The Keynote speaker was Kerry Ann Mendez, author and garden designer. If you love perennials like I do check her out on Facebook and at www. pyours.com. She was excellent, and we came away with a handout listing her top perennial picks by season.
She also had a great suggestion for a gardening tool – a Black and Decker 6″ cordless hedge trimmer. She uses it as an easy way to trim spent blossoms and to cut back plants. In a quick look on-line, the reviews aren’t great so I’ll have to do a little more research. I like the idea but definitely want one that does the job. Maybe you have a suggestion?
She also spent quite a bit of time talking about how important light is to planting perennials so they can grow to their full potential.
- Full sun: 6 hours of direct sun between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. but primarily in the afternoon
- Part sun: 4 hours of direct sun between 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Part shade: 1-2 hours of direct sun or dappled shade with no afternoon sun
- Shade: no afternoon sun
The most challenging part of the day was choosing which three sessions to attend. After much back and forth, I started with “Growing Great Tomatoes and Other Vegetables to Eat all Year” with Henry Homeyer, organic gardener and garden writer. He covered planting, dealing with pests and blight and how to preserve tomatoes so you can enjoy them all year long. He cans, freezes and dehydrates them.
After checking out the silent auction, I enjoyed lunch with a full table of gardeners from my county.
For my second session, I decided to listen to John Forti, Curator of Historic Gardens at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, and founder of Slow Food Seacoast. You can find him at The Heirloom Gardener on Facebook. His message was choosing to have a victory garden in your yard like years past instead of mowing and fertilizing a yard of grass.
Picking the last session was the toughest of all because I wanted to sit in on Kerry Mendez’s talk on “Deer-resistant Plants and Options for Preventing Wildlife Damage in Your Garden.”
But because of imminent need, I listened to Steve Gatcombe, a professional orchardist, talk about “Pruning for Good Fruit and Good Looks.” We have three apple trees that are pruned yearly by deer and we have been totally unsuccessful with them. I came away thinking that we are successful with growing a lot of vegetables, fruits, and perennials but maybe we just need to forget apples.
It was a full day, my head was spinning with ideas. With an hour car ride we had an opportunity to discuss what personal and community projects we had lined up for this growing season and our Master Gardener plant sale in May. It was a great day.
Here are a few of the interesting auction items. I saw some future DIY projects.