GARDEN CLUB NEWS: Garden Club of Lake Placid offers home garden tips

Siberian iris at Triangle Garden (Photo provided)

Members of the Garden Club of Lake Placid have recently enjoyed some fun and interesting activities such as candle making at Pure Placid.

They have also participated in a guided tour at the Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Forest, learning about the process of making maple syrup. Maple technician Keith Otto showed members the entire process from collecting the sap from about 700 trees on the property through 200 miles of a connecting tubing system. The sap goes into a central collection tank, where it is processed separating from it water and air. It is then sent into the stainless steel evaporator for further processing, gets boiled at 7 degrees above boiling point and is then made into syrup. The final syrup must be 66 to 68% sugar. We were all treated to sample the dark color grade syrup. The sugaring operation is funded only by syrup sales and grants. It is located at 157 Bear Cub Lane in Lake Placid.

Gardeners are out with their tools and blackfly repellents. Garden club members, too, started work at the Triangle Garden near the North Elba Show Grounds. Players Waterfront Eatery and Lake Placid Pub and Brewery were sponsors for the first two work sessions. Early season gardening is less glamorous with removing dead plant material and weeds. Top dressings of new compost and mulch provide nutrients and suppress weed growth through the summer. These are important steps for healthy perennial plants.

The Green Thumb Award, a past project of the garden club will return. Its purpose of encouraging residential planting will recognize village residents’ success with flowers in gardens and containers.

Inexperience or lack of garden space doesn’t mean that you can’t mimic Main Street color splashes on your own porch or near your curb. Container plantings are easy to assemble using annuals that provide color until the first frost and only require regular watering with occasional feedings. Below are a few hints to get started.

Lupines on Elm Street (Photo provided)

¯ Use a flower pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter and at least 6 inches deep. Or simply add drainage holes to unique containers such as buckets, stock pots, etc. A commercially sold growing mix offers properties that will support the plants through the summer.

¯ Plant tags at the nursery list the plant needs. It is safe to ignore suggested plant spacing when filling containers, but height is important. Light requirements should match the planned location of your container.

¯ Use of one flower variety in a single color is a showy and safe approach to filling your container. Specific plants such as impatiens and petunias create ball shapes; lantanas and verbenas result in a linear design; and geraniums produce an upright shape. Give some thought to what will look nice in your container.

¯ Mixed annuals create artful combinations using a thriller-spiller-filler formula. A thriller dominates the space because of color or size. You can center it or drop it in the back of the container. Spillers are planted around the rim to quickly cascade over the edge. Fillers hide the base of your thrillers while adding another color with a smaller bloom or contrasting foliage.

¯ Not confident in making a decision? Copy a plant combination you see at the garden shop. One trick is to buy a prepared hanging basket and replant it into new soil in your container. Even faster you can simply remove the hanger and drop the planted basket into your container! One caution with container plantings is that they dry out much faster and require frequent watering and regular feedings of fertilizer.

Bearded iris on Grandview (Photo provided)

Let’s hope for favorable weather for our plantings this season.

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

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