What Are We Up To?

We are kicking off our 87th year as a club here in Holliston!  This year will be a little different – most of our meetings will take place over zoom, and many events have been unfortunately cancelled, such as our popular annual holiday floral event that we usually hold in November.  However, you can still see us active in the community, maintaining various garden areas in town such as the Holliston Public Library garden.

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Many of us have been spending lots of time in our own gardens this year.  In a recent project, we have also been surveying our gardens to see what native plants we have, as well as trying to include more natives in our plantings.  This is part of a state-wide effort by garden club members to plant gardens that are more beneficial to our environment.

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We do hope that we will be able to meet and hold our regular events next year.  While we wait, we remain thankful for our gardens that offer us a respite in these unusual and often challenging times.

Here’s to an interesting 87th year!

Tips for Seed Starting

It’s that time of year!  We’re inching closer to spring, and starting to think about our gardens.

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Growing flowers and vegetables from seed is economical and can be very satisfying.  Many annuals can’t take cold weather, so to have a longer season of flowering or fruiting, it is preferable to start them indoors.  Here are some tips for starting seeds indoors:

1. Start them at the right time.  Many plants can’t be planted outside until after the last frost date (around May 10th here in Holliston).  They shouldn’t be too tiny or too overgrown when you plant them, so check the info on the back of the packet for each type of seed to see how soon to start them.

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2. Use a light and fluffy, but moisture retentive ‘soil’ to plant the seeds in.  Regular garden soil is usually too heavy for little seedling roots and doesn’t drain well enough.  If you are using your own mixture, make sure it is sterile.

3. Cover with plastic to retain moisture until the seeds sprout.

4. When the seed start sprouting, uncover and give lots of light. Put them in a sunny window or under some fluorescent shop lights hung two inches above the plants.

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5. Use the right amount of water.  Water the seedlings when they start to get dry, but be sure not to overwater!

6. Put on a fan.  Air circulation helps prevent fungal diseases that kill seedlings.  Keep a fan on low near the seedlings.

7. Harden them off before planting.  A week or two before planting outside, the plants need to start acclimating to the elements.  Put them in a shady, protected place outdoors for a couple hours on the first day, and then gradually increase their exposure to the sun and breeze until they are ready to be planted.

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8.  Enjoy!

Focus on Native Plants

For the next two years, garden clubs across Massachusetts are joining an initiative to encourage the planting of native plants.  Why native plants?  For one, these plants are adapted to our local climate and soil conditions and thus can be easier to grow.  They are also a very important part of the local food web, providing seeds, pollen, nectar, and forage for our wildlife.

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Monarch butterfly on native milkweed

The leaves of native trees and plants play host to many butterflies and moths, and in turn many birds rely on those caterpillars for food, especially for their babies.  However, the vast majority of our native insects only feed on particular species that they have adapted to over time – which means they need native plants.  Our native oak trees are hosts to over 550 different species of caterpillars, for example, while the non-native ginkgo only hosts 5.  Without native plants, much of our wildlife would disappear.

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Native plants are an essential part of our ecosystem for many reasons, and we can help by choosing natives for our garden.  Find out more on Tuesday, April 7, at 7:00pm at the Holliston Senior Center where our speaker Claudia Thompson will be giving a talk on Using Native Plants in Your Garden… Why it Matters.

Saving the American Chestnut Tree

A century ago, a blight killed billions of American Chestnut trees, pushing them to the brink of extinction. Learn about the efforts to restore this tree to our native forests with this talk by Brad Smith from the Mass/RI American Chestnut Foundation on Tuesday, March 10, at 7:00pm at the Holliston Public Library.

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This event is sponsored by the Holliston Public Library and Holliston Garden Club.

Home for the Holidays … via Europe

Join the Garden Club for a fun evening of holiday floral design and delicious treats on Friday November 15th.

Doors open at 7:00. We’ll have our annual raffle and lots of delicious refreshments before the show starts at 7:30.

Venue: St Mary’s Parish Hall, Holliston. Tickets are $15.00 at the door but can be bought in advance for $12.00. All proceeds go to benefit the Garden Club’s civic activities, which include scholarships, town beautification, and other educational and creative programs.

Plant Sale May 11th

Just in time for Mother’s Day! The Holliston Garden Club will be holding its annual plant sale on May 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Find as at the corner of Hollis and Washington Streets on the Congregational Church Green.

This year we are featuring an Ask A Master Gardener table and a Soil Testing table.

Bring your questions for the experts, shop our reasonably priced annuals and perennials, and learn how to test your soil!

A New Season

Another summer is coming to a close, bringing cooler nights, the full corn moon, the delights of our harvest season, and the beginning of our Holliston Garden Club year!

Our members represent a range of passions and interests: gardens full of blooming flowers, vegetable gardening, conservation, landscape design, floral design, and more. Dig in and join the fun!

We will be hosting a Holiday Floral Design Show on November 2nd, featuring Candice Morganstern, one of the most accomplished floral designers on the east coast.

And in March, just in time for another season of gardening, we are featuring a Vegetable Gardening Talk with Brittany Overshiner of Upswing Farm.

Check out our upcoming events calendar or contact us to learn more about what we have cooking!

Garden Tour: June 9th and 10th

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The Holliston Garden Club is proud to celebrate its 85th anniversary by holding a garden tour. The nine gardens included on the tour vary in size and style so ticket holders may enjoy strolling though many different types of beautiful landscapes.

The gardens will open on Saturday, June 9 from 10 – 4 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 from 12 – 4 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on either day at the Holliston Historical Society or by contacting Debbie Coviello @ debcov55@gmail.com, Karen Pinkham @ kpinkham0810@gmail.com, or Annie Hale @ southrockannie@yahoo.com.  The tour will be held rain or shine unless there is severe weather.

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Let’s talk xeriscaping

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*Photo credit: National Arboretum

How about gardening with less water, less fertilizer and less work? In this era of mandatory water bans and high water bills, sounds good, doesn’t it?

The Holliston Garden Club cordially invites you to learn more about xeriscaping.
What is xeriscaping, you ask? It is a landscaping and gardening approach that reduces or eliminates(!) the need for supplemental water from irrigation.

Event details
Tuesday
March 6, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

Holliston Senior Center
150 Goulding Street
Holliston, MA 01746

This talk is open to the public!

About our presenter:
Mark Ahronian is a Massachusetts certified horticulturist with over 40 years experience and president of Ahronian Landscaping & Design of Holliston. He is on the board of Trustees at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank Gardens. Mark also teaches and oversees the internship program on Landscape Design Fundamentals at Holliston High School.