/lawn_and_garden/pruning_roses.shtml  

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose . . .

Right Plant, Right Place

“Nothing I Plant Ever Thrives and I Don’t Know Why.  I’m Never Going to Garden Again!”

Ever felt that way? I often do and I’ve been gardening for over 40 years! Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the gardening gremlins seem to thwart our expectations.

If you missed our January meeting, you missed a treat and a huge opportunity to learn how to eliminate some notorious gardening mistakes. We’ve all made them. Planting the wrong plant in the wrong place at the wrong time and too close together, ad nauseam.

Rebecca Jordi, Nassau County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture, “the lady with all the answers” and a personality bigger than life itself, gave us a crash course last week in choosing the right plant for the right place. Everyone present received a copy of The Florida Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design. That’s a mouthful and the book’s contents are even fuller! Let’s all thank UF/IFAS Extension Service for using our tax money so efficiently!

With Rebecca’s coaching we learned how to navigate the book and pick the right plant for the right place. Friends, Mother Nature just refuses to be fooled. A plant which needs good drainage is not going to thrive in a wet area and a truly tropical plant (They look so stunning at the nurseries, don’t they?!) will not survive year round in zone 8b, which is where we live.  And a “plant” that wants to be 30’ tall and 15’ wide will drive us mad trying to contain it when it’s planted 3’ from the house. Sure, it can be done – but plan on spending a lot of time pruning or worse yet, paying someone to do it!

Speaking of paying people, we also talked about “Myrtle Murder”. You know – what landscape maintenance companies like to commit under the guise of increasing a crepe myrtle’s bloom production. UF research indicates these trees (and they do want to be trees if we’d let them) bloom just as well if not pruned at all. So, why are we paying people to do the wrong thing?!

Don’t even get me started on pruning azaleas and loropetalum into hedges or mushroom balls, another craze started obviously by a demented Scissorhands! Why are we paying hard-earned money to lop off potential flowers?? Shouldn’t blooming plants be allowed to bloom? And trees allowed to stand tall?

Stay tuned. During next month’s meeting we will explore our uncontrollable urge to successfully grow roses in sandy soil, salty air and humidity comparable to an Amazon forest.

Holiday Designs and Greens

The Bartram Garden Club meeting theme in December, 2016 was “Holiday Designs and Greens Workshop” and was held at the Fernandina Beach Church of Christ. This was a great facility for a workshop/meeting and we give thanks to member Alice Caldwell for arranging access.

Master Gardener and Flower Show Judge, Elli Steiger from The St. Augustine Garden Club shared design tips with us during the workshop. We learned how to give long-leaf pine needles a distinctive "hair cut", which adds a creative touch to floral arrangements. She introduced the art of line design by first forming a structure using cylindrical Sansevaria and then following the line with gorgeous Calla lilies and sea grape leaves, which act to lead the eye into the design. As a nod to the Holiday Season, Elli shared a "fantasy flower" she created by glueing dried and painted magnolia leaves to a pine cone which mimics the poinsettia bract.

Four lucky members walked away with one of her creations. And more importantly, novice and experienced designers alike equally benefited from her love of flowers, experience and creativity. 

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a very Happy New Year.
Beverly Williams
President, The Bartram Garden Club

Click the image to see full size.

The “Florida Cranberry” and Native Trees Along the Trail

This is why I love being a member of a federated garden club! The knowledge we obtain from each other is amazing. I was born and reared in Central Florida and until yesterday’s garden club meeting had never heard of the Florida Cranberry plant, Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). According to the University of Florida, “most Florida Cracker homesteads grew it.” Part of the cranberry red flower is edible and used in jams, sauces and teas. The leaves can be cooked or added raw to salads. It’s an annual, planted in April or May and harvested in October or November. Since it’s only hardy in zones 9 - 10 I am even more amazed I never recognized it as a Central Florida landscape staple. For more information about this lovely shrub see UF/IFAS publication “Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa L. or visit www.gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu 

During the same meeting, Senior Forester and ISA arborist, Dave Holley from Callahan, delighted us with his witty slide presentation detailing some of the vital services his agency provides landowners. It was both educational and entertaining for the 16 members and 4 guests who attended. We were all dumbfounded to learn about the Champion Loblloly Pine which grows unknowingly in our midst on resident Tony Lopez’s property off Buccaneer Trail. Who knew Amelia Island is home to the country’s tallest Loblolly Pine tree? It is estimated to be 250 - 300 years old, stands 110 feet tall and is 15.5 feet around. For more information about the American Forests National Big Tree Program visit www.americanforests.org 

Continue to look for these and other amazing sights “along the trail we blaze.”

Beverly Williams
President, The Bartram Garden Club

The Bartram Garden Club Meeting 11-10-2016

Display by Kathleen Lunman

President's Welcome

President’s Welcome
On the Trail We Blaze

On behalf of The Bartram Garden Club, welcome to our new web site. We strive for excellence in all we do, and welcome your suggestions and comments.

Our club was successfully launched by four ladies with a passion for gardening and community-building who volunteered to serve as club officers. At twenty-six pioneering charter members strong, we are progressively moving forward “on the trail we blaze”, to quote Elton John’s title song.

In 1774 another pioneer blazed a trail in East Florida which began at Amelia Island and extended down the St. Johns River. Our club was named in recognition of William Bartram’s contributions to plant and animal sciences and to the history of our island and State. Northeast Florida’s terrain has changed dramatically since Bartram’s explorations. It is our intent to keep alive “wild Florida”, to preserve its flora and fauna and natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

As an affiliate of Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. we are also dedicated to the ideals of horticulture excellence, the art of floral design and civic beautification.

We invite you to join us on this journey as we map out modern ways to enrich the quality of life in our local community and State, and to live in harmony with “wild Florida.”

See you along the Trail!!
Beverly Williams

Welcome to The Bartram Garden Club Web Site

Greetings and welcome to The Bartram Garden Club web site. We have just launched the site and hope you find it useful, attractive and interesting. The Bartram Garden Club was charted in September, 2016 and is affiliated with the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Our objective for the web site is to offer up-to-date information about our club and activities. We also plan to offer information that will be useful to you as a garden club enthusiast, as well as links to external information of high value. Check back often to review our calendar of events, follow the progress of our civic projects and see the results of programs and flower shows.

If you have questions or suggestions about the site, please send your feedback to the webmaster by clicking here