Fayette Garden Club holds July meeting


The Fayette Garden Club held its July meeting at the Deerhaven Estates home of Barbara Sams.

As members arrived for the meeting they were greeted by hostess Barbara Sams and assisting hostess Joanne Montgomery.

President Susan Meriweather called the meeting to order and thanked the hostesses for their hospitality. Roll call was answered by members giving the name of a plant that attracts bees. Some named were monarda or bee balm, honeysuckle and clover.

Secretary Jodi Kirkpatrick and treasurer Debbie Carr gave their reports and they were approved as read.

The fall regional meeting to be held Oct. 8 in Fayette County was discussed. Julia Hidy gave an update on the Washington Cemetery project; also the Fayette County Fair flower show was discussed.

The horticulture tip for the month – stop pinching back mums now. If you have been pinching back shoots since spring, you should get nice bushy plants this fall.

President Meriweather gave tips for great composting.

1. Grass clippings add necessary nitrogen to compost pile, but be sure to add “brown” materials that add carbon. Both are necessary for quick decomposition and rich compost.

2. Do not compost fats, pet droppings, or animal products. They will attract pests to the pile and can spread disease.

3. Newspaper or plain white paper from the computer is excellent but be sure to shred first.

4. Got compost? When finished it should look, feel and smell like rich dark soil.

5. Worms love coffee grounds.

6. The microbes responsible for breaking down your compost pile need a balanced diet of nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen comes from green materials such as food scraps, manure, and grass clippings. Carbon comes from brown materials such as dead leaves, hay, wood chips and shredded newspaper.

7. Finished compost is usually less than half the volume of the materials you started with, but it’s much denser.

The flower of the month was Monarda. Monarda is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family. Common names include bee balm, horsemint, Oswego tea, and bergamot. The genus was named for the Spanish botanist Nicolas Monardes, who wrote a book in 1574 describing plants of the New World.

Monarda species include annual and perennial plants. The flowers are tubular and bilaterally symmetric, with a narrow upper lip and a wider lower lip. The wild flowers are single, but some cultivated forms have double flowers. Flower color varies with wild species bearing red, pink and light purple flowers.

Several species have a long history of use as medicinal plants by many Native Americans such as the Blackfoot, Menominee, Ojibwa and Winnebago. The Blackfoot recognized the strong antiseptic action of the plants, and used them in poultices for skin infections and minor wounds. North American Indians and later settlers also used it to alleviate stomach and bronchial ailments.

Vice President Pam Rhoads introduced Karen Whiteside, who presented a program on beekeeping.

Bees are dependent on pollen as a protein source and flower nectar as an energy source. Adult females collect pollen to feed their larvae. The pollen they lose in going from flower to flower is important to plants. Bees are the most important pollinating insects to plants.

Female bees have a defensive sting. Some bees produce honey from flower nectar. Honey bees and stingless bees hoard large quantities of honey, a characteristic that is exploited by beekeepers who harvest the honey for human consumption.

Karen told of some people getting stung by bees to relieve the pain of arthritis. Also, many people are allergic to the bee stings. Karen keeps bee hives and is able to work around the bees. She has a beekeeper suit and head gear that she uses around her bees.

Bees are found throughout the world except at the highest altitudes, in polar regions, and on some small oceanic islands.

Hostess Barbara Sams invited members to tour her beautiful home while she and assisting hostess Joanne Montgomery served dessert.

Members present were: Carole Anderson, Vicki Cardenas, Debbie Carr, Marjorie Clifford, Mary Estle, Julia Hidy, Jodi Kirkpatrick, Connie Meriweather, Susan Meriweather, Joanne Montgomery, Pam Rhoads and guest Karen Whiteside, Barbara Sams, Jean Smith and Norma Wilson.


By Connie Meriweather

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