GARDEN CLUB NEWS: Garden Club hosts May Day program about pollinator plants

From left are Linda Gebhardt, Ginny Miller, Roberta Musci, Bob Hofbauer, Gwen Williams, Joan Barton, Kathy Critelli, Kerri Richards, Pat Hofbauer and Woods McCahill. (Provided photo — Joan Barton)

The Garden Club of Lake Placid members began their 91st program year on May Day with their traditional first meeting at the beautiful Mirror Lake Inn.

It is with much gratitude that we thank Lisa Weibrecht, a Garden Club “honorary member,” for her generosity and the attentive staff for making it such a memorable event. The dining room was decorated with Maypoles and colorful potted florals. A brief description of May Day celebrations was shared. While those traditions haven’t been embraced in the U.S., welcome signs of spring were very evident by the daffodils lining Mirror Lake Inn’s driveway. Tulips that survived squirrels, moles, and deer are opening. May is special in the Adirondacks and prompts gardeners to ready their plots for new plants.

The guest speaker on May Day, Lisa Salamon, a board member of AdkAction, encouraged members to think of their flower gardens in a new way. Her presentation focused on native pollinator plants. She is dedicated to planting native species from growers who use no herbicides or pesticides.

Lisa shared several resources useful in learning which plants are truly natives. At pollinator.org, you can find a regional guide specific to the Adirondacks. She described the Butterfly House at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center and a pollinator garden at the Wild Center as good examples illustrating how to plan a pollinator garden. The New York Flora Atlas online by the New York Flora Association has highly detailed info for each county. You will find a list of more than 1,300 species growing in Essex County noted as native or non-native. While few residents may be ready to move to establishing a large pollinator garden, Lisa encouraged the group to look for an area to create a small garden or to integrate natives with other plants across the whole growing season.

Lisa told the group about the opportunity to purchase native plants at AdkAction’s Pollinator Plant Sale. They are offering 15 different native perennials that can be preordered on AdkAction’s website, adkaction.org. A group of Garden Club of Lake Placid members assisted other volunteers in mid-April to pot the 2,400 seedlings that will be sold at Uihlein greenhouse on Bear Cub Lane in Lake Placid on Saturday, June 1.

On Monday, May 6, the club took the opportunity to look for ephemeral wildflowers along a loop of Heaven Hill Trails. Ephemerals are those plants which appear for a brief time as the ground warms but typically go dormant by the time the leaves have appeared on surrounding trees. Often the foliage dies back after the flower seeds. The spotting of red trilliums, trout lily, spring beauty, blue cohosh, and round leaf yellow violets made a successful outing. Clearly plant identification is enhanced by plant identification apps on iPhones. No one needs any longer to carry an Audubon identification book to check out foliage or blossoms. That’s true as long as the area has cell service.

Members have received the 2024 program calendar of activities aligned to the mission of the club as well as to interests and abilities of the current membership. The community service opportunities include Adopt a Highway cleanup days, Triangle Garden monthly maintenance and holiday swag making for the village.

Members will have the opportunity to visit private gardens, enjoy several more guest speakers, participate in workshop activities and a day trip to Fort Ticonderoga gardens and boat cruise. Membership allows participation at events scheduled across the next seven months. Details of each event are posted on the club website, gardencluboflakeplacid.org, along with instructions on becoming a member.

(Pat Hofbauer is a member of the Garden Club of Lake Placid.)

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